and Certificate Program Requirements
MS in Applied
STA511 (3) Introduction to Statistical Computing and Data Management
No background in calculus or other advanced math topics is required for the Applied Statistics Certificate. The only prerequisite for the Certificate Program is MAT121 or an equivalent introduction to statistics.
In STA511, first semester MS students learn the basic computer programming skills necessary for statistical analysis of data, primarily relying on the SAS System software. SAS is the standard software used by pharmaceutical and industrial companies. By learning the basics of SAS in the first semester, MS students can utilize SAS for data analysis in all subsequent courses. In subsequent classes, students will then be able to learn statistical computing techniques concurrently with the theory and purpose of more complex statistical techniques.
First year MS students also study mathematical statistics. In STA505 and STA506, students study the underlying theory of the material taught in the degree program. Thus, even after just one semester, students have an understanding of theoretical statistics and computer programming and are ready to delve into advanced statistical topics using real-life examples.
Full-time first year students also have the opportunity to take two or three electives from disciplines outside of statistics. Each student can design a minor concentration with a broad range of options to choose from. For example, a student with an interest in medical research can choose biology or health sciences electives to better understand the scientific problems that require statistical analysis in the medical world. A student who is interested in doctoral-level statistics can supplement the required courses with electives in pure mathematics. Other students might choose minor concentrations in psychology, business, marketing, or education.
STA512, STA507, and STA513 give students the skills required to design experiments and perform state-of-the-art analysis on the kind of data found in real-life settings. In each of these classes, critical thinking skills as related to statistical analyses are emphasized. Moreover, each class strongly emphasizes the ability to effectively communicate complex statistical ideas to non-statisticians. Students are evaluated on their ability to communicate data analysis results and to justify the choice of analysis, through both written reports and oral presentations. Additionally, role-playing scenarios are utilized to train students to communicate effectively in a statistical consulting situation.
STA514 is a culmination of the classroom portion of the program, as students gain experience in critically reading journal articles with regard to their statistical content. Many of the procedures introduced in preceding classes will be reinforced through practical applications. Again, the skills developed in this class will be those highly valued by potential employers.
STA531 is a Special Topics course that changes annually. It is designed to teach students about areas that are of current interest in Applied Statistics, but not covered in depth in other courses. Past and potential topics include data mining, survival analysis, statistical genetics, database marketing, time series, and non-parametric methods. Members of local industry may teach or co-teach STA531 courses.
MS students also have the opportunity to get hands-on experience working with statisticians and scientists by taking STA601 and participating in an internship with a local company. Upon completion of their internships, students write a summary report and present the results of their research to program faculty.
STA609 and STA610 give thesis-track students the opportunity to conduct supervised research in an area of interest. The thesis may address any topic approved by the Program Director, including exploration of a new statistical theory or application of a statistical model to a new problem. The thesis may be interdisciplinary and involve work with professors from multiple departments. A student may extend his or her thesis work over more than one semester if needed. Thesis credits cannot be used as a substitute for other required course credits.
The Certificate Program in Applied Statistics requires 19 hours of coursework but does not include the mathematical theory classes included in the MS program.