Oct 27, 2021  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Statistics, Data Science, M.S.


Coordinator: Viles

Professors: Aboueissa, El-Taha, McCormick; Assistant Professor: Viles

The graduate program in statistics is designed to provide students with a broad knowledge of the concepts and practice of statistics and related fields. Students are prepared to assume positions of responsibility and expertise. Graduates may find employment involving diverse statistics-related activities in business, industry, government, regulatory agencies, insurance companies, biotechnology firms, and marketing research firms. Graduates possess a good foundation to pursue further advanced studies in statistical sciences and allied disciplines.

The program in data science is designed to meet the growing regional and national demand for professionals with high-level skills in data science, which is becoming more pronounced and urgent. The primary goal of this track is to prepare students with the necessary analytical skills to apply cutting-edge techniques in data science to solve sophisticated real-world problems from managing, mining, and analyzing big data across multiple disciplines; to communicate their ideas and findings persuasively in written, oral, and visual form; and to work in a diverse team environment.

The graduate program is offered in a flexible accelerated degree pathway, where currently enrolled undergraduate students in mathematics and other disciplines at USM may earn both an undergraduate degree and the M.S. degree in statistics in five years. Candidates planning to earn both the undergraduate and graduate degrees in five years are advised to take MAT 281 Introduction to Probability and MAT 282 Statistical Inference in the sophomore year, to take upper-level undergraduate courses in relevant concentrations in the junior year, and to take graduate-level courses in the senior year. A student will receive graduate standing (full matriculation) after satisfactory completion of all requirements for the undergraduate degree. Candidates holding baccalaureate degrees from accredited institutions may join the program directly at the master’s level.

Program Requirements


Minimum number of credits required for the degree: 30. At least 18 credit hours must be graduate courses offered by the graduate program, excluding graduate internship credits, independent study credits, and thesis or project credits. A student meeting the above requirements has the flexibility of taking additional courses subject to the following policies: at most 6 required credits may be earned by taking pre-approved relevant upper level undergraduate courses. Moreover, the student may earn up to 3 credits by way of an internship with local industry. The program will provide guidance in locating internship opportunities.

In addition to specific track requirements, all degree students will be subject to the following requirements.

  • For students within the accelerated degree pathway, at most two pre-approved relevant graduate courses may be used for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. At least 18 credit hours should be taken by students after full matriculation.
  • All courses applied toward the graduate degree must be completed within six years of enrollment in the graduate program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Otherwise, additional coursework must be taken to fulfill program requirements.
  • Program policies allow a student to earn up to 3 graduate independent-study credits under the supervision of a faculty member associated with the graduate program. With approval of the graduate committee, a student may transfer a maximum of 6 credit hours for graduate work completed at other institutions or in other graduate programs at USM, including those listed in concentrations.
  • A student must register for at least one course every semester to maintain continuous enrollment. Students who do not maintain continuous enrollment will be dropped from the program and will have to reapply for admission to continue. Students who anticipate being unable to take classes may apply in writing for a fixed-term leave of absence.
  • A student whose grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. In this case a student will be allowed 12 semester hours to raise their GPA to, or above, the 3.0 minimum by taking only graduate-level courses. Students unsuccessful in raising their GPA during a probationary period may be dismissed from the program.

Master’s Thesis Project Procedure


Students can earn up to 6 credits by completing a master’s thesis or project. If a student chooses to do a master’s thesis or project, he/she must select one of the following:

  • Option I: Master’s Thesis. The student must write a master’s thesis ( STA 590 /OPR 590 ).
  • Option II: Master’s Project. The student must complete a master’s project (STA 590 /OPR 590 ).

Once an option has been selected, the student with his/her advisor must submit a proposal to the Graduate Committee for approval. The thesis or project must be approved by the Graduate Committee in advance.

Once the thesis or project topic has been approved by the Graduate Committee, the student must select a Thesis/Project Committee in consultation with his/her advisor. The Thesis/Project Committee will consist of at least three members, including the advisor. At most, one member of the Thesis/Project Committee may be from outside the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The Graduate Committee will approve the Thesis/Project Committee.

Although thesis or project work will be done under the direct supervision of the advisor, the student is expected to keep all committee members apprised of progress. Once the thesis or project is completed, the student will produce a document describing his/her work. This document must adhere to the format specified by the Graduate Committee. Each Thesis/Project Committee member must be supplied with a copy of this document for review and approval at least two weeks before the intended date of defense.

Defense of the thesis or project should occur no less than sixty days after approval of the Thesis/Project Committee and will consist of an oral presentation of its content to the University community. The Master’s Thesis/Project requirement will be considered fulfilled when the thesis or project has been defended and the final document has been approved by all members of the Thesis/Project Committee.

The entire procedure for the fulfillment of the Master’s Project requirement is the same as in the Master’s Thesis, except that the project may be in the form of an expository paper in an area of mathematics, statistics, or operations research, or it may be a solution of a practical problem in one of these areas, possibly related to the student’s employment.

Financial Aid


A limited number of teaching assistantships and tuition waivers are available to students receiving regular graduate admission. Requests for an assistantship or tuition waiver should accompany the application.