Department of Mathematics and Statistics

MS in Statistics

Coordinator: AbouEl-Makarim Aboueissa

Professors: Aboueissa, El-Taha, McCormick

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 accelerated degree pathway, 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 graduate degrees in five years are advised to take MAT 281 Introduction to Probability and MAT 282 Statistical Inference in the sophomore year, to take upper-level undergraduate courses in relevant concentrations in the junior year, and to 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 or tuition waiver should accompany the application.

The graduate program has four tracks: Data Science, Applied Statistics, Operations Research/Applied Mathematics, and Biostatistics.

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 shown below.

1. Track One: Data Science

The track in Data Science within the Master's Program in Statistics is designed to meet the growing regional and national demand for professionals with high-level skills in Data Science, which is becoming more pronounced and urgent. The primary goal of this track is to prepare students with the necessary analytical skills so that they can apply cutting-edge techniques in data science to solve sophisticated real-world problems from managing, mining, and analyzing big data across multiple disciplines;  communicate their ideas and findings persuasively in written, oral, and visual form; and work in a diverse team environment. 

Required courses: (15 credits)
     STA 574 Statistical Programming
     STA 580 Applied Statistical/Biostatistical Methods
     STA 586 Predictive Modeling with Big Data
     STA 588 Introduction to Statistical Data Mining
     STA 596 Practical Data Science

 Choose from these additional courses:
     STA/OPR 562 Stochastic Modeling in Operations Research
     STA/OPR 563 System Modeling and Simulation
     STA/OPR 575 Graduate Internship and Writing
     STA 581 Statistical Quality Control
     STA 582 Introduction to Longitudinal Data Analysis
     STA 583 Sample Survey Design and Analysis
     STA 584 Advanced Design and Analysis of Experiments
     STA 585 Linear Models and Forecasting
     STA 587 Categorical Data Analysis
     STA 589 Survival Analysis
     STA 591 Topics in Biostatistics

2. Track Two: Applied Statistics

Required courses:
     STA 574 Statistical Programming
     STA 580 Applied Statistical/Biostatistical Methods

Choose from these additional courses:
     STA/OPR 562 Stochastic Modeling in Operations Research
     STA/OPR 563 System Modeling and Simulation
     STA/OPR 575 Graduate Internship and Writing
     STA 581 Statistical Quality Control
     STA 582 Introduction to Longitudinal Data Analysis
     STA 583 Sample Survey Design and Analysis
     STA 584 Advanced Design and Analysis of Experiments
     STA 585 Linear Models and Forecasting
     STA 586 Predictive Modeling with Big Data
     STA 587 Categorical Data Analysis
     STA 588 Introduction to Statistical Data Mining
     STA 589 Survival Analysis
     STA 591 Topics in Biostatistics
     STA 596 Practical Data Science

3. Track Three: Operations Research/Applied Mathematics

Required courses:
     STA/OPR 561 Deterministic Models in Operations Research
     STA/OPR 562 Stochastic Modeling in Operations Research
     STA/OPR 563 System Modeling and Simulation
     STA 580 Applied Statistical/Biostatistical Methods

Choose from these additional courses:
     STA/OPR 564 Queueing Networks
     STA/OPR 575 Graduate Internship and Writing
     STA 581 Statistical Quality Control
     STA 582 Introduction to Longitudinal Data Analysis
     STA 583 Sample Survey Design and Analysis
     STA 584 Advanced Design and Analysis of Experiments
     STA 585 Linear Models and Forecasting
     STA 586 Predictive Modeling with Big Data
     STA 587 Categorical Data Analysis
     STA 588 Introduction to Statistical Data Mining
     STA 589 Survival Analysis
     STA 591 Topics in Biostatistics
     STA 596 Practical Data Science

4. Track Four: Professional Science Master's Program in Biostatistics

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:
     MPH 535 Introduction to Epidemiological Research
     STA 574 Statistical Programming
     STA 580 Applied Statistical/Biostatistical Methods
     STA 583 Sample Survey Design and Analysis
     STA 587 Categorical Data Analysis

Extra-disciplinary credits:
     STA 501 Ethical Issues in Biostatistics

Select one of the following courses:
     MBA 670 Management Science
     MPH 675 Health Information Management
     STA/OPR 561 Deterministic Models in Operations Research

Practical experience:
     STA/OPR 575 Graduate Internship and Writing

Choose 9 credits of electives from the following courses:
     STA/OPR 562 Stochastic Modeling in Operations Research
     STA/OPR 563 System Modeling and Simulation
     STA 582 Introduction to Longitudinal Data Analysis
     STA 584 Advanced Design and Analysis of Experiments
     STA 585 Linear Models and Forecasting
     STA 586 Predictive Modeling with Big Data
     STA 588 Introduction to Statistical Data Mining
     STA 589 Survival Analysis
     STA 591 Topics in Biostatistics
     STA 596 Practical Data Science

 

Requirements for Tracks One, Two, and Three

Minimum number of credits required for the degree: 30. At least 18 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 6 of the required credits may be earned by taking pre-approved relevant upper level undergraduate courses. Moreover, the student may earn up to 3 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 accelerated degree pathway, at most two pre-approved relevant graduate courses may be used for both the undergraduate and graduate degrees. At least 18 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.
  • Program policies allow a student to earn up to 3 graduate independent-study credits under the supervision of a faculty member associated with the graduate program. With the approval of the graduate committee, a student may transfer a maximum of 6 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 6 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 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. The applicant is required to have completed the following USM courses: MAT 153 Calculus B, MAT 281 Introduction to Probability, and MAT 282 Statistical Inference, or their equivalents. Conditional admission status may be granted to students who do not fully meet these requirements, but who 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 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 through our Office of 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.

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadline: 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.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials: 

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: $65.00 paid through the online application.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Essay: Applicants must submit a personal statement of purpose describing why they want a degree in Statistics and why they are interested in this program.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation. Recommendations should be from individuals who are qualified, through direct experience with your academic or professional work, to comment on your ability to undertake graduate study and your chosen profession.  
  • Standardized test scores: Graduate Record Exams (GRE) required.
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

International Applicants

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Applicants whose first language is not English 

Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Where to send transcripts and application materials 

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.