Bachelor's degree programs prepare students for entry-level statistician positions, such as those offered by governmental organizations. Master's degree programs provide students with a foundation in advanced statistics and research.
Students in doctoral programs in statistics take more advanced courses, such as experimental statistics and advanced statistical methodology, and they choose a topic on which they'll do research and a dissertation. Doctoral degrees in statistics may require up to four additional years of school.
All programs require graduation from high school. Some programs may require higher level degrees or training depending on the degree level sought.
Bachelor of Science in Statistics
A Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Statistics program is based in mathematics that provides students with a broad foundation in topics like probability. Students will take core statistics courses as well as general education courses. The curriculum of most B.S. programs in statistics involves seminar-style courses in some of the topics listed below. Students may also be required to complete general education courses in topics like English composition and psychology, along with core courses in:
- Multiple variable calculus
- Linear algebra
- Statistics and probability
- Applied statistics methods
- Statistical computing
Master of Science in Statistics
A Master of Science (M.S.) in Statistics introduces students to advanced mathematical and statistical modeling methods. The curriculum of a statistics M.S. degree program generally involves a combination of seminar courses on advanced statistical topics and independent research. Some of the topics that may be included in the curriculum of a statistics master's degree program are:
- Applied regression
- Variance analysis
- Analysis of time series
- Data management
Doctor of Philosophy in Statistics
A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Statistics is an advanced, research-based graduate degree that is geared towards students who wish to pursue academic or scholarly careers. Most programs take four years to complete. Doctoral statistics programs involve a great deal of research and may include advanced, seminar-style courses in some of the topics listed below. Students spend a large portion of their time researching and writing a dissertation on a statistics-related topic of their choice. This dissertation must be defended orally in front of a panel of professors. Advanced core courses include:
- Advanced statistical methodology
- Aspects of stochastic processes
- Experimental statistics
- Consulting and collaboration in statistics
- Statistical genomics
Popular Career Options
Graduates of an M.S. program in statistics may be qualified to work for a government agency, private research firm or insurance carrier. Below are a few of the careers for which a master's degree statistics may prepare students.
- Agricultural statistician
- Risk assessment statistician
Graduates of Ph.D. programs in statistics generally pursue positions at academic institutions. Some graduates may find employment as a senior research statistician. A few of the possible careers for holders of a Ph.D. in statistics are below.
- College statistics education
- Industrial statistics research
- Statistical genetics
- Statistical programming
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) the employment of statisticians was expected to grow 34% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also stated the median annual wage was $80,110 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Students graduating with a B.S. in statistics may enter the workforce through entry-level positions in government organizations. Most students choose to pursue additional education in the form of a master's degree in a related field.
Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs are available for those interested in pursuing a career in statistics. Many graduates find jobs with government agencies, private research firms, or college campuses.