Department of Mathematics and Statistics

MS in Statistics

Director: Cheng Peng

Professors: El-Taha, Gupta; Associate Professors: Aboueissa, McCormick, Peng, Valdés;

Adjunct Professor: Thompson

The graduate program in statistics is designed to provide students with a broad knowledge of the concepts and practice of statistics and related fields. Students are prepared to assume positions of responsibility and expertise. Graduates may find employment involving diverse statistics-related activities in business, industry, government, regulatory agencies, insurance companies, biotechnology firms, and marketing research firms. Graduates possess a good foundation to pursue further advanced studies in statistical sciences and allied disciplines.

The graduate program is offered in a flexible 4+1 format where currently enrolled undergraduate students in mathematics and other disciplines at USM may earn both an undergraduate degree and the M.S. degree in statistics in five years. Candidates planning to earn both the undergraduate and the graduate degrees in five years are advised to take MAT 281 Probability and MAT 282 Statistical Inference in the sophomore year, take upper-level undergraduate courses in relevant concentrations in the junior year, and take graduate-level courses in the senior year. The student will receive graduate standing (full matriculation) after satisfactory completion of all requirements for the undergraduate degree. Candidates holding baccalaureate degrees from accredited institutions may join the program directly at the master's level.

Financial Aid

A limited number of teaching assistantships and tuition waivers are available to students receiving regular graduate admission. Requests for an assistantship and/or a tuition waiver should accompany the application.

The graduate program has three tracks. The highlight of the program is the new Professional Science Master's Program in Biostatistics. The other two tracks are Applied Statistics and Operations Research/Applied Mathematics.

Program Tracks

The graduate program is truly interdisciplinary, providing the student with the opportunity to tailor programs specifically to individual interests. Students may customize their program of study. A list of possible concentrations and relevant courses is listed below:

1. Track One: Professional Science Master's Program in Biostatistics

The University of Southern Maine is offering a new Professional Science Master's (PSM) program as part of the Master's of Science in Statistics. The PSM is a new type of two-year graduate program in the sciences and mathematics that equips students for work in public and private business sectors.

This track provides formal training in applied statistical methods that are commonly used in biomedical, bioinformatics, environmental, and health-related fields. The program emphasizes solving real-world problems that influence health by focusing on up-to-date statistical methodologies and their implementation with strong statistical programming capability. The areas of study include biostatistical study designs, modeling, and the reporting of rigorous statistical results for scientific decision making. Statistical areas of study include clinical trials, experimental design, categorical and longitudinal data analysis, and survival analysis. Internship, technical writing, and management skills are required components of the program. Graduates will ideally find positions in professional settings such as health care agencies, governmental agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry, among others.

Required Courses

I. Core Courses: 15 creditsCredits
     AMS 535 Epidemiology3
     AMS 677 Regression Models in Biostatistics3
     or STA 587 Categorical Data Analysis3
     STA 574 Statistical Programming3
     STA 580 Applied Statistical/Biostatical Methods3
     STA 583 Sample Survey Design and Analysis3
  
II. Extra Disciplinary Credits: 5 credits 
     Ethics 
     STA 501 Ethical Issues in Biostatistics Management2
Select one of the following courses: 
     MBA 670 Management Science3
     HPM 636 Health Information Management3
     OPR 561 Deterministic Models in Operations Research3
  
III. Practical Experience: 3 credits 
     STA 575 Graduate Internship and Writing3
  
IV. Electives: Choose 9 credits of the following 
     STA/OPR 562 Stochastic Modeling in Operations Research3
     STA/OPR 563 System Modeling and Simulation3
     STA 582 Introduction to Longitudinal Data Analysis3
     STA 584 Advanced Design and Analysis of Experiments3
     STA 585 Linear Models and Forecasting3
     STA 589 Survival Analysis3
     STA 591 Topics in Biostatistics3
2. Track Two: Applied Statistics
Required Courses: 
     STA 574 Statistical Programming3
     STA 580 Applied Statistical/Biostatical Methods3
Choose from these additional courses: 
     STA/OPR 562 Stochastic Modeling3
     STA/OPR 563 Simulation Modeling and Analysis3
     STA/OPR 575 Graduate Internship and Writingvariable
     STA 581 Statistical Quality Control3
     STA 582 Introduction to Longitudinal Data Analysis3
     STA 583 Sample Survey Design and Analysis3
     STA 584 Advanced Design and Analysis of Experiments3
     STA 585 Linear Models and Forecasting3
     STA 587 Categorical Data Analysis3
     STA 589 Survival Analysis3
     STA 591 Topics in Biostatistics3
3. Track Three: Operations Research/Applied Mathematics:
     OPR 561 Deterministic Models in Operations Research3
     OPR/STA 562 Stochastic Modeling in Operations Research3
     OPR/STA 563 System Modeling and Simulation3
     STA 580 Applied Statistical/Biostatical Methods3
Choose from these additional courses: 
     OPR/STA 564 Queueing Networks3
     OPR/STA 575 Graduate Internship and Writingvariable
     STA 581 Statistical Quality Control3
     STA 582 Introduction to Longitudinal Data Analysis3
     STA 583 Sample Survey Design and Analysis3
     STA 584 Advanced Design and Analysis of Experiments3
     STA 585 Linear Models and Forecasting3
     STA 587 Categorical Data Analysis3
     STA 589 Survival Analysis3
     STA 591 Topics in Biostatistics3
Requirements for Tracks Two and Three

The requirements for the M.S. degree in statistics consist of a minimum of thirty credit hours. At least eighteen credit hours must be graduate courses offered by the graduate program, excluding graduate internship credits, independent study credits, or thesis/project credits. A student meeting the above requirements has the flexibility of taking additional courses subject to the following policies: at most six of the required credits may be earned by taking pre-approved relevant upper level undergraduate courses. Moreover, the student may earn up to three credits by way of internship with local industry. The program will provide guidance in locating internship opportunities.

Requirements for All Tracks

In addition to the specific track requirements all degree students will be subject to the following requirements.

  • For students within the 4+1 format, at most two pre-approved relevant graduate courses may be used for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees. At least eighteen credit hours should be taken by students after full matriculation.
  • All courses applied toward the graduate degree must be completed within six years of enrollment in the graduate program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Otherwise, additional coursework must be taken to fulfill Program Requirements.
  • Our program policies allow a student to earn up to three graduate independent-study credits under the supervision of a faculty member associated with our graduate program. With the approval of the graduate committee, a student may transfer a maximum of six credit hours for graduate work completed at other institutions or in other graduate programs at USM, including those listed in concentrations.
  • A student must register for at least one course every semester to maintain continuous enrollment. Students who do not maintain continuous enrollment will be dropped from the program and will have to reapply for admission to continue. Students who anticipate being unable to take classes may apply in writing for a fixed-term leave of absence.
  • A student whose grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. In this case a student will be allowed 12 semester hours to raise their GPA to, or above, the 3.0 minimum by taking only graduate-level courses. Students unsuccessful in raising their GPA during a probationary period may be dismissed from the program.
Master's Thesis Project Procedure

Students can earn up to six credits by completing a master's thesis/project. If a student chooses to do a master's thesis/project, he/she must select one of the following:

  • Option I: Master's Thesis. The student must write a master's thesis (STA/OPR 590).
  • Option II: Master's Project. The student must complete a master's project (STA/OPR 590).

Once an option has been selected, the student with his/her advisor must submit a proposal to the Graduate Committee for approval. The thesis/project must be approved by the Graduate Committee in advance.

Once the thesis/project topic has been approved by the Graduate Committee, the student must select a Thesis/Project Committee in consultation with his/her advisor. The Thesis/Project Committee will consist of at least three members, including the advisor. At most, one member of the Thesis/Project Committee may be from outside the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The Graduate Committee will approve the Thesis/Project Committee.

Although the thesis/project work will be done under the direct supervision of the advisor, the student is expected to keep all committee members apprised of its progress. Once the thesis/project is completed, the student will produce a document describing his/her work. This document must adhere to the format specified by the Graduate Committee. Each Thesis/Project Committee member must be supplied with a copy of this document for review and approval at least two weeks before the intended date of defense.

The defense of the thesis/project should occur no less than sixty days after the approval of the Thesis/Project Committee and will consist of an oral presentation of its content to the University community. The Master's Thesis/Project requirement will be considered fulfilled when the thesis/project has been defended and the final document has been approved by all members of the Thesis/Project Committee.

The entire procedure for the fulfillment of the Master's Project requirement is the same as in the Master's Thesis, except that the project may be in the form of an expository paper in an area of mathematics/statistics/operations research, or it may be a solution of a practical problem in one of these areas, possibly related to the student's employment.

Applications from students with undergraduate degrees in business, computer science, education, mathematics, statistics, engineering, or one of the behavioral or social sciences are encouraged. It is required that the applicant has completed the following USM courses: MAT 153 Calculus B, MAT 281 Probability, and MAT 282 Statistics or their equivalents. Conditional admission status may be granted to students who do not fully meet these requirements, but have a good working knowledge of statistical methods. Upon successful completion of preparatory coursework, the student will be granted regular admission status.

Currently enrolled students at USM may apply for admission any time after attaining junior standing by applying directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Additional requirements include copies of all transcripts, current vitae, a personal statement, a GPA of 2.75 or better, and two letters of recommendation.

A student already holding a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution may apply directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Additional requirements include copies of all transcripts, current vitae, a personal statement, a GPA of 3.0 or better, GRE scores, and three letters of recommendation. Applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. Please see Graduate Admissions - Application Instructions and Deadlines by Program for more information on the application process. 

Application Deadlines

The program has a rolling admission policy. However, deadlines for candidates seeking financial support are March 15 for the fall semester and October 15 for the spring semester. Students applying to the graduate program by January 15 are eligible to apply for a tuition waiver for the next academic year.