The Field of Statistics offers two graduate degree programs: an MS/PhD degree in Statistics and a Masters of Professional Studies degree in Applied Statistics. The field does not offer a Masters degree in Statistics.
The PhD program is intended to prepare students for a career in research and teaching at the University level or in equivalent positions in industry or government. A PhD degree requires writing and defending a dissertation. Students graduate this program with a broad set of skills, from the ability to interact collaboratively with researchers in applied fields, through the formulation and computational implementation of novel statistical models and methods to demonstrating mathematically that these methods have desirable statistical properties. Cornell's PhD alumni have gone on to high profile positions in all of academia, industry and government.
The Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) degree in Applied Statistics is for persons interested in professional careers in business, industry or government. The M.P.S. program has three main components:
- A two-semester core course covering a wide range of statistical applications, computing, and consulting
- An in-depth statistical analysis project
- Elective coursework drawn from the resources of the Department of Statistical Science.
The program can be completed in one year by a well-prepared student with the equivalent of an undergraduate degree in statistics or applied mathematics. Students with less preparation can make up any missing prerequisites while at Cornell; in this case the program will take one to two years to complete.
M.P.S. or M.S./Ph.D.?
Statistics does not offer admission for those interested a terminal master's degree, but we do offer admission for those interested in pursuing a master's leading to a Ph.D. We also offer the M.P.S. in Applied Statistics, which is normally a one-year program that does not carry financial aid.
The M.P.S. is intended for persons who want a short-term (one year) master's degree so as to go into business, industry, or government statistical work. The M.P.S. is not equivalent to an M.S. on several counts: the M.P.S. has a project (a large-scale data-analysis project) rather than a thesis or a qualifying exam (which would be the case for an M.S.). The mathematical probability/statistics component of the M.P.S. is less than it would be for an M.S. (which would be considered the first part of a Ph.D.).
The admissions procedures are completely independent: at Cornell, if you want to go on for a Ph.D. after the M.P.S. you must to apply as a new student to the Ph.D. program; you would be considered as part of the "pool" of Ph.D. applicants and, if admitted, you might be able to apply some of your M.P.S. coursework, but there is no guarantee. The Ph.D. in Statistics at Cornell enrolls about 2 to 4 students each year; the M.P.S., about 20 to 25.
If you are applying for the M.P.S., please make clear your clear if you are applying for Option 1 or Option 2.
Concentrations by Subject
- applied statistics
- decision theory
- engineering statistics
- experimental design
- mathematical statistics
- social statistics
- statistical computing
- stochastic processes