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MSc in Stats
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Applications for 2019 entry are now closed

Applications for the MSc in Statistics are considered in three rounds; for more information about the rounds and details on how to apply please see the main College Online Postgraduate Prospectus.

Statistics is a dynamic and thriving scientific discipline that has relevance in almost every area of the modern world. Statisticians work on fascinating problems at the interface where mathematics meets the natural sciences, medicine, engineering, social and political science, data science and finance, as well as being a theoretically rich and diverse discipline its own right.

The course is run by the Statistics Section of the Department of Mathematics. Areas of research of the Section include statistical genetics and biostatistics, statistical methods in retail financial services, time series and signal processing, statistical theory, Bayesian methods and computation, and machine learning, with many interactions and overlaps between these areas of research. The expertise of the members of the Section, as well as its strong links to the financial and industrial sectors, allow for a very wide choice of summer research projects.

Programme overview

This one-year, full-time programme provides outstanding training in both theoretical and applied statistics. A common set of core modules in the Autumn term ensures that all students obtain advanced knowledge in the fundamental areas of probability theory, statistical inference and applied and computational statistics. A large and diverse set of optional modules is offered in the Spring term, which provides the flexibility for you to develop your own specialist interests. During the Summer term, you complete a research project with a member of academic staff on a state-of-the-art research problem that suits your interests.

Programme streams

The MSc distinguishes itself through the breadth and the depth of the optional modules available and the specialised streams that it offers. The variety of optional modules to choose from allows you to develop your own specialist interests, providing depth and exposure to a diverse range of statistical applications and methods. The general MSc in Statistics stream enables you to choose modules across a variety of topics, whereas the specialist streams focus on a specific theme. The formal qualification received will include the name of the specialist stream, for example: MSc Statistics (Applied Statistics).

If you are interested in applying for one of the specialisation streams, we suggest that you list it as your first choice in your application. As a limited number of places exist for each specialisation stream, unsuccessful applications for specialised streams will automatically be considered for the general MSc in Statistics (there is no need to list the general MSc in Statistics in your application unless you are only applying for the general MSc).

Recommended reading and further information

To find out more about the course, including course handbooks, timetables, information on careers support offered and social events, please see the current student pages.

Further information

Why study statistics?

Why statistics?

Statistical methods are becoming more and more prevalent in business, industry, technology, government, and academia. As such there is a wide choice of career opportunities for well qualified statisticians; UK employers face difficulties in finding such individuals. Illustrations of career opportunities are medical research and drug development (the pharmaceutical sector is mandated by law to carry out statistical experiments and employs thousands of statisticians), banking (statistical models play a central role in both personal and investment banking), government (the Government Statistical Service employs some 1200 professional statisticians), and cutting edge web employers (squeezing information from masses of internet data requires sophisticated statistical methodology). Moreover, the demand for statistical expertise is growing as automatic electronic data acquisition means that more and more massive databases are being compiled and that industry, business, and government are ever more reliant on automated statistical routines for trolling enormous data archives.

The discipline of statistics itself continues to grow, as new methods and tools are developed, and in many areas a Master’s degree is the qualification of choice, providing a broad and deep foundation in the subject. 

Overall, the discipline of statistics offers the opportunities for highly remunerated, intellectually challenging, and socially beneficial employment in an exceptionally wide range of areas.

Why this course?

The MSc distinguishes itself from other programmes at leading UK Universities through the breadth and the depth of the optional courses available (a list of available optional courses can be found on the course stream pages under the Programme Overview above).

Almost all courses are specifically designed for the MSc in Statistics (all courses with an M5MS** coding fall in this category). The number of students on these courses is kept small, to ensure an excellent learning environment, and the entire Statistics Section is involved in running the MSc, which allows a very wide choice of summer research projects. The Statistics Section also has strong links to the financial and industrial sectors, which will be a particular benefit in relation to the major project, which can be conducted in conjunction with an external partner.

You will be part of a very stimulating environment. The Statistics Section has an international reputation for conducting methodological and applied statistical research at the highest level. Particular areas of current activity include statistical genetics and biostatistics, astrostatistics, statistical methods in retail financial services, time series, core statistical methodology, classification and data mining, with many interactions and overlaps between these areas of research.

In November 2013 the MSc in Statistics was accredited by the Royal Statistical Society, implying that graduates are granted the Society's professional status of Graduate Statistician on application.

Frequently asked questions

  • Is there a part-time option?
    No, there is currently no part-time option.

  • How big is the MSc?
    The cohort size is typically around 50 students.

  • When can I apply?
    When applications open/close this webpage will be updated - please see the top of this page for the current status.

  • I do not have a Mathematics or a Statistics degree. Can I apply for this course?
    We encourage applications from outstanding students from other disciplines who are able to demonstrate
    • strong mathematical ability and
    • a well motivated and genuine interest in advanced study in Statistics.
    Prior studies involving only elementary courses in mathematics and statistics and the mere use of standard statistical software packages (e.g. SPSS, SAS) are normally not considered to be adequate preparation for this course.

  • What statistical software is being used?
    Most modules that have practical parts will use R as main language.

  • Do I need programming experience?
    A number of modules on the MSc programme will involve computational work in the statistical programming language, R. It is strongly desirable that you have some prior experience of any modern programming language, e.g. R, Java, C/C++, Python, MATLAB, etc.

  • I completed my studies many years ago and I have been working in industry. Can I apply?
    Experienced applicants with relevant industrial experience are highly encouraged to apply. All candidates are subject to the same selection criteria.

  • I did not receive an offer. Why?
    The number of high quality applications we receive greatly exceeds the number of places available on the course. Unfortunately, this means that we have to disappoint a large number of applicants.

  • Will I receive feedback if my application is unsuccessful?
    We will provide limited feedback on request. Please e-mail for this. However, note that many rejections are due to the heavily oversubscribed nature of our MSc course.
  • Can I apply for a specialised stream and the general MSc in Statistics?
    If you are interested in applying for one of the specialised streams, please list your chosen stream as your first choice in your application: MSc in Statistics (Theory and Methods), MSc in Statistics (Applied), MSc in Statistics (Biostatistics), MSc in Statistics (Statistical Finance), MSc in Statistics (Data Science). If your chosen specialised stream is full, you will automatically be considered for the MSc in Statistics. It is not necessary to list both the MSc in Statistics and your chosen specialisation stream in your application form. 
  • Can I apply for two specialised streams?
    We recommend that you apply for your first choice of specialised stream in the first instance or for the general MSc in Statistics. Please see details below for switching between streams once the programme has started. 
  • Can I switch streams?

    Once you start the programme, you can decide to switch to the general stream or any other stream in term 1, before the specialisation occurs. One major difference between the streams is the research project topic. It may be possible for you to switch streams after the Autumn term, subject to staff being available to supervise a suitable project topic in the particular steam.

  • Do you have a set allocation of places per stream?
    Yes, the number of places on the specialised streams are limited. 
  • Is there a deadline to reply to my offer?
    You must reply to your offer within 28 days of the offer being made, otherwise it will automatically be withdrawn by the Admissions system. Once you accept your offer you will be invoiced to pay a deposit and will have 28 days to complete payment. If the deposit payment has not been made in the allocated time frame, your offer will be withdrawn.
  • Does it matter which application round I apply in?
    We recommend applying early, especially if you are interested in studying one of our specialised streams. 



We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for. 


More information about postgraduate funding can be found on the central College pages - see 'Fees and funding' link below.