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MS in Statistics

The MS in Statistics is a popular degree as either a terminal degree or together with a doctorate in another field. Visit the Admissions pages for instructions on applying to add this degree.

MS in Statistics: Data Science

Starting in Fall 2013 a Stats MS Data Science subplan is offered as a focused track within the current MS program in Statistics and ICME (Stanford Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering). See the Data Science page for more details, and curriculum requirements.

MS in Statistics Program Summary

The department requires that the student take 45 units of work from offerings in the Department of Statistics or from authorized courses in other departments. Of these 45 units, eight statistics courses from the list of required courses must be taken for a letter grade. The mathematics and programming requirements must also be taken for a letter grade*. The Statistics elective courses may be taken for a letter grade or Credit/No Credit. There is no thesis requirement.

Units for a given course may not be counted to meet the requirements of more than one degree (GAP 3.2), that is, no units may be double-counted (for example, students who have already taken STATS 116 and have counted it toward their undergraduate or another Master's degree should discuss with their advisor a choice of a suitable replacement course). An overall 3.0* grade point average (GPA) is required. Additional courses from the list of authorized electives may be used to complete the unit requirement. Because departments often change their offerings, please contact one of the master's advisors for approval of courses not on this list.

Submission of approved Master's Program Proposal, signed by the master's adviser, to the student services specialist by the end of the first quarter of the master's degree program. A revised program proposal is required to be filed whenever there are changes to a student's previously approved program proposal.

* Students admitted to the Statistics M.S. program prior to academic year 2014-15 fulfill the requirements in effect at the time of their admission.

Masters Program Proposal Form (PDF, DOCX)

Department seminars are an integral part of the program and provide an opportunity to interact with leading academic and industry speakers. You cannot count more than six units of Stats 260ABC (Workshop in Biostatistics), Stats 298 (Industrial Research*), Stats 390 (Consulting Workshop), Stats 299 (Independent Study) or Stats 399 (Research) toward the master's degree requirements.

* International students will need to apply for CPT if they intend to work off-campus while in the U.S. For eligibility rules and procedures, please see: Curricular Practical Training (F-1)

Stats 298 enrollment instructions: step 4

Courses below 200 level are generally not acceptable, with the following exceptions:

  • Stats: 116, 191
  • Math: 104, 113, 115, 151, 171, 180 
  • CS: 106A, 106B, 106X, 140-181
  • At most, one of these two courses may be counted:
    • 1. Math 151 or Stats 116
    • 2. Math 104 or Math 113

With the advice of the masters advisors and of peer students, each student selects his/her own set of electives and pace of study. Ordinarily, four or five quarters are needed to complete all requirements.  Students who do not complete all requirements within three years of admission will have their program terminated. 

  • Accelerated load (9 months - not typical)September-June; typically 5 courses per quarter for 3 quarters
  • Normal load (12 months)September-August; 3-4 courses per quarter for 4 quarters, including one summer quarter
  • Normal load (15-18 months - more common scenarios)September-June, September-December or March; This allows for greater flexibility in choosing electives and a lighter course load in the last quarter (which can then be dedicated to job interviewing).

All students are expected to abide by the Honor Code and the Fundamental Standard.

Master's Advisors

Students' academic progress is monitored by a faculty advisor.

2014-2015 Advisors


Summer quarter (June 22 - Aug 28)

  • Iain Johnstone: New Masters students whose last name starts with O through Z

Office hours: Tues 3:00 - 4:00 pm (June 23, July 28 and Aug 4), or by appointment.

contact info: IMJ at stanford dot EDU | Sequoia Hall, room 138


  • Richard Olshen: New Masters students whose last name starts with A through N

Office hours: drop-in or by appointment

contact info: OLSHEN at stat dot stanford dot EDU | Sequoia Hall, room 228


Students with a master's degree have found employment in industry, health and medicine, government and business, or have completed further study toward a PhD (at Stanford or another institution).

The American Statistical Association, in conjunction with other statistical societies, has prepared a brochure (pdf), and maintain resource pages for Careers in Statistics.

ASA Job Search:

The book 101 Careers in Mathematics(3rd Ed.), published by the Mathematical Association of America. The essays in this volume describe more than 101 careers for which a background in the mathematical sciences.