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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 curriculum requirements and further details.

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.

Units for a given course may not be counted to meet the requirements of more than one degree, with the exception that up to 45 units of a Stanford M.A. or M.S. degree may be applied to the residency requirement for the Ph.D., D.M.A. or Engineer degrees. (GAP 3.2)

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 adviser a choice of a suitable replacement course.

An overall 3.0 grade point average (GPA) is required.

The Master's Program Proposal is to be submitted by the student to the major department's student services administrator prior to the end of the first quarter of enrollment in the program. A revised program proposal must be submitted if your degree plans change.

There is no thesis requirement.


Masters Program Proposal Form (PDF)

Department seminars are an integral part of the program and provide an opportunity to interact with leading academic and industry speakers. Students cannot count more than a total 6 units of the following toward the master's degree requirements: Stats 260ABC (Workshop in Biostatistics), Stats 298* (Industrial Research), Stats 299 (Independent Study), Stats 390 (Consulting Workshop),  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

Meeting program requirements, 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 master's program advisers, each student selects his or her own set of electives and pace of study.


Length of the Program

All requirements for the Statistics master's degree, including the coterminal master's degree, must be completed within three years of their first quarter of graduate standing.

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.

Honors Cooperative students must finish within five years.


Examples of program completion:

  • 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).


The time limit is not automatically extended by a student's leave of absence. All requests for extension, whether prompted by a leave or some other circumstance, must be filed by the student before the conclusion of the program's time limit. Departments are not obliged to grant an extension. The maximum extension is one additional year. Extensions require review of academic progress and any other factors regarded as relevant by the department, and approval by the department; such approval is at the department's discretion.


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


Master's Advisers

Students' academic progress is monitored by a faculty advisor.

2015-2016 Advisers


New Masters students (2015-16 matriculation)

Richard Olshen

Contact info: olshen at stat dot stanford dot EDU

Office hours: by appointment

Location: Sequoia Hall room 228


Continuing Statistics Master's students whose last name starts with A - L

John Duchi

Contact info: jduchi at stanford dot EDU

Office hours: Wednesdays, 4-5pm

Location: Sequoia Hall room 126


Continuing Statistics Master's students whose last name starts with M - Z

John Ioannidis

Contact info: jioannid at stanford dot EDU

Office hours: by appointment

Location: Med School Office Bldg


Career Advising: Tze Lai

Contact info: lait at stanford dot EDU

Office hours: by appointment


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.