Dec 08, 2022  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Statistics, M.A.

College of Arts and Sciences  
Department: Mathematics and Statistics 


The Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers an MA degree in Statistics. The major provides the experience and knowledge to understand and appreciate prior accomplishments in the discipline and develops the skills necessary for a meaningful contribution to the intellectual advancement and applications of the discipline. It prepares its graduates to pursue long-term careers in their field by providing solid and cutting-edge knowledge.

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • Students should have at least 3.50 GPA average in courses taken during the last two years of their undergraduate or graduate studies.
  • Students must have a BA or BS 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 course work in calculus will be required to complete additional courses in mathematics before being admitted. Prior course work in intermediate analysis, advanced calculus, and in statistics is strongly recommended, but not mandatory.
  • At least a 55th percentile Quantitative score on the GRE; Verbal and Analytic Writing scores on the GRE are also considered. The University of South Florida and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics encourage applications from qualified individuals with disabilities and qualified individuals from all cultural, racial, religious, ethnic, and gender groups, and sexual orientations in accordance with all university regulations.

Curriculum Requirements

Total Minimum Hours 30 hours

  • Core Requirements – 6 Credit hours
  • Additional Required Course - 3 Credit Hours
  • Statistical Knowledge Breadth and Depth Courses - 9 Credit Hours
  • Electives – 6 Credit Hours
  • Thesis Option - 6 Credit Hours (thesis)
  • Non-Thesis Option - 6 Credit Hours (electives/research project)

Core Requirements (6 Credit Hours)

Additional Required Course (3 Credit Hours)

Fundamental Statistical Breadth Knowledge Courses (9 Credit Hours)

The student must earn a 3.00 average in each of the areas.

Electives (6 Credit Hours Minimum)


Students opt for either a non-thesis research project or thesis.

Non-Thesis Research Project (3 Credit Hours Minimum)

Completing at least three (3) credit hours of MAT 6908 Independent Study   for the Research Project work (and three additional credit hours of electives) which is counted towards the 30 credit-hours requirement.

  • Taking the course MAT 6908 Independent Study  (Non-Thesis Option) and presenting a paper exemplifying the creative component of the major. This may be, but is not restricted to, a literature review, a report of independent research, 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.
  • Passing one of the fundamental qualifying exams at Master’s level covering the material from one of the fundamental statistical areas of Applied Statistics or Mathematical Statistics. 

Thesis Option (6 Credit Hours Minimum)

Students may opt to complete a thesis in lieu of 6 hours of electives.

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, alone, constitute the level of scholarly accomplishment required for a thesis.

Student’s Graduate Committee

Students working toward a thesis will have the benefit of a committee of members of the graduate faculty, appointed by the graduate director/departmental chairperson and approved by the Dean of the College. The Committee will approve the course of study for the student and plan for research, supervise the research and any comprehensive qualifying exams, and read and approve the thesis for content and format.

  • Successful Oral Defense of the Thesis
  • Final Submission of Approved Thesis.

Other Requirements

The student must maintain a 3.00 average to remain a candidate for a degree. Failure to do this 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 average. Department may waive some of the course requirements for those students who have taken equivalent course work at another institution. In such instances, students will be required to complete other coursework to meet the minimum hours required for the degree.

Comprehensive Examination

Graduation from the Master’s major also requires passing the comprehensive examination. The two ways to pass this examination are as follows:

  • Thesis option: complete and defend a Master’s thesis
  • Non-thesis option: Pass one of the fundamental qualifying exams at Master’s level covering the material from one of the fundamental statistical areas of Applied Statistics or Mathematical Statistics and deliver an oral presentation of the non-thesis research project.

Department Handbook

The most recent supplementary documents for Statistics graduate students are described in the Statistics handbook available at the following websites: