M.A. in Statistics
M.A. Program Director: Adjunct Professor Demissie Alemayehu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The department offers a flexible M.A. program designed for students preparing for professional positions or for doctoral programs in statistics and other quantitative fields.
The program may be taken either full-time or part-time. Most courses, and all required courses in the program, have at least one evening section in order to accommodate working students.
Full-time students with strong backgrounds can complete the M.A. in a single academic year, taking four or more courses per semester. Many part-time students take two to three courses per semester for three or four semesters.
Preparation for the program should include a thorough knowledge of linear algebra (through the level of MATH V2020 at Columbia) and advanced calculus (through the level of MATH V1201). Experience in theoretical or applied probability and statistics is advantageous. Familiarity with computer programming is also helpful. The GRE exam is required and cannot be substituted with the GMAT; there is no minimum score.
The deadline for submission of the M.A. program application is June 15 for the Fall semester, and November 30, for Spring. For International students the deadline for submission of the M.A. program application is June 1 and October 15, respectively. You can apply online.
For each student, an individualized program leading to the M.A. degree will be designed with the help of a departmental adviser. Students must meet with the M.A. Program Adviser to have their study plan approved each semester prior to registering for classes.
Course requirements for graduation include six core courses and a coherent set of at least two electives. The core courses and approved electives must be passed with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better. No exceptions can be made to this rule.
Students who find themselves struggling with their course schedule should contact the Program Adviser immediately. Students must confer with the Program Adviser prior to any change in their course registration
Students must complete each of W4105 (Probability), W4107 (Statistical Inference), W4201 (Advanced Data Analysis), W4200 (Applied Stat), W4315 (Linear Regression Models), and one of 4325 (Generalized Linear Models), W4437 (Time Series Analysis) or another approved course.
W4105 (Probability) is a pre-requisite for W4107 (Statistical Inference), and both are pre-requisites for W4315 (Linear Regression Models) . These three courses are pre-requisites for most of the other core courses and electives. However, students may replace W4105 (Probability) and W4107 (Statistical Inference) with the combined course W4109 (Probability and Inference). Students with some background in probability and statistics may take W4315 (Linear Regression Models) and additional core courses and electives simultaneously with W4109 (Probability and Inference), with the approval of the M.A. Program Adviser.
Note that, due to a change in the curriculum, effective Fall 2012, the computing course W4199 (Statistical Computing in SAS) does not count toward the degree requirement, but may be taken in addition to the eight courses.
Students who have not done substantial coursework in probability and statistics prior to enrolling should consider spending three regular semesters in the program, or consider taking W4105 (Probability) and W4107 (Statistical Inference) prior to their first regular semester at Columbia.
Students who have taken core courses at Columbia prior to admission to the M.A. program in Statistics may count those core courses towards their M.A. degree requirements. Students who have taken courses not on the list of core courses for the degree program may count those courses towards their M.A. degree if they are approved as part of a coherent set of electives. No more than four courses taken at Columbia prior to admission in the M.A. program may be applied towards the M.A. degree. Note, however, that no Columbia course may be applied to more than one degree. In all cases, approval must be obtained in writing from the Program Adviser.
Students who have taken at other institutions the equivalent of core courses, and students who have taken core courses at Columbia, but applied those courses to other degrees, may, with the permission of the Program Adviser, substitute approved electives for those core courses.
At the discretion of the faculty and subject to review by the Graduate School, on a case-by-case basis, when advanced standing is granted to students for courses taken at Columbia, concomitant residence unit credit may also be credited to the M.A. degree. However, all MA candidates are required to be enrolled for at least 2 semesters in the MA program.
In addition to the six required courses, students must complete at least two electives approved by the M.A. program adviser. Students are encouraged to take more than [two] electives. A set of electives may include courses numbered 4000 and above (except STAT W4150 and W6210) from the Statistics Department, or appropriate courses from other programs and departments such as Business, Computer Science, Economics, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Mathematics, and Public Health.
Business School Courses require the following special approval Registration form to be approved by the Program Adviser and the Business School.
A partial list of commonly approved electives may be found here.Students interested in applications in finance might choose W4437, W4606, W6501, G6503, G6505, and approved offerings in finance from the Business School or the Mathematics Department or offerings in financial engineering from the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.
Students interested in applications in the pharmaceutical industry or public health might choose W4325, W4413, W4543 and approved offerings from the Biostatistics and Epidemiology Departments.
Students interested in entering a doctoral program in statistics might choose W6501, approved offerings in measure theory and real analysis from the Mathematics Department, or doctoral level courses in probability, statistical theory, or applied statistics.
Students interested in actuarial science and applications in the insurance industry might choose W4543, W4437, W4840, W4606 and approved offerings in macro- and micro-economics and corporate finance from the Economics Department or the Business School.
If students take two or more courses with overlapping content, onlyone of the courses may count toward their degree requirement. For example, students cannot receive credit for W4440 in additionto either W4315 or W4437.
In order to maintain good standing in the program, students must be making steady progress towards completing the degree, and must maintain a 3.0 grade point average or better in their approved courses. Steady progress generally means completing at least one course per semester for students taking one quarter residence unit, two courses per semester for students taking one half residence unit, and three courses per semester for students on a full residence unit.
Students who do not maintain the required 3.0 GPA must meet with the Program Adviser. At the meeting, the Program Adviser will explain to the student what requirements must be fulfilled in the next semester in order to regain good standing. Students who do not satisfy the requirements in the next semester may not be allowed to continue in the program.
Students who find themselves in academic difficulty should contact the Program Adviser as soon as possible.
Tuition is paid on the basis of residence units. Students may either pay for one quarter, one half or one full residence unit in each semester of enrollment. Paying of quarter unit entitles the student to one or two courses. Paying for one half unit entitles the student to up to three courses. One Full Residence Unit entitles a student up to 18 credit points. Columbia University requires students to complete two residence units in order to complete the degree. This requirement is in addition to the Departmental course requirements; should a student finish all of the Departmental course requirements for the degree while paying for only one residence unit, the university will require payment of tuition for the additional residence unit before granting the degree.
Students whose tuition is being paid for by their employer must pay careful attention to sign up for a sufficient number of residence units so that they are not caught short at the end of their studies. Most employers will only pay for residence units while students are taking classes.
Once accepted to the program, signing up for courses is carried out through telephone registration. Each student is assigned a PIN (Personal Identification Number) that is used during telephone registration. Students who have not received a PIN in the mail should contact the Registrar's Office at 207 Philosophy Hall (212) 854-4330.
Before signing up for courses, or changing their approved courses, students must get confirmation of approval via email from the Program Adviser.
Computers and Software
Students are issued computer accounts upon matriculation. Information on these accounts may be found here. A variety of statistical packages are available on workstations available to students. Please see here for more information.
The Department maintains a consulting program for the University community. Students are encouraged to take part in the program by sitting in with faculty and advanced graduate students during consulting hours, and by taking part in data analysis for clients and in the consulting workshop. Participation in the program is generally quite informal. The course is not applicable toward the degree requirement.
International students should contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) at 212-854-3587 for advice on all matters concerning their status, including full-time student status, internships, and curricular and optional practical training.
Students who are registered for one Residence Unit are eligible to apply for one year of University Housing.
Leave of Absence and Readmission
Students who must interrupt studies for compelling reasons should obtain forms for requesting a leave of absence from the Office of Student Affairs, 107 Low Library.
For a detailed description of the policy on leave of absence and readmission, please visit, respectively, the following sites:
New students must generally register in the term specified for admission. A student unable to register then, but wishing to be admitted in a subsequent semester or year, must request reactivation. They may reactivate their application by submitting a letter to the GSAS Admissions Office before the deadline for acceptance of applications for that semester. The student is then informed of the materials needed to bring the application up to date. Since a reactivated application will be reviewed in the context of a different pool, there can be no guarantee of readmission.
Petitioning for Graduation
Following completion of the degree requirements, students should contact the Statistics Department office to petition for graduation.
For more information please contact Dood Kalicharan at email@example.com