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In Demand: Grads with MS Statistics Degree and Data Science Grad Certificate

Combination degree and certificate designed to prepare students for data-driven careers

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For students looking to launch data-driven careers across business and industry, health and medicine, government and law, or policy and advocacy, American University offers an innovative combination MS degree in Statistics + Graduate Certificate in Data Science. 

While students work toward their Master of Science degree in Statistics, they can simultaneously earn a graduate certificate in Data Science. When they graduate, they are uniquely prepared for leadership roles in the development, research, and analysis of quantitative tools to turn ideas into intelligent, informed actions.

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In Demand: Job Opportunities and Career Paths

Six months after earning an MS degree in Statistics, a full 100 percent of American University graduates are employed, in grad school, or both. This is not surprising: No matter the industry, every organization must be in the data business, and Statistics and Data Science specialists are highly in demand across fields. According to US News and World Report, Information Security Analyst is the number one Best Career of 2022. Data Scientist comes in at sixth best career, and Statistician comes in at eighth.  

“With Statistician being a top business job, and Data Scientist a top technology job, the combined training in Statistics and Data Science opens unique opportunities across diverse fields,” says Michael Baron, professor and chair of AU’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “There is a growing demand for advanced professionals in these fields, according to a recent Hanover Research report. Having built the Data Science core within their MS degree study plan in Statistics, our graduates become such professionals.”  

American University’s Statistics program trains students to perform as not just data users, but inventors and developers, says Baron. “During the program, our students learn modern statistical methods, how to choose them, compare and optimize their performance for the given data, derive the best statistical techniques for standard and non-standard situations, understand their practical limitations, detect potential problems, and elaborate remedies. This level of skills is highly desired in economics, business, marketing, engineering, epidemiology, public health, pharmacology, environmental protection, national defense, and many other fields.” 

The ways that graduates can use their degrees are vast, from drug development and software design, to DNA analysis and manufacturing quality control, to the study of chemical pesticides and crop management, and so much more.  

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Studying Statistics in the Nation’s Capital

AU’s Department of Math and Statistics is well known for its rigorous training in statistical theory, methods, and applications; small classes and low students to faculty ratio; and individual attention and individualized degree plans according to each student’s career goals.  

American University’s location in the nation’s capital also offers students many opportunities to gain practical experience, including research, consulting, and internship opportunities under faculty guidance. AU math and stats faculty have deep ties to governmental agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

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Requirements and More Information

The Statistics MS offers two tracks of study: Theory and Methods and Biostatistics. Each can be combined with the Graduate Certificate in Data Science. The Biostatistics track provides solid training in statistics with biostatistics and biology components. The Theory and Methods track provides rigorous training in statistics that is expected for MS-level jobs and applications for PhD programs. 

The MS degree with the graduate certificate in Data Science requires 30 credit hours of graduate coursework including: 

  • Mathematical Statistics
  • Regression
  • Statistical Machine Learning
  • Statistical Programming in R
  • Data Science
  • Research / Consulting / Internship experience

“Our undergraduate students advancing to the MS degree in Statistics can share up to nine approved graduate credit hours between the BS and MS degrees in a combined BS-MS program,” Baron explains. “With proper planning during their junior and senior years, most BS-MS students complete 21 remaining credit hours within the following year and earn the MS degree in Statistics just one year after their BS degree.” 

For more information, visit the website of AU’s Math and Statistics Department or contact Statistics Program Director Jun Lu at