Frequently Asked Questions

What is Applied Statistics? What kind of work does an applied statistician do?

Applied statisticians apply their knowledge of statistical methods to a variety of subject areas, such as biology, economics, engineering, medicine, public health, psychology, marketing, and education. Many applications cannot occur without use of statistical techniques. Here are a few examples:

  • Designing experiments to gain federal approval of a newly manufactured drug.
  • Survey design and implementation.
  • Public policy and social program analysis.
  • Laboratory-based research in natural sciences.
  • Decision-making and quality control in business and industry.

Applied statisticians possess the skills to design large studies, work with data using statistical software, analyze complicated data sets, and effectively communicate statistical concepts to scientists in other disciplines.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "statistician" is projected to have the 9th-highest growth rate from 2014-2024 among all professions and the 3rd-highest growth rate among those requiring a college degree. US News and World Report ranked "statistician" as the number-one best business job based on a combination of financial and work-life issues.

Visit the U.S. Department of Labor Website for additional information on the types of work that statisticians do.

What are the job prospects for applied statisticians?

Visit the U.S. Department of Labor Website to see information on current and future job prospects for statisticians.

Why should you consider studying Applied Statistics at West Chester University?

West Chester University is located in the midst of many of the world's leading pharmaceutical, industrial, and financial companies. You will be trained in our Program to have the skills necessary for employment at these companies. In fact, pharmaceutical companies in the immediate vicinity of West Chester University alone employ over 40,000 workers.

Advantages of the Program in Applied Statistics at WCU:

  • Small class sizes
  • Certificate or Master of Science options
  • New Master's degrees with concentrations in Biostatistics or Business and Marketing Analytics.
  • Convenient location. West Chester University is located 40 minutes west of downtown Philadelphia and 20 minutes north of Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Reasonable tuition fees
  • Convenient classes. Our Program is designed to be accessible to part-time and full-time students, with evening classes offered every semester. Almost all of our courses meet one evening per week, starting at 5:45 PM.
  • Qualified instructors. All of our professors teaching in our graduate courses are full time tenured or tenure-track faculty, possessing doctoral degrees in statistics or biostatistics. They have experience in many areas of applied statistics research, including consulting in medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, government organizations, and many branches of academia. They have also published theoretical statistical research papers in preeminent journals.
  • Financial assistantships. Assistantships are available for full time and part-time students. Please contact the Program Director to discuss availability.
  • Flexible elective offerings allow you to pursue varied topics of special interest.
  • Thesis and non-thesis options
  • State-of-the-art equipment and facilities, including two Statistics Laboratories.
  • Safe campus
  • Job prospects after graduation
  • Opportunity for internship experience
  • Relevant classes on current topics of particular interest.
  • Our program enables you to prepare for a PhD.

How do I apply to the program?

You may apply online. In addition to completing the online application, you must provide two letters of recommendation and transcripts from all previous academic institutions.

Do I need to have an undergraduate degree in Mathematics or Statistics to apply?

No, we have designed our curriculum to be accessible to a wide variety of undergraduate majors and interests. If you do not have any background in mathematics, you can still enroll in the Certificate Program. If you wish to enroll in the MS program, you can meet the prerequisite requirements with two classes in Calculus, regardless of your undergraduate major.

Are GREs required for admission?

GREs are not required. However, borderline candidates for admission or candidates with degrees from foreign institutions may be required to present GRE scores at the discretion of the Program Director

What are the prerequisites for admission into the MS Program?

In addition to meeting the basic admission requirements of the University, applicants should have knowledge of calculus, i.e., a foundation in differentiation and integration, including multivariate techniques. Deficiencies, as determined by the Program Director , may be removed by successfully completing appropriate course(s) or independently learning materials required for some courses.

Specifically, what topics from calculus do I need to learn before starting the MS program?

Specifically, students need to be familiar with derivatives, partial derivatives, integrals, multiple integrals, log and exponential functions, limits and series. Most of these topics are covered in Calculus I and II. However, partial differentiation and multiple integration are usually covered in Calculus III. Our experience has been that most students who complete Calculus I and Calculus II can pick up the Calculus III topics on their own without the need to take the entire Calculus III class. In addition, a very basic knowledge of matrix operations is suggested, but not required.

Please see the review questions .

If you are still not sure which, if any, prerequisite course(s) you need to be fully prepared to enter the Master’s Program, we will administer the calculus diagnostic test, indicate any deficiencies, and recommend any prerequisite courses needed.

For students without a traditional background in calculus, satisfactory completion of this test may be a provision for acceptance. You may take this test multiple times to assess your readiness. There is no charge for this service. However, you must have applied or been accepted into the Applied Statistics Program.

To schedule a time to take this test, please contact

Dr. Crossett


What skills will I learn in the Masters program?

The MS program will provide you with:
A deep understanding of the mathematical theory behind statistical procedures.
  • The ability to pursue a PhD in statistics, biostatistics, epidemiology, or other research-related disciplines.
  • Training for work as a full-time statistician.
  • The ability to use powerful statistical software to conduct statistical analyses.
  • Knowledge to apply statistical procedures to diverse projects and problems.
  • Background in particular subject area of concentration.

What skills will I learn in the Certificate program?

The Certificate program will provide you with:
  • The ability to use powerful statistical software to conduct statistical analyses.
  • Knowledge to apply statistical procedures to diverse projects and problems.
  • Background in particular subject area of concentration.
  • Training to plan and conduct statistical analysis of research studies.
  • Training to work at a job where statistical skills will be required.

Which program is right for me: the Masters or the Certificate?

The Certificate Program requires only 19 credit hours. The Certificate Program offers a broader overview and introduction to application of statistical concepts to various research settings. This program emphasizes hands-on course work, rather than the mathematical/statistical background required for independent research.

On the other hand, the extra hours of coursework required for the Masters Program will provide a deeper understanding of statistical theory and applications. This will open many more doors as you start a career in statistics. It will also prepare you to pursue further graduate study in a doctoral program.

Whichever Program you select, remember that the required courses for the Certificate Program are a complete subset of those required for the MS. Therefore, if you start in the Certificate Program and later decide to try for a Masters degree, you will get credit for all courses that you have taken for the Certificate Program.

Can I work full-time while pursuing my degree in Applied Statistics?

Yes, our program is designed to be accessible to part-time and full-time students, with evening classes offered every semester.

What courses must I complete (and how many credits) to fulfill the requirements for the thesis and non-thesis option of the MS degree or to fulfill the requirements for the Certificate?

Can I switch from the Certificate to the MS program?

Yes, if at some point you decide to switch programs, it is possible to do so.

How do I contact the graduate office?

Can I take graduate courses without formally applying to the program?

Yes. You may take up to 6 graduate credits (2 courses) without enrolling in the program. If you then decide to enroll in the program you can count these classes towards graduation.

Can I transfer in any graduate courses from another institution?

Yes. You may transfer in up to 6 graduate credits, which will count toward your Masters degree at West Chester University.

Can I start this program in the Spring?

Unfortunately, due to course offerings, this program must be started in the fall.

If I have met all of the admissions requirements except for the TOEFL score, can I still be considered for admission?

Yes, there is an exciting new opportunity for students who wish to join the Applied Statistics Program, but who need to improve their English language skills. The INTERLINK Language Center, located at West Chester University, provides ESL (English as a Second Language) training, cultural orientation, and academic preparation as well as help with university placement and conditional admission.

Where can I go to find out about upcoming department events and orientation materials?

For information regarding upcoming department events, and for orientation materials for new Applied Statistics graduate students, go to the Applied Statistics Events page.

What is the cost of tuition?

Please visit the Bursar tuition page for the most recent tuition information.

Are graduate assistantships available?

We offer a limited number of graduate assistantships to selected students who have a strong academic record and experience and skill in teaching/tutoring students. You will have an opportunity to apply for an assistantship when you submit your application. Only accepted students can be considered for an assistantship. Read more details about the assistantship.

What other financial aid is available?

For questions about financial aid packages other than Graduate Assistantships, please contact the Graduate Studies Office.

Where can I find job and internship postings?

Visit the Applied Statistics Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

For questions regarding the Applied Statistics program specifically contact the Program Director at For general admission questions contact the Graduate Office.