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M.Sc. Program in Statistics

An interdisciplinary program that draws faculty members from five faculties and schools across the McMaster campus and the Canada Centre for Inland Waters offers students the opportunity to specialize in:

  • Medical Statistics (biostatistics)
  • Applied Statistics
  • Statistical Theory
  • Applied Probability


B.A. or B.Sc. honours degree, B+ standing, or equivalent, with a good background in statistics and mathematics. Students with a degree in engineering, science, health sciences, or social sciences will enthusiastically be considered, provided they have a B+ average with sufficient mathematics and statistics background. Students coming from other areas may be required to take additional undergraduate courses to make up any deficiencies.

Students can earn the M.Sc. degree following one of the options below. In both options students can take up to two 600-level courses to fulfill their graduate course requirements. All Master statistics students entering the program are required to take the zero credit statistics seminar course STATS 770. In addition, the following requirements apply to students in different options:

Thesis Option

Students choosing the Thesis Option are required to complete six one-term graduate courses (consisting of either three core and three elective courses, or two core and four elective courses) and a thesis. Equivalent in work to two one-term courses, the thesis is written under the supervision of a faculty member in the program on a topic of mutual interest to the student and supervisor. The degree requirements are normally completed within 16 months (four academic terms).

Coursework Option

Students choosing the Coursework Option must complete STATS 771, which develops report-writing skills through critical written reviews of seminars. In addition, the coursework option requires completion of seven one-term graduate courses (consisting of either three core and four elective courses or two core and five elective courses). The seminar course is the research component for this option. The degree requirements are normally completed in two academic terms (i.e. Fall and Winter).

Required Courses

In the Statistics program, there are core, seminar and elective courses.

The core courses cover fundamental theoretical concepts in statistics and probability. The core courses are:

  • STATS 710: Statistical Inference
  • STATS 720: Statistical Modelling
  • STATS 782: Advanced Probability Theory

Elective courses cover a sufficient variety of topics to offer students a choice based upon their individual interests. Approved courses from other graduate programs may be taken as elective courses with permission of the program.

Medical Statistics

Students concentrating in Medical Statistics will be required to take courses in Health Research Methodology, such as:

  • HTH RS M 721 / Fundamentals of Health Research and Evaluation Methods
  • HTH RS M 730 / Introduction to Research Methods for Randomized Controlled Trials

Additional Information

Some Medical Sciences courses have prerequisites and limited enrolment, so students should contact the Health Research Methodology Program office at ext. 27718 before registering. Special topics courses are intended to be highly flexible and vary from year to year. They are usually offered in the areas of specialization of individual faculty members.

Graduate/Undergraduate Courses

Graduate students taking the following combined graduate/undergraduate courses for graduate credit will be required to do more work than undergraduates in the same class. The additional work may include a project, an essay, a class presentation, or a more difficult examination, at the discretion of the instructor. For the M.Sc. in Statistics, at most two 600-level courses may be taken for graduate credit. The following 600-level courses are available for the Statistics Program.

  • STATS 6A03 / Time Series
  • STATS 6C03 / Generalized Linear Models
  • STATS 6CI3 / Computational Methods for Inference
  • STATS 6D03 / Intermediate Probability Theory
  • STATS 6I03 / Inference
  • STATS 6M03 / Multivariate Analysis
  • STATS 6P03 / Advanced Applied Statistics

Our teaching faculty is drawn from the departments of:

A variety of elective courses is available to cater to individual interests. A major area of specialization is health and medical statistics, with theses supervised by biostatisticians from the Health Sciences Centre who are faculty members in the program. Through courses and thesis work students learn about modern methodologies and do research on current health problems. Students interested in a broader area of applied or theoretical statistics may obtain training in one or more of the following areas: environmetrics, time series analysis, stochastic models in biology, statistical methods in genetics, economics, nonlinear models, applied statistics, order statistics, reliability, analysis of censored data, the booststrap and other resampling methods, nonparametric methods, comparative inference, and quality control. Our Research Data Centre, a Statistics Canada unit at McMaster, holds large real-life data sets from longitudinal surveys that are suitable for statistical analyses for theses and other research projects. Students interested in business or industrial applications may arrange to do their thesis work off-campus. Those interested in combining statistics with financial mathematics can take courses offered by the PhiMac Group at McMaster.

Our graduates have enjoyed a remarkable success rate in finding jobs and have gone to work for Statistics Canada, Health Canada, Canadian Institute for Health Information, industry, hospital research labs, polling companies, Revenue Canada, pharmaceutical companies, banks, marketing research, among others. Others have gone to pursue Ph.D. studies and become successful researchers. We offer a Ph.D. Statistics Specialization within our Ph.D. Program in Mathematics.

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics is housed in the James Stewart Centre for Mathematics at Hamilton Hall. An award winning renovation project made this historic building the finest facilities of any Statistics Program in Canada.

MSc Statistics Degrees Awarded