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Mathematics & Statistics

The M.A. in Statistics

Download the Handbook for the M.A. in Statistics (PDF)

Admission Requirements

To be admitted for graduate study in the Statistics program, students should have at least a 3.50 grade point average (GPA) in courses taken during the last two years of their undergraduate or graduate studies.

To enter the M.A. program in Statistics, one must have a B.A. or B.S. in one of the following areas: Statistics, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Engineering, or Business.

Students who expect to specialize in graduate work in statistics are advised to study as much mathematics as possible during their undergraduate years. Some interdisciplinary experience in natural sciences, engineering, economics, or psychology is also highly desirable. Students who do not have at least three semesters of successful coursework in calculus will be required to complete additional courses in mathematics before being admitted. Prior coursework in advanced calculus and in statistics is preferable, but not mandatory.

A total score of 1000 (verbal plus quantitative) on the GRE exam, with a quantitative score of at least 650, are required for admission. Students whose native language is not English must score at least 550 (paper based) or at least 213 (computer based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam. However, that requirement is waived for students who have a B.A. or higher degree from an accredited U.S. institution, provided the student's length of residency at that institution was at least one year.

International students whose native language is not English must submit a satisfactory score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or the SPEAK test to be eligible for teaching assignments. Students who score 50 or above are allowed to teach in the classroom. Those who score 45 to 50 are allowed to teach on the condition that they enroll concurrently in ENS 4502. (See the Graduate Catalog for more details.)

The University of South Florida and the Department of Mathematics & Statistics encourage applications from qualified individuals from all cultural, racial, religious, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and disability groups, in accordance with all university regulations.

Coursework Requirements

A candidate must complete at least 30 credit hours for an M.A degree. At least 20 hours must be in formal, regularly-scheduled coursework, ten of which must be at the 6000-level.

Note: Due to SACS accreditation requirements, effective January 1, 2016, no 4000-level courses, from either our department or others, may be counted toward the 30-hour graduation requirement.

A student who elects the thesis option (see below) must register for a minimum of 6 credit hours in MAT 6971, only 6 hours of which may be applied toward the 30-hour degree requirement.

The student must maintain a 3.00 GPA to remain a candidate for a degree. Failure to do so will result in being placed on probation. A letter from the major professor is required to remove a student from probation, after he/she regains a 3.00 GPA.

The required, elective, and interdisciplinary courses are listed below. The department may waive some of the course requirements for those students who have taken equivalent coursework at another institution.

Required Courses (24 credits)

  • STA 5166 — Statistical Methods I
  • STA 5326 — Mathematical Statistics I
  • STA 5446 — Probability Theory I
  • STA 5526 — Nonparametric Statistics
  • STA 6167 — Statistical Methods II
  • STA 6208 — Linear Statistical Models
  • STA 6326 — Mathematical Statistics II
  • STA 6746 — Multivariate Analysis

*Elective Courses (6 credits)

  • MAS 5107 — Advanced Linear Algebra
  • STA 5228 — Sampling Techniques
  • MAA 5306 — Introduction to Real Analysis
  • MAP 5345 — Applied Partial Differential Equations
  • MAP 5407 — Methods of Applied Mathematics
  • MAT 5932 — Statistical Computing
  • STA 6206 — Stochastic Processes
  • STA 6447 — Probability Theory II
  • STA 6876 — Time Series Analysis
  • MAT 6932 — Applied Stochastic Models
  • MAT 6932 — Categorical Data Analysis
  • MAT 6932 — Survival Analysis
  • MAT 6932 — Spatial Statistics
  • MAT 6932 — Experimental Designs
  • MAT 6932 — Statistical Consulting

*The selection process will be based upon the student's professional interests and in consultation with the student's advisor(s).

Degree Options

(1) Non-thesis Option

The student must:

  • Complete at least 30 hours of graduate courses in statistics or mathematics.
  • Take the sequences Statistical Methods (STA 5166/6167) and Mathematical Statistics (STA 5326/6326), with an average GPA of at least 3.00 for each sequence.
  • Pass one (1) Qualifying Exam, at the Master's level, for either Statistical Methods or Mathematical Statistics.

Under the non-thesis degree option, the student is required to present a paper representing the creative component of the degree program. This may be, but is not restricted to, a literature review, a report of independent research, the design and/or analysis of a sample survey or experiment, a report on consulting with research workers outside the department, or a report on the construction of a computer program requiring statistical numerical analysis.

Written Comprehensive Examination: The written Qualifying Exam is designed to cover material presented during the first year of graduate work. The purpose of the exam is (a) to ensure the students have reviewed their first year's work before starting the second year, and (b) to point out weaknesses which should be overcome during the second year. Students are expected to pass the exam in at most two attempts.

The material for the comprehensive exam will be taken primarily from the following sequences of courses:

  • Semester 1: STA 5166 (Statistical Methods I) and STA 5326 (Mathematical Statistics I)
  • Semester 2: STA 6167 (Statistical Methods II), STA 6326 (Mathematical Statistics II), and STA 6208 (Linear Statistical Models)

(2) Thesis Option

The student must:

  • Complete at least 30 hours of graduate courses in statistics or mathematics.
  • Take the sequences Statistical Methods (STA 5166/6167) and Mathematical Statistics (STA 5326/6326), with an average GPA of at least 3.00 for each sequence.
  • Take at least 6 hours in MAT 6971 (Master's Thesis), only 6 hours of which may be counted in the 30-hour requirement.
  • Present an Oral Defense of the Master's Thesis
  • Complete the Final Submission of the Approved Thesis

Under the thesis degree option, 6 research credits may be applied to the total of 30 required for the student's program of study. These reductions are made to allow the student sufficient time to complete a formal master's thesis. A master's thesis is a scholarly composition that demonstrates the ability of the author to do independent and creative work. It explores in some depth a problem or issue related to the major field of study. Although considerable variations in format and style are acceptable, precise expression, logical construction, and meticulous attention to detail are essential. A thesis in statistics should deal with some aspect of statistical methodology or theory, or the development of statistical models for a class of problems related to a scientific question. While most theses will include a case study or example that involves scientific data, the analysis of a particular data set does not, in and of itself, constitute the level of scholarly accomplishment required for a thesis.

Note: If you are preparing your thesis in LaTeX, the files contained here are correct as of July 2013.

Student's Graduate Committee: Students working toward a thesis degree will have the benefit of a committee of members of the Graduate Statistics Faculty, appointed by the program director/departmental chairperson, and approved by the Dean of Graduate Studies. The Committee will approve the student's course of study and research plan, supervise the research, and read and approve the thesis for content and format.