FAQs

Prospective Masters Students in Applied Statistics

Q: For what terms are students admitted to the Department of Statistics?
A: Applied Master students are admitted for Fall only.

Q: May I complete a paper application?
A: All applications must be submitted online.

Q: What is the deadline to apply for admission?
A: The deadline for admission is January 10th. More information is on the How to Apply section of our website.

Q: Is there a minimum GPA required to apply, and what are my chances of being admitted if I have a low GPA?
A: No. All applications are reviewed and evaluated relative to other applications submitted in the same year. Applicants with relatively low GPAs may be admitted based on other factors (e.g. GRE scores, research accomplishments, etc). Also, grades in relevant courses (math, stats, computer science, etc.) are much more relevant than the overall GPA.

Q: Do you require both General GRE scores and the Advanced Math Subject score?
A: Only General GRE scores are required. The Advanced Math Subject score is not required.

Q: How long are GRE scores valid?
A: GRE scores are valid for 5 years.

Q: What are the average GRE scores for Applied Master applicants? Is there a minimum GRE score required for admission?
A: The average GRE scores for the current Applied Master students are Verbal 590, Quantitative 790, and Analytical 3.5. However, there is no minimum GRE required to apply and the admissions committee considers many other factors (e.g. GPA, research accomplishments, grades in mathematics and statistics courses).  

Q: Do I need to take the TOEFL?
A: Non-native speakers have to take the TOEFL or IELTS unless the official language of instruction at the institution where they received their previous degree was English, or if the official language of the country in which it was located is English. If you qualify for this exemption but have spent less than four years at an English-language institution, we recommend you submit a TOEFL score anyway.  

Q: How long are TOEFL scores valid?
A: TOEFL scores are valid for 2 years. We accept TOEFL scores expiring in late fall or early winter as long as the official report from ETS is received before the deadline.

Q: What is the minimum TOEFL score required?
A: The minimum required scores are:

  • Reading — 23
  • Listening — 23
  • Speaking — 17
  • Writing — 21
  • Total — 84 (the internet based test)

For more information, see Required Tests for Non-native English Speakers on the Rackham Website.

Q: My TOEFL score is below the minimum, but I have other evidence of English proficiency.  Will my application be considered?
A: The only acceptable evidence of English proficiency is a score on a University-approved English test, see Required Tests for Non-native English Speakers on the Rackham Website. If your score is below the minimum required by the University, your application will be automatically rejected. The department cannot waive this requirement.

Q: Do I send Official Transcripts to the Department?
A: No, unofficial transcripts or scanned copies of official transcripts should be uploaded with the application online. Official transcripts from degree-granting institutions only should be mailed directly to Rackham Admissions; see Instructions for Submitting Transcripts. Use the Academic Records/Transcript Submission Form to submit your official transcript so that it is quickly associated with your application. Be sure to include your University of Michigan ID number on all documents.  If there is anything you wish to explain about your transcript, please do so in the Statement of Purpose.

Q: What types of financial aid or funding does the Department of Statistics offer to Applied Master’s students?
A: We offer a small number of guaranteed Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) positions to Applied Master’s students at the time of admission (about 2 per year). These positions provide a stipend, a tuition waiver, and health insurance. A few additional GSI positions may become available to Applied Master’s students in late August, and additional offers of aid on a term-by-term basis may be made. These positions are only open to students who are native speakers of English or whose undegraduate degree is from an institution where instruction is exclusively in English.   

Q: Is there any financial aid or scholarships available for international students?
A: There is no financial aid available for international students whose undergraduate education was not in English. A very small number of international students may be nominated for an English course ELI 994 that makes them eligible for a GSI position in the second year. Completing the course does not guarantee that such a position will become available. All students must come prepared to cover all expenses for the entire course of study as receiving financial aid is very unlikely.

Q: Is there a separate application to complete to be considered for financial aid?
A: There is no separate financial aid application. All eligible applicants are considered for financial aid (see more on eligibility above).

Q: Can I apply for both the Applied Master’s program as well as the Ph.D. program?
A: Yes. You can apply to the Ph.D. program and check the box on the application that requests that your application be transferred to the Master's program if you are not accepted into the Ph.D. program. Applicants to the Ph.D. program who are not offered admission are not considered for the Master’s program unless they check the box on the application.

Q: What are the prerequisites needed to apply to the Applied Master’s program?
A: It is strongly recommended that prospective students have a good background in calculus and linear algebra and have taken at least one course each in probability and in theoretical statistics. Students who have not taken these prerequisite courses are generally required to take them in the first year of graduate study, with no credit toward the requirements for the degree.

Q: If my undergraduate major was not in Statistics, what are my chances of being admitted to the Applied Master’s program in Statistics?
A: Applicants from various academic backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to apply. Applicants who have not completed an undergraduate major in statistics will not be penalized, but may need to enroll in some extra classes before taking the core courses necessary for a Master’s degree.

Q: Must all of the recommendations be academic?
A: No, but the majority should be academic.

Q: How many students are admitted to the Applied Master’s program each year?
A: Both the number of applicants and the size of the entering class have increased substantially since 2010. In the last two years, we have been receiving 300–400 applications per year and making about 50–70 offers of admissions, of which about half was accepted.  

Q: What is the proportion of international students in the Applied Master’s program?
A: About 70% of the students in this program are international.

Q: What is the length of the Applied Master’s program?
A: Most students take 3 or 4 semesters to complete the program.

Q: Can I have credits transferred towards my Applied Master’s degree?
A: Please see the Rackham Transfer Credit Guidelines.

Q: If I plan to pay for the cost of completing the Applied Master’s program myself, what is the estimated cost for tuition, books, and living expenses?
A: Estimated costs of attendance is available on the Financial Aid Website.

Q: Can I enroll part time in the Applied Master’s program?
A: This is possible, and some of our current Applied Masters students attend classes and work. Your course plan would need to be fully discussed with the program advisor to make sure you are enrolling in the correct courses needed to make progress towards your degree. Part-time study is typically not available to international students on F-1 visas.

Q: What can I do with a Master’s in Applied Statistics Degree?
A: Our graduates find jobs in government, insurance, banking, finance, medical research institutions, pharmaceutical industry, and others. Some go on to Ph.D. programs in statistics or other subjects, such as biostatistics or economics. Here are some sample job titles of recent graduates:

  •    Financial Analyst
  •    Market Researcher
  •    Reliability Engineer
  •    Research Scientist
  •    Statistical Consultant
  •    Statistical Research Analyst
  •    Technical Analyst

Q: I am interested in going into finance and would like to have a better understanding of statistics. Would the Applied Master’s program be an appropriate degree?
A: We have had Applied Masters alumni find careers in finance.  Some recent examples of finance jobs our graduates started upon completing the degree:

  •    Quantitative Research and Trading at Worldco, LLC
  •    Financial Analyst at the Quantitative Strategies Group of Goldman Sachs
  •    Quantitative Operations Manager at Bank of America
  •    FX Options Trader – Associate at Bank of America
  •    Credit Risk Analyst at Household Credit Services

Prospective Ph.D. Students

Q: For what terms are students admitted to the Department of Statistics?
A: Ph.D. students are admitted for Fall only.

Q: May I complete a paper application?
A: All applications must be submitted online.

Q: What is the deadline to apply for admission?
A: The deadline for admission is January 10th. For more information, see the Application page.

Q: What if I submitted all my materials but one of my recommenders did not submit their letter by January 10?
A: The system will still accept letters of recommendation after January 10, and if your application is complete apart from the letters, we will still consider it. However, if there are missing letters at the time your application is reviewed by the committee, it will reduce your chances for admission. Please make every effort to have your recommenders send their letters on time.  

Q: Is there a minimum GPA or GRE score required to apply?
A: No. All applications are reviewed and evaluated relative to other applications submitted in the same year. Applicants with relatively low GPAs may be admitted based on other factors (e.g. GRE scores, research accomplishments, etc.). Also, grades in relevant courses (math, stats, computer science, etc.) are much more relevant than the overall GPA. Conversely, applicants with low GREs may be admitted based on other factors. No single measure plays a deciding role in the admissions process.

Q: How long are GRE scores valid?
A: GRE scores are valid for 5 years.

Q: Do you require both General GRE scores and the Advanced Math Subject score?
A: Only General GRE scores are required. The Advanced Math Subject score is not required.

Q: Do I need to take the TOEFL?
A: Non-native speakers have to take the TOEFL or IELTS unless the official language of instruction at the institution where they received their previous degree was English, or if the official language of the country in which it was located is English. If you qualify for this exemption but have spent less than four years at an English-language institution, we recommend you submit a TOEFL score anyway.  

Q: How long are TOEFL scores valid?
A: TOEFL scores are valid for 2 years. We accept TOEFL scores expiring in late fall or early winter as long as the official report from ETS is received before the deadline.

Q: What is the minimum TOEFL score required?
A: The minimum required scores are: 

  • Reading — 23
  • Listening — 23
  • Speaking — 17
  • Writing — 21
  • Total — 84 (internet based test)

For more information, see Required Tests for Non-native English Speakers on the Rackham Website.

Q: My TOEFL score is below the minimum, but I have other evidence of English proficiency. Will my application be considered?
A: The only acceptable evidence of English proficiency is a score on a University-approved English test see Required Tests for Non-native English Speakers on the Rackham Website. If your score is below the minimum required by the University, your application will be automatically rejected. The department cannot waive this requirement.

Q: Do I send Official Transcripts to the Department?
A: No, unofficial transcripts or scanned copies of official transcripts should be uploaded with the application online. Official transcripts from degree-granting institutions only should be mailed directly to Rackham Admissions; see Instructions for Submitting Transcripts. Use the Academic Records/Transcript Submission Form to submit your official transcript so that it is quickly associated with your application. Be sure to include your University of Michigan ID number on all documents. If there is anything you wish to explain about your transcript, please do so in the Statement of Purpose.

Q: Do all admitted Ph.D. students receive funding?
A: Yes. We offer guaranteed financial support for 5 years in the Ph.D. program to all admitted Ph.D. students, provided they remain in good standing. The financial support comes in the form of Graduate Student Instructorships (GSI), Graduate Student Research Assistantships (GSRA), and fellowships. All forms of support include a stipend, a tuition waiver, and benefits. First year students are typically supported by GSIships and fellowships.

Q: Do I need to fill out a separate application to be considered for funding?
A: No. All Ph.D. applicants are automatically considered for funding.  

Q: Must all of the recommendations be academic?
A: No, but the majority should be academic. All recommendations should address your ability and potential for Ph.D. studies in statistics.

Q: Do I need to specify the faculty member I want to work with for my Ph.D. in my application?
A: No. Typically, students do not need to choose their thesis advisor until their second year in the program.

Q: If I am not offered admission to the Ph.D. program, will I automatically be considered for the Master’s program?
A: No, but you can check a box on the application that requests that your application be transferred to the Master's program if you are not accepted into the Ph.D. program. Applicants to the Ph.D. program who are not offered admission are not considered for the Master’s program unless they check the box on the application.

Q: On average, how many students apply and are admitted to the Ph.D. program?
A: The number of students admitted to the Ph.D. program varies from year to year. In recent years, on average, we have received about 250 applications a year, made about 30 offers of admission, and enrolled entering classes of about 10–12.

Q: What is the percentage of international students in the Ph.D. program?
A: It varies from year to year, and averages out to about 60–70%.  

Q: What academic background do the students in the Ph.D. program come from?
A: The majority of our Ph.D. students come from mathematics, statistics, electrical engineering, and computer science majors, but some also come from economics, sociology, and marketing. Most Ph.D. students enroll immediately after completing their undergraduate or Master’s degree, but we also have some students who return to school after a few years of working in industry.

Q: What are the prerequisites needed to apply to the program?
A: As a general rule, a good background in calculus and linear algebra and some courses in probability and statistics are the prerequisites. A course in real analysis is also very useful, as are good computing  skills. However, we evaluate each application from all angles and strengths in a particular area can compensate for lack of preparation in others. Students also have the opportunity to take some prerequisites in their first year of study if they did not take them as undergraduates.

Q: How many years does it take to complete the Ph.D. program?
A: Most students take 5 years to complete their Ph.D., although it is possible to do it in 4 years.

Q: What do the graduates of the Ph.D. program do after they graduate?
A: About half of our graduates go on to tenure-track faculty positions in peer institutions, many immediately after graduation and some after postdocs. In recent years, we have had students go on to jobs at Harvard, University of Washington, Columbia, University of Minnesota, Purdue, North Carolina State, and other well established universities both in and outside the U.S.. Other Ph.D. graduates go on to jobs in research labs, government, and industry, particularly in finance and technology companies.

Current Applied Masters Students

Q: What is the minimum GPA to graduate?
A: The minimum cumulative GPA to graduate is 5.0 (B on the graduate scale).

Q: How do I request permission to enroll in a course?
A: Contact the Department Office to request permission.

Q: What is the process to audit a course?
A: Permission from the instructor must be granted prior to registering to audit a course. See the College of Literature Science and the Arts website for more information.

Q: What are the drop/add deadlines for courses?
A: The Academic Calendar will have the drop/add deadlines for courses.

Q: What is the academic calendar at the University of Michigan?
A: Academic Calendar

Q: What is the deadline to apply for conferral of my Master’s degree?
A: Master's degree diploma application deadlines can be found here.

Q: How do I apply for conferral of my Master’s degree?
A: Masters students must apply to graduate via Wolverine Access.

Q: How can I invite my parents to graduation if they need a visa to enter the US?
A: For information regarding preparing for commencements, please visit the University Graduate Exercises website.

Q: What kind of academic gowns and hoods should I get for graduation?
A: For a listing of Academic Gowns, Hoods, and Colors can be found here.

Q: Where can I find information about commencement?
A: Information about commencement can be found on the Commencement website.

Q: Where can I find information about Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
A: The International Center website is a great resource for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Q: Where can I find information about Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
A: The International Center website is a great resource for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

Q: Where can I find information about reduced course load (RCL)?
A: The International Center website is a great resource for Reduce Course Load (RCL).

Current Ph.D. Students

Q: What parking and transportation services are available to graduate students?
A: Parking Information

Q: What is the academic calendar at the University of Michigan?
A: Academic Calendar

Q: What are the drop/add deadlines for courses?
A: The Academic Calendar will have the drop/add deadlines for courses.

Q: How do I request permission to enroll in a course if it is not open on Wolverine?
A: Contact the department office.

Q: What is the process to audit a course?
A: Permission from the instructor must be granted prior to registering to audit a course. For more information, see LSA's Auditing Courses page.

Q: What is the minimum GPA required of Ph.D. students?
A: The minimum cumulative GPA to graduate must be 5.0 (B on the graduate scale). Students whose GPA falls below 5.0 are considered on academic probation. A student remains in good standing with a course grade below B as long as the overall GPA is above 5.0.

Q: How often are QR (Qualifying Review) exams held?
A: QR Exams are held once a year, in late May. The exact dates are announced in April.

Q: Can I get copies of previous QR exams?
A: Copies of previous exams are available in the department office. They are not available online.

Q: How do I apply for an embedded Master’s degree?
A: Please contact the department office.

Q: How can I satisfy my cognate requirements?
A: The PhD program advisor and your faculty mentor or advisor can suggest courses in other departments that could be appropriate. Generally, courses in Biostatistics, EECS, and Math are often taken as cognate courses. All cognate courses must be approved by the graduate chair.

Q: When should I notify Rackham of my dissertation committee?
A: Rackham asks that they be notified of your committee members at least 6 months before you defend. Committee forms are available in the department office.

Q: What is the deadline to advance to candidacy?
A: The candidacy deadlines can be found here.

Q: What is the deadline for Ph.D. students to apply for their degree?
A: Doctoral degree deadlines can be found here.

Q: How can I invite my parents to graduation if they need a visa to enter the U.S.?
A: For information regarding preparing for commencements, please visit the University Graduate Exercises website.

Q: What kind of academic gowns and hoods should I get for graduation?
A: For a listing of Academic Gowns, Hoods, and Colors can be found here.

Q: Where can I find information about commencement?
A: Information about commencement can be found on the Commencement website.

Q: Where can I find information about Optional Practical Training (OPT)?
A: The International Center website is a great resource for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Q: Where can I find information about Curricular Practical Training (CPT)?
A: The International Center website is a great resource for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).