Department of Statistics Unitmark
Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

Please read the following Frequently Asked Questions prior to contacting the department.

Who Should Apply?

Anyone who wants to work in the exciting field of data analytics and meets the prerequisites.

Prerequisites for the Program

  • Two semesters of calculus based probability and mathematical statistics
  • Topics should include: random variables, distribution functions, joint and conditional distributions, functions of random variables & their probability distributions; maximum likelihood estimation, properties of estimators, hypothesis testing, interval estimation.

    Typical Textbook: Mathematical Statistics with Applications - Wackerly, et al. or equivalent

    CMU classes are: 36-225 and 36-226

  • One course in linear regression analysis
  • Topics should include: exploratory data analysis, linear regression models, validation and interpretation of models

    Typical Textbook: Applied Linear Regression Models - Kutner, et al. or equivalent. A good Econometrics course is an acceptable substitute.

    CMU classes are: 36-401

  • One course in matrix algebra

What are the costs for the program?

The tuition for the MSP program in 2021-2022 is $51,010 per year. Approximate fees per semester are $900. The average cost of rent per month is $1,000 for a 1 bedroom apartment.

Which courses are part of the core curriculum and which vary from year to year?

The following courses are core curriculum requirements of the MSP program:

  • 36-601: "Perspectives in Data Science I" [Fall]
  • 36-602: "Perspectives in Data Science II"[Spring]
  • 36-611: "Professional Skills for Statisticians I" [Fall]
  • 36-612: "Professional Skills for Statisticians II" [Spring]
  • 36-617: "Applied Linear Models" [Fall]
  • 36-618: "Time Series & Experimental Design" [Spring]
  • 36-650: "Statistical Computing" [Fall]
  • 36-726: "Statistical Practice" [Spring]

In addition to the core curriculum requirements, students must complete an elective course in both the Fall and Spring semesters. Electives are offered on a rotating basis; some past topics include:

  • 36-652: "Statistical Computing II"
  • 36-661: "Statistical Methods in Epidemiology"
  • 36-662: "Data Mining"
  • 36-663: "Multilevel and Hierarchical Models"
  • 36-664: "Applied Multivariate Methods"
  • 36-666: "Statistical Methods in Finance"
  • 36-667: "Data over Space & Time"

Can I take classes outside of the Department of Statistics & Data Science?

MSP students are typically not permitted to take courses outside of the Department of Statistics & Data Science. Normally, all the MSP students take core requirements together as a cohort. Electives are offered on a rotating basis. Alternative courses within the Department of Statistics & Data Science may be allowed as a substitute should a comparable course of study already have been successfully completed prior to entry into the MSP program — any substitutions are considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the Department of Statistics & Data Science.

Do you offer financial aid?

We do not offer a financial aid package for the MSP program. Subject to eligibility and qualifications, MSP students will receive the offer to work as an educational assistant or teaching assistant in the Department of Statistics & Data Science. MSP students receive a stipend for their role as an educational assistant or a teaching assistant.

How much is the application fee?

The application fee for the MSP program is $60 from October 1st, 2021 through November 5th, 2021, and $75 from November 6th, 2021 through January 14th, 2022. The application deadline is Friday, January 14th, 2022 at 11:59 pm EST.

What if I have questions about the application fees or the application payment method?

Please email if you have any questions or concerns about the application fees or the application payment method. The online application system accepts payments via credit card only. Please be advised that we do not accept cash.

What is the minimum acceptable TOEFL score?

All non-native English speakers are required to submit valid TOEFL scores. A desirable total TOEFL score is 105 or higher. Speaking TOEFL scores should be at least 26.

Institution Code: 2074

Department Code: 59

What if I am a non-native English speaker and I attended a University in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, or Australia?

If you have attended an undergraduate institution in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, or Australia we will accept an official copy of your expired TOEFL scores. IELTS is also acceptable. Applications without TOEFL (or IELTS) will not be considered. If your submitted TOEFL is expired, some documentation of your current English language fluency is required. For example, comments about your English language fluency can be discussed in a letter of recommendation from a professor or from an ESL instructor.

How long are TOEFL scores valid?

TOEFL scores are valid for 2 years from the date of the exam.

What is the department code for TOEFL scores?

Institution Code: 2074

Department Code: 59

Is a GRE score required?

We do not require a GRE score with your application submission. We are interested in the student's entire application package, including course work, experience, and recommendations; however, you are welcome to submit a score at your discretion. Should you choose to include a GRE score with your application, our institution and department codes are as follows:

Institution Code: 2074

Department Code: 0705

How many letters of recommendation do I need to submit?

Three, at least two of which should be faculty recommendations.

Will you review my application if it is incomplete?

Incomplete applications will not be eligible for review by the admissions committee.

What if information is received after the deadline?

The application deadline is Friday, January 14th, 2022 at 11:59 pm EST. We will not accept submissions after this deadline. We also do not accept paper submissions or paper supplemental materials.

How many applicants do you typically admit?

The number of admitted applicants varies by years based on applications received and capacity available. Over the prior three years, we have admitted on average between 10% and 15% of program applicants.

How does the MSP prepare students for the job search?

Students are prepared for the job market through a plethora of outlets interwoven throughout the MSP program including, but not limited to, the following: The curriculum specifically focuses upon the computing skills, statistical application/theory, & professional skills necessary to be successful in data science and statistical consulting positions. We review and help edit students' résumés, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, etc., and practice the skills necessary to perform well in both technical and behavioral interviews. Additionally, the MSP frequently pairs with the CMU Career & Professional Development Center (CPDC) and the Global Communication Center (GCC) to complement, amplify, and practice communication skills throughout the program. Guest speakers, company recruiters, & current professionals across industry verticals are often invited to discuss the day-to-day experiences and insights of active data scientists and statistical consultants. The MSP also fosters an alumni network and an internal job/internship board where opportunities are shared among and across cohorts.

How quickly do students get full-time positions after the MSP program?

Every year, approximately >90% of students land a job within the field of statistics & data science or matriculate into a Ph.D. program within 90 days of graduation. Recent surveys by the Carnegie Mellon University Career and Professional Development Center show the wide variety of offers our students receive upon graduation; you can view currently reported outcomes here.

What's next?