"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." - Albert Einstein

Earning the M.S. Degree By Distance

The Master of Science (MS) degree in statistics is currently offered by distance to students who have already taken (or who are currently taking) STAT 520. New students will not be able to start this degree by distance, but may pursue the MAS degree. The MS and MAS degrees are the same as those earned by our resident instruction students. (For information on the on campus MS program, click here.)

Credit Requirements: Thirty-four credits of advanced statistical theory, probability, methods, and data analysis, including linear and generalized linear models, time series, stochastic processes, sampling, design, biostatistics, spatial and environmental statistics, Bayesian methods, computing, and other topics.

Prerequisites: The math prerequisites for the MS program include Calculus I, II & III, Linear Algebra and Advanced Calculus (an introductory course in real analysis). The skills learned in these courses are used extensively in our coursework. There are some distance options for taking the math prerequisites. Please contact Dr. Jana Anderson for recommendations. Note: 3-6 credits of undergraduate statistics as, well as some computer programming experience, are also recommended.

Time to Completion of MS Degree: We prefer to see you finish as quickly as you can, but our overriding concern is to ensure that you successfully complete the degree even if it requires a slower pace. Experience has shown that it can be very difficult to take more than one course per semester if you have a job, a family, or a life. Therefore we recommend taking only one course at a time. Click here for further comments about pace. On-campus students--devoting 40-60 hours/week to their studies--typically finish the MS degree in 2-3 years. Thus, you can estimate how much longer it might take your part-time effort. At the pace of one course in autumn, one in spring, and zero in summer, you will complete the degree in five years. Or, if you choose to take one course in autumn, one in spring, and one in summer you will be able to finish in three and half years. [These timelines assume that you will take the one credit courses (STAT 501 and STAT 586) concurrently with another course.]

Note: Since we are in the process of ending our distance offering of this degree program (and starting up the distance offering of our MAS program), students are advised to stay in close contact with Jana Anderson regarding timing of coursework.

Degree Requirements: When planning the coursework for your study please follow these guidelines:

  • Students may elect one of the following MS degree options:
    • Plan A (thesis option)
    • Plan B (project option) - tends to work best for most distance degree students
    • Plan B (exam option)
  • The course requirements for the degree are:
    Group I: You must take STAT 501, STAT 520, STAT 530, STAT 540, STAT 586, STAT 640, STAT 699.
    Group II: You must take at least one course from {STAT 521, STAT 525}, and at least one course from {STAT 605, STAT 650}.
    Group III: You must take three additional courses; the two remaining courses from Group II may be used as a choice, as well as any course from STAT 522, STAT 523, STAT 526, STAT 560, STAT 570, STAT 600, STAT 645, STAT 675A-L.
  • Some of the STAA (MAS) courses may be allowed for Group III credit, please contact Jana Anderson for questions in this regard..
  • Notes regarding course order:
    • STAT 520, STAT 530, STAT 540, STAT 640 should be taken first.
    • STAT 520 must be taken before STAT 530; and STAT 540 must be taken before STAT 640. STAT 520 and STAT 530 are recommended before taking STAT 640.
    • Except for STAT 501 and STAT 586, which are one-credit courses, we strongly recommend that no other courses be taken simultaneously with STAT 520, STAT 530, or STAT 640.
    • STAT 699 is typically the last course taken; the three credits for this course may be divided between two or three semesters.
  • When choosing coursework, you should consult the current course offerings.
  • Before registering for any course, you should check the Distance STAT Course Descriptions to make sure that you have taken all prerequisites. This listing also contains textbook and software requirements.

Note regarding admission: We strongly recommend that students apply for admission to the MS program soon after taking STAT 520. STAT 530 will be offered by distance for the last time in Spring 2012. Students must take STAT 530 by that time to be able to continue pursuing the MS degree by distance. Please contact Dr. Jana Anderson if you have questions in this regard.

Information on the admissions process can be found here.  

Contact Dr. Jana Anderson or the Statistics Department's Distance Degree Program office for help or questions.


Would you like more information about the program?
Charlene Spencer, Coordinator
Distance Program Office
Phone: (970) 491-5268

Fax: (970) 491-1084