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Best Online Master’s Degrees in Statistics Graduate Statistics Programs, Careers & Salaries by the Numbers

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Statistics can tell us a lot, and professionals who understand them are vital in almost every industry. For students looking to advance their careers in data analysis, pursuing a master’s degree in statistics is a solid option. As employment for statistics graduates grows, the master’s credential can give professionals the edge they need to climb the professional ladder and earn a higher salary.

Best Online Master's in Statistics 2018-2019

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Methodology

Best Online Master’s in Statistics 2018-2019

Deciding which college to go to is no easy task, so ACO evaluated more than 3,500 colleges to give you the information you need to make the search more manageable. Our 2018 college rankings are based on statistical data from trusted sources, eligibility criteria and various ranking factors

Data Sources: Eligibility Criteria:
  • Each college must be accredited
  • Each college must be a not-for-profit institution
  • Each college must be located in a state (US territories and Washington DC were excluded)
  • Each college must have at least one online program 1
  • Each college must have a maximum four-year tuition of $25,000 or a maximum two-year tuition of $5,000
Ranking Factors:
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Program

Several individual data points were objectively evaluated to calculate a score for each ranking factor listed above. For affordability, the most impactful data points were tuition2 and grants; for quality, graduation and acceptance rates; for flexibility, part-time enrollment options; and for program, degrees granted in that specific program area. Each score was then weighted, with affordability being the most highly weighted factor for all ACO rankings.

1 Best Vocational Programs included data for both online and campus programs.

2 Both in-state and out-of-state tuition rates were used in our methodology; however, our rankings tool currently only displays in-state rates.

Notes:
  • A dash in our Rankings Tool indicates IPEDS data was not available.
  • Tuition displayed in in-state and per year unless stated otherwise.
2-Year Schools

Earning advanced credentials in statistics can help set students apart while applying for careers. To help students find the best learning options for them, we have found the best schools that offer statistics degree as well as online learning opportunities. See which schools made the cut for our 2018 list below.

Rank School Name Location Tuition Financial Aid Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate # of Online Programs Credit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Texas A & M University-College Station College Station, Texas $5,784 54% 67% 81% 3 No Yes Yes

Online students accepted to Texas A&M University-College Station can pursue an online Master of Science in Statistics degree with optional certifications in Biostatistics, Data Mining with SAS or Applied Emphasis. This 36-credit-hour degree is available 100% online. Students can begin classes during any semester throughout the academic year. Texas A&M expects applicants to have taken at least introductory calculus courses before applying. Prospective students should submit their GRE scores, a statement of purpose and letters of recommendation.

School website
2 Oklahoma State University-Main Campus Stillwater, Oklahoma $5,033 75% 75% 64% 1 Yes Yes Yes

Oklahoma State University has a 2-year online Master of Science in Applied Statistics for distance learners. This degree requires 36 credit hours of coursework, including Mathematical Statistics, Statistics for Experimenters and Experimental Design. This degree program prepares students to enter the scientific and data-driven workforce, not for further studies at the doctoral-level. While no thesis is required, the department has a mandatory Applied Master's Creative Component course in which students complete a satisfactory final project for their research committee members. Competitive applicants have a strong performance history in calculus, computer science and linear algebra courses. The GRE is required for admission.

School website
3 Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado $9,628 53% 78% 67% 2 Yes Yes Yes

Colorado State University's online school offers a Master of Applied Statistics. Students in this program choose from specializations in Statistical Science or Data Science. Online learners complete 31 credits entirely online at $795 per credit. In most cases, students begin classes during the summer term and complete the degree within 1 year. Applicants must have a 4-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited university, including 3 semesters of calculus, 1 course in linear algebra and at least 1 statistics course. Students can take the Math Entrance Exam or the GRE for admission.

School website
4 University of Houston Houston, Texas $7,956 61% 59% 53% 1 No Yes Yes

The Department of Mathematics at the University of Houston has a hybrid Master of Science in Statistics and Data Analysis degree. Distance learners complete a total of 30 credits over the course of 1 calendar year. Students learn to analyze complex data and gain a foundational understanding of the field through hands-on assignments, research projects and a summer internship. Applicants should have a bachelor's or master's degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Prospective students should submit their GRE scores, 3 letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Applicants with a background in probability and statistics are given admission priority.

School website
5 The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg, Texas $5,439 42% 64% 48% 1 No Yes Yes

Located in the Division of Research, Graduate Studies and New Program Development, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers a Master of Science in Mathematics. The program offers 4 concentrations: Statistics, Mathematics, Mathematics Teaching and Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Distance learners in this program learn advanced mathematical concepts and communication skills. Additionally, students concentrating on statistics can develop modern research skills to be competitive in the modern job market. Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree in mathematics or related field with a 3.0 GPA in all upper-level Math courses. Applications must include GRE scores, 2 letters of recommendation and a letter of intent.

School website
6 North Carolina State University at Raleigh Raleigh, North Carolina $8,088 48% 48% 78% 1 No Yes Yes

North Carolina State University at Raleigh has an online Master of Statistics degree for distance learners. This program prepares its master's students for popular careers in data mining and business analytics located at computer technology and software companies around the globe. Students can complete this degree entirely online by finishing 30 credit hours, or 10 courses, focusing on topics such as Statistical Programming, Experimental Statistics for Biological Sciences and Applied Nonparametric Statistics. Incoming students should have an undergraduate degree and experience in multivariate calculus and linear algebra. The GRE is not required for admission.

School website
7 National University La Jolla, California $11,232 4% - 50% 1 Yes Yes Yes

National University has an online Master of Science in Data Science program consisting of 13 courses or 58.5 quarter units. Through courses like Data Mining Techniques, Advanced Analytic Applications, Database Design for Analytics and Advanced SQL Programming, students develop and hone their research skills while learning the essential analysis and evaluation techniques to be successful in a data science field. Online learners also complete a 3-month capstone project for graduation. Competitive applicants have a 2.5 GPA or higher. Those with lower GPAs may submit their test results for the GMAT, GRE or Miller Analogies Test to strengthen their application.

School website
8 Emporia State University Emporia, Kansas $5,922 66% 87% 42% 1 No Yes Yes

Distance learners at Emporia State University can take advantage of its online Master of Science in Mathematics degree. Students in this program can focus on several areas of mathematics, including statistics, applied mathematics and algebra. By completing courses such as Complex Variables, Numerical Analysis and Regression Analysis, graduates of this program prepare to enter careers in various types of industries, businesses, governmental positions and teaching roles. Master's students must also pass comprehensive exams. Degree seekers can receive free assistance and academic tutoring through the Brighton Math Lab and have access to AfterCollege, a extensive job search engine to which Emporia has a membership. Prospective students can apply with an online application and their official undergraduate transcripts. No GRE is required for admission.

School website
9 University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia, South Carolina $12,398 59% 68% 74% 1 No Yes Yes

Students seeking a flexible schedule can enroll in the University of South Carolina's online option to receive a Master of Applied Statistics. Curriculum, which involves 30 credit hours of topics such as computing and statistical theory, helps working professionals to utilize statistics for the betterment of their organization. In order to graduate you will maintain a 3.0 GPA and pass a comprehensive exam. This grade average is also required for admissions. Additionally, applicants must possess a GRE score totaling 300.

School website
10 Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania $11,592 38% 69% 68% 1 No Yes Yes

In as little as 10 months, students can graduate with a Master of Science in Data Analytics via fully online studies at Slippery Rock University. Following the completion of 33 credit hours, you will receive a certificate in statistical applications and data analytics from SAS Institute Inc., as well as be prepared to pass the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) exam. Applicants must possess a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate degree and hold a grade C or higher in prerequisite courses such as differential and integral calculus, probability/inferential statistics and programming languages.

School website
11 The University of West Florida Pensacola, Florida $7,088 64% 41% 55% 1 No Yes Yes

Students with a bachelor's degree in mathematics are eligible for admissions to the University of West Florida's online program to receive a Master of Science in Mathematical Sciences. Applicants must demonstrate GRE verbal and quantitative scores of 150. Courses, which are delivered through the web platform Blackboard Collaborate, utilize live conferencing to deliver lectures. Graduation requires the satisfaction of 30-31 credit hours, as well as the passing of 2 comprehensive exams. There are tuition waivers available for fully online students. Learners also have access to tutoring and advising services.

School website

Timeline of an Online Master’s in Statistics

Getting in: The Application Process

A bachelor’s degree is the prerequisite for application to a master’s program; many graduate level programs in statistics require that the undergraduate degree be obtained in an area related to statistics, such as engineering, math, computer science, or biological science. After identifying which schools are most promising, it’s time to start getting paperwork in order. The following are common documents required as part of the application process:

  • GRE scores

    Students bound for grad school in statistics often must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and many also opt to take the mathematics subject test. The GRE Math test covers undergraduate-level math knowledge consisting of 50 percent calculus, 25 percent algebra and 25 percent additional topics questions.

  • Undergraduate transcripts

    Prospective master’s in statistics students should request official transcripts from all previously attended institutions; these demonstrate that prerequisite coursework has been completed with an adequate grade. Special attention will be given to courses in math or related subjects. Transcripts may be sent either by mail or electronically.

  • Letters of recommendation

    If you have work experience in statistics or a related field, ask your employer or another professional to submit a letter of recommendation. Undergraduate professors are another source for recommendations. Personalized letters that highlight a student’s achievements and qualities can help an application stand out.

  • Resume

    Some online master’s programs will request a resume or CV with your application. Make sure your resume is clear, consistent and relevant—it should highlight past achievements, credentials and experience that best showcase your fit for a statistics graduate program.

  • Financial Documents

    To help defray the costs of graduate school, students may opt to apply for various forms of financial aid from federal, state and private sources. Gather records that detail your income and assets, and possibly those of your family (depending on your age), to demonstrate your financial situation and need.

Year 1

During the first year of a master’s program in statistics, students will complete the core coursework required for the degree, as well as begin selecting individuals to serve on the thesis or research project committee. Students will obtain approval for their projects during this year, and lay the foundation for the intensive work involved in completing it. First year courses typically include topics such as data mining, predictive analytics, probability theory and linear models.

Year 2

During the second year, students will complete their elective or concentration courses. Concentrations for statistics master’s degrees include areas like bioinformatics, data visualization, and data mining. In the second year students will also delve deeper into work on their thesis project; once it is finished, the student will present it to a committee of professionals or teachers. Examples of thesis topics include research in Bayesian modeling, statistical approaches to real-life phenomena and stochastic processes.

Testing & Graduation Requirements

In addition to completing the necessary coursework, statistics graduate students must fulfill other requirements for graduation. These may vary by program, but typically students should expect the following:

  • Comprehensive exams

    Prior to graduation, online students will take their comprehensive exams to demonstrate they have acquired the necessary knowledge from the master’s program. The exam may be in the form of a written test, an essay or an oral exam. Students should begin studying for these exams early in their academic careers, typically starting in year one.

  • Master’s thesis

    The thesis or capstone project is a multi-semester project which will dominate much of the student’s time and efforts. It should contain original theories and research by the student, and will usually involve large-scale data collection and analysis. It may also involve an internship or practicum with organizations affiliated with the program.

Master’s in Statistics: Career and Salary Potential

Students pursuing a master’s in statistics often find that choosing a concentration, far from limiting their opportunities, opens up even more. By specializing their skills and knowledge, students position themselves as priority candidates, and can often earn higher salaries because of their expertise. Here are some of the most common concentrations in statistics and the careers they can lead to:

Concentrations
Bioinformatics

Students learn to use and develop methods and software for understanding biological data. Subjects of study include computer science, mathematics, statistics, engineering and biological sciences.

Career:
Biostatistician
Biostatistician

Applies mathematics and statistics to different areas of biology in order to make advancements in the industries of health and agriculture. Designs biological experiments and then collects, analyzes and distributes the findings.

Pharmacologist
Pharmacologist

Assists in the development and testing of new drugs prior to public release by applying statistical techniques and methods throughout the stages of research, development, testing, marketing and distribution.

Public Health Specialist
Public Health Specialist

Uses statistical techniques to collect and analyze health data at the community, state and national levels. Reports on findings to help in developing new public health policies, wellness programs, and methods for raising public health awareness.

Computer Scientist
Computer Scientist

Uses statistical methods in many facets of computer science such as data mining, machine learning, software engineering, speech analysis and image analytics.

Ecological Statistician
Ecological Statistician

Often works for government agencies on a state or national level. Creates statistical experiments and uses data analysis to study natural resources, farming practices, animal tracking and more.

Teacher
Teacher

Works in a private or public school setting, typically on a university level but sometimes for high schools, teaching students the principles of statistics and preparing them for further education and careers in the field.

Computational Finance

Students investigate algorithms currently used in finance, learning to interpret data as well as use and develop computer programs that realize financial models or systems.

Career:
Computer Scientist
Computer Scientist

Uses statistical methods in many facets of computer science such as data mining, machine learning, software engineering, speech analysis and image analytics.

Financial Data Analyst
Financial Data Analyst

Analyzes financial data and identifies trends in various financial markets such as those for credit, stocks or housing. Such analyses are used to help professionals make investment decisions, develop software, or price products.

Teacher
Teacher

Works in a private or public school setting, typically on a university level but sometimes for high schools, teaching students the principles of statistics and preparing them for further education and careers in the field.

Data Visualization

Analyzing and translating data to visual contexts is the focus of this track; because data trends in a text format can be difficult to identify, students also learn to read, recognize, and project data.

Career:
Financial Data Analyst
Financial Data Analyst

Analyzes financial data and identifies trends in various financial markets such as those for credit, stocks or housing. Such analyses are used to help professionals make investment decisions, develop software, or price products.

Manufacturing Data Analyst
Manufacturing Data Analyst

Typically works for manufacturing or industrial companies to help design, manufacture and market products. May use statistical algorithms to predict consumer behavior and create quality assurance models.

Teacher
Teacher

Works in a private or public school setting, typically on a university level but sometimes for high schools, teaching students the principles of statistics and preparing them for further education and careers in the field.

Data Mining

Students examine and analyze large databases in order to generate new information and identify patterns and trends.

Career:
Public Health Specialist
Public Health Specialist

Uses statistical techniques to collect and analyze health data at the community, state and national levels. Reports on findings to help in developing new public health policies, wellness programs, and methods for raising public health awareness.

Computer Scientist
Computer Scientist

Uses statistical methods in many facets of computer science such as data mining, machine learning, software engineering, speech analysis and image analytics.

Financial Data Analyst
Financial Data Analyst

Analyzes financial data and identifies trends in various financial markets such as those for credit, stocks or housing. Such analyses are used to help professionals make investment decisions, develop software, or price products.

Ecological Statistician
Ecological Statistician

Often works for government agencies on a state or national level. Creates statistical experiments and uses data analysis to study natural resources, farming practices, animal tracking and more.

National Defense
National Defense

Works for various governmental agencies concerned with establishing and carrying out national policy. Statisticians in this field design experiments, develop computer simulation models, and research budget allocation methods.

Census Worker
Census Worker

Work for the census bureau to collect and analyze data about practices and trends in population demographics, housing, agriculture, business and transportation. Designs survey samples and methodologies, analyzes measurement errors, and assesses survey quality.

Machine Learning

From simple computer programs to robots to self-driving cars, machine learning is a major part of today’s technological world. In this concentration, students explore pattern recognition and computational learning theory in artificial intelligence.

Career:
Computer Scientist
Computer Scientist

Uses statistical methods in many facets of computer science such as data mining, machine learning, software engineering, speech analysis and image analytics.

Manufacturing Data Analyst
Manufacturing Data Analyst

Typically works for manufacturing or industrial companies to help design, manufacture and market products. May use statistical algorithms to predict consumer behavior and create quality assurance models.

National Defense
National Defense

Works for various governmental agencies concerned with establishing and carrying out national policy. Statisticians in this field design experiments, develop computer simulation models, and research budget allocation methods.

Potential Salary Increases with a Master’s Degree

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics considers a master’s degree to be the minimum qualification needed for a job as a statistician, mathematician or survey researcher. Therefore, a master’s degree in statistics automatically opens up new potential career paths to those who earn it. It also translates to a higher salary. Statisticians and biostatisticians make $79,990 a year, mathematicians make $103,720, and survey researchers make $49,760. Compare these figures to jobs requiring only a bachelor’s degree, such as social science research assistants, who make $39,460 a year, or statistical assistants, who make $42,070.

Growth potential 27%
Average Salary $79,990

Additional Resources & Links

  • American Society for Engineering Education

    As a nonprofit, ASEE is a member-run organization that works to promote and improve engineering and technology education.

  • American Society for Information Science & Technology

    ASIST has over 4000 members who are professionals and information specialists in computer science, linguistics, management, engineering, medicine, chemistry and education. The society works to develop theories and find techniques and technologies that will improve access to information.

  • American Statistical Association

    The ASA supports excellence in the development, application and dissemination of statistical science. Its website includes information about meetings, publications, membership services, education, accreditation, and advocacy.

  • Association for Computing Machinery

    ACM is dedicated to advancing science, engineering and information technology.

  • Association for Women in Computing

    With chapters and members worldwide, AWC works to promote the advancement of women in computing. Their members include professionals such as programmers, system analysts, operators and technical writers.

  • International Association of Survey Statisticians

    IASS promotes the study and development of theories and practices for creating sample surveys.

  • The Computing Research Association

    A resource for individuals in computer science, computer engineering, and related fields, the CRA works to strengthen research efforts and advanced education in the computing fields, expand opportunities for women and minorities, and to conduct policy work.

  • The Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics

    COPAFS is a network of educators, researchers, public health professionals, civic groups and businesses who rely on statistics that are collected by the national government.

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