Masters Program

The program described below is for students beginning prior to fall 2016. The current set of requirements is available in the Graduate Student Handbook.

Students with a Master’s degree from UNL find success in a variety of fields, from working as a data analyst with a large financial organization to serving as a statistical consultant in pharmaceutical testing.

During the two years as an M.S. student in the Department, students will be exposed to the core ideas of statistics and gain expertise in statistical applications from agriculture, biological, environmental, and social science. Students here learn more than just the theory – all of our students work with real data through in-class projects, serving as a student consultant, and in most cases the completion of a master’s thesis or project.

Deadlines for Current MS Students

  • Memorandum of courses: You should complete a memorandum of courses, and submit it to Graduate Studies before the end of your first year of study. Your M.S. committee must approve your memorandum, and any changes must be approved by your advisor.
  • Graduation application: Students must apply for graduation at the start of the semester.
    • December  graduates: September 26
  • Final examination report: You should turn in a final examination report approved by their advisor at least 6 weeks before the end of their graduation semester. This includes any oral examination and results from your comprehensive exam.
    • December  graduates: November 6

All necessary forms and deadlines are on the Graduate Studies homepage.
Exact deadlines will change from semester to semester.

Comprehensive Exam

The Comprehensive Exam is offered in August and January. Students will be expected to have a deep knowledge of material from the M.S. core classes (802, 882, 883, 970), and to be able to combine concepts to solve new problems.

The Comprehensive Exam takes place over two days. The first day is closed-book, and typically focuses on more theoretical material. The second day is open-book, and typically has an applied orientation. Students can receive one of three grades: High Pass, Pass, and Fail. Students must earn at least a Pass to satisfy the requirements for their M.S. degree, and a High Pass qualifies students to continue on to the PhD program.

Download the practice exam.

Download sample comprehensive exam questions

Download previous exams



All Statistics M.S. students complete the following course sequence:

Students also develop strong statistical computing skills (usually in SAS or R), gain consulting experience by working at the Statistics Help Desk, and gain significant exposure to a discipline outside of statistics. These requirements help to develop statistical skills and personal skills like communication and critical thinking.

Students are encouraged to pursue and grow their statistical interests by taking a variety of methods courses such as regression analysis, categorical data analysis, nonparametric methods, survey and sampling design, statistical ecology, bioinformatics, and computational biology. Students also have the option to choose statistically-related electives from other departments to get even more experience in a certain subject area. We’re looking for applicants who want to take the challenge of joining the next generation of statisticians!

MS Minor in Statistics

Students from other departments who wish to complete an MS Minor in Statistics have to:

  1. Earn 9 hours of 800/900 level statistics credit. At least 6 of these credits must be from courses other than STAT 801/880.
  2. Have a Statistics Faculty Member serve on your Graduate Committee.
  3. Complete any other requirements as determined by your Graduate Committee.