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FAQs for Prospective Students

Q: What questions can the department help me answer?

A: Check with the graduate program for questions about:

  • Letters of recommendation

  • The application requirements, including deadlines (see below)

  • Status of your application’s review 

    • All decisions will be made by April 15th

  • All decisions will be sent to the e-mail address listed on your application

    • Please notify the department of e-mail address changes and update your wolverine access profile. 

  • The department is open M-F from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. Currently, staff are working remotely due to the global pandemic. Email is the best way to reach us.
    Applied Statistics: masprogram@umich.edu
    Data Science: mdsprogram@umich.edu

Q: What questions can Rackham help you with? 

A: Rackham Admissions (rackadmis@umich.edu) can help with questions about:

  • Official transcripts

  • English language proficiency and minimum requirements for non-native speakers of English

  • University of Michigan ID number (UMID)

  • Paying your application fee or fee waivers

  • Friend Account questions, locked accounts

  • Incorrect information on your application record

  • Missing test scores

  • Immigration documents

GRE and GPA

Q: Is the GRE required for this program?

A: The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required to apply for admission for Fall 2021, due to testing difficulties caused by COVID-19.  Students who have taken GRE may send in their score if they wish.  If a GRE score is submitted, it will be considered as one part of a holistic evaluation of the application. 

Dates and places to take the examination may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service by creating a GRE account.  The University of Michigan code for the GRE is 1839.  The GRE scores are automatically added to applicant records as long as name and birth date can be matched.  Applicants must request that their scores be sent to the University of Michigan using the code above, on the GRE website

Q: Is there a minimum GPA required to apply, and what are my chances of being admitted if I have a low GPA?

A: No. All applications are reviewed and evaluated relative to other applications submitted in the same year. Grades in relevant courses (math, stats, computer science, etc.) are much more relevant than the overall GPA. We do not track GPA averages of applicants. Applicants with relatively low GPAs may be admitted based on other factors.

 

Academic Background

Q: How long is the program?

A: Most students will finish the program in 2 years.

Q: Do you accept transfer credit?

A: Please refer to the Rackham Graduate School Academic Policies for rules about transfer of credit into the Master's degree program.

Applied Statistics

Q: If my undergraduate major was not in Statistics, what are my chances of being admitted to the Applied Master’s program in Statistics?

A: Applicants from various academic backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to apply. Applicants who have not completed an undergraduate major in statistics will not be penalized, but may need to enroll in some extra classes before taking the core courses necessary for a Master’s degree.

Q: What are the prerequisites needed to apply to the Applied Master’s program?

A: It is strongly recommended that prospective students have a good background in calculus and linear algebra and have taken at least one course each in probability and in theoretical statistics. 

Data Science

Q: Does my undergraduate degree have to be in data science?

A: No. However, most successful applicants are expected to have a degree in data science, computer science, information, engineering, physics, statistics or mathematics. Your application should demonstrate that you have sufficient preparation to succeed in the required courses for the degree program.

Q: What are the prerequisites needed to apply to the Data Science Master’s program?

A: Our diverse community of graduate students comes from many different countries and many undergraduate majors, including statistics, mathematics, computer science, physics, engineering, information, and data science. While a Data Science undergraduate major is not required, it is expected that applicants will have at least the following background before they join: 2 semesters of college calculus, 1 semester of linear or matrix algebra, and 1 introduction to computing course.

Q: Is there also a Ph.D. program in Data Science?

A: No. If you decide to continue for a PhD, you would do so by applying to a disciplinary program with one of the four sponsoring units, or others.

Admissions Process

Q: For what terms are master’s students admitted to the Department of Statistics (Applied Statistics and/or Data Science)?

A: Master’s students are admitted for Fall only.

Q: What is the deadline to apply for admission?

A: The deadline for admission is February 1st. More information is on the How to Apply section of our website.

 

SUBMITTED MATERIALS

Q: May I complete a paper application?

A: All applications must be submitted online.

Q: What should I do if my recommender has not received my online invitation to recommend me?

A: This tends to be a problem with a recommender's email account set up. The emailed invitation is either blocked or automatically filtered into a junk mail folder. An applicant can check the status of their recommendations, resend a recommendation request, and even change a recommender if the recommendation is not yet started via an applicant's Personal Activity page. This page may be accessed under the Manage Your Account section of your online application homepage and by clicking on the Review Your Activity link. Once the application is submitted, the online application cannot be modified. Please refer to the application instructions for more details.

Q: Is it possible for me to update my application after it has been submitted?

A: No, this is not possible. You should include all relevant information in your application before you submit it. We cannot revise materials via email.

The only exceptions are new GRE and/or TOEFL scores. If you retake a test after you submit the application, but before a final decision is communicated to you, have the official score(s) reported to the University. However, due to the review timeline and the large number of applications, it is not guaranteed that new test scores will be included in an application before it is reviewed.

Q: Can you waive or defer the application fee?

Unfortunately, the program is unable to waive or defer the fee. The application fee is determined by the graduate school. Please see Rackham for information on their need-based waiver

Q: Who should write my recommendation letters?

A: Your letter writers should be people with whom you have worked closely, and who are familiar with your work. 

Q: I have been in the workforce for several years. Should I ask my employer or supervisors to write letters in support of my application?

A: Yes. We are most concerned with reading letters from individuals who can speak to your skills and abilities as relevant to the program. This can be from a supervisor, project lead, or anyone else who has overseen you in a professional capacity.

Q: Must all of the letters of recommendations be academic?

A: No, but the majority should be academic.

Q: Which documents or standardized tests are required for application?

A: (MDS) Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency.  No other standardized test scores are required. However, if you do submit GRE scores, they will be considered. For more information on testing see: https://rackham.umich.edu/admissions/applying/tests/ We require official transcripts from undergraduate and any other graduate degree programs and two letters of recommendation. Please follow the application instructions carefully.

A: (Applied Statistics) The GRE is required. Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency.We require official transcripts from undergraduate and any other graduate degree programs and two letters of recommendation. We also require TOEFL scores for most international students. Please follow the application instructions carefully. 

Q: Can my materials be returned to me?

A: Sorry, no. We are unable to return or forward any submitted documents.

Transcripts:

Q: Do I send Official Transcripts to the Department?

A: No, unofficial transcripts or scanned copies of official transcripts should be uploaded with the application online and not sent directly to the department. Official transcripts from degree-granting institutions only should be mailed directly to Rackham Admissions; see Instructions for Submitting Transcripts. Use the Academic Records/Transcript Submission Form to submit your official transcript so that it is quickly associated with your application. Be sure to include your University of Michigan ID number on all documents. If there is anything you wish to explain about your transcript, please do so in the Statement of Purpose.

Q: Do I send official transcripts with my application?

A: Official transcripts must be mailed/sent directly to Rackham Admissions from your previous institution(s) at the time of see Instructions for Submitting Transcripts. Use the Academic Records/Transcript Submission Form to submit your official transcript so that it is quickly associated with your application. Be sure to include your University of Michigan ID number on all documents. If there is anything you wish to explain about your transcript, please do so in the Statement of Purpose.application and received before the application deadline. 

 

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY TEST

Q: Do I need to take the TOEFL?

A: Non-native speakers have to take the TOEFL or IELTS unless English was the official language of instruction at the institution where they received their undergraduate degree. Applicants can qualify for an exemption from taking an English proficiency examination if one of the following criteria are met:

  • You are a native speaker of English.

  • You completed all four years of your undergraduate education at an institution in the United States and earned a degree from that institution.

  • You completed all of your undergraduate education and earned an undergraduate degree in one of the following countries, Australia, English speaking Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.

  • You completed all of your undergraduate education and earned an undergraduate degree at an institution where all classes are taught exclusively in English.

  • You completed all of your graduate education, a minimum of two years duration, and earned a graduate degree in one of the following countries, the United States, Australia, English speaking Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the United Kingdom. Graduate education includes Master's, Ph.D., and professional degrees. Graduate degrees that are exclusively research based are excluded.

  • Current U-M student. 

Q: How long are TOEFL scores valid?

A: TOEFL scores are valid for 2 years. We accept TOEFL scores expiring in late fall or early winter as long as the official report from ETS is received before the deadline.

Q: What is the minimum TOEFL score required?

A: The minimum TOEFL total score required is 84 on the Internet based test.

For more information, see Required Tests for Non-native English Speakers on the Rackham Website.

Q: My TOEFL score is below the minimum, but I have other evidence of English proficiency.  Will my application be considered?

A: The only acceptable evidence of English proficiency is a score on a University-approved English test, see Required Tests for Non-native English Speakers on the Rackham Website. If your score is below the minimum required by the University, your application will be automatically rejected. The department cannot waive this requirement.

Q: What is the institution code for the TOEFL?

A: The institution code for the TOEFL is 1839.

Q: Can the TOEFL be waived in certain cases for non-native English speakers?

A: Yes; please refer to these Rackham guidelines.

 

General Admissions Questions

Q: Is there a minimum GPA required to apply, and what are my chances of being admitted if I have a low GPA?

A: No. All applications are reviewed and evaluated relative to other applications submitted in the same year. Applicants with relatively low GPAs may be admitted based on other factors (e.g. GRE scores, research accomplishments, etc). Also, grades in relevant courses (math, stats, computer science, etc.) are much more relevant than the overall GPA.

Q: When will I receive my decision notification?

A: The faculty make admission offers in March or April. You will be notified by letter or email as soon as decision has been reached.

Q: How can I stay informed about the status of my application?

A: There is an online process for checking application status through the Rackham Graduate School. However, this will only indicate whether a decision has been made.

Q: Can my friend/relative call and find out my status for me?

A: If you would like to give someone permission to contact us on your behalf, you must indicate this on your application before you submit it.

Q: Can I defer my admission?

A: Deferral requests are reviewed and approved by the Admissions Committee. An admitted student may make a written request to defer admission for one year to the Data Science program office. International students must first submit financial support documentation to the Rackham Graduate School before the deferral request can be considered. Please be aware that deferrals are for admission status only; financial aid offers may not be deferred. The process for requesting deferrals is subject to change based on current situations (i.e. a global pandemic).

Q: How can I unlock my U of M Friend Account?

A: Only Rackham Admissions can unlock a Friend Account. Please send an email to rackadmis@umich.edu indicating that your Friend Account is locked. The email should include your name, UMID, and email registered in the Friend Account.

Q: Whom can I contact if I have a specific question?

A: (Data Science) If you have a specific question that is not answered here, please contact the Data Science Graduate Program office via email at MDSProgram@umich.edu.

A: (Applied Statistics) If you have a specific question that is not answered here, please contact the Applied Statistics Graduate Program office via email at masprogram@umich.edu

 

Financial Aid

Q: What is the cost of tuition and fees? 

A: Current tuition and fee information can be found here. More information about cost of attendance is on the Rackham Graduate School's website.

Q: What types of financial aid or funding does the Department of Statistics offer to Master’s students?

A: We offer a small number of guaranteed Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) positions to Master’s students at the time of admission (about 2 per year). These positions provide a stipend, a tuition waiver, and health insurance. A few additional GSI positions may become available to Master’s students in late August, and additional offers of aid on a term-by-term basis may be made. 

Q: Is there any financial aid or scholarships available for international students?

A: A very small number of international students may be nominated for an English course ELI 994 that makes them eligible for a GSI position in the second year. Completing the course does not guarantee that such a position will become available. All students must come prepared to cover all expenses for the entire course of study as receiving financial aid is very unlikely.

Q: Is there a separate application to complete to be considered for financial aid?

A: There is no separate financial aid application for department funding. All eligible applicants are considered for financial aid (see more on eligibility above). Students may be eligible for FAFSA funding; this is outside of the department and does require an additional application.

Q: If I plan to pay for the cost of completing the Master’s program myself, what is the estimated cost for tuition, books, and living expenses?

A: Cost of attendance estimates can be found here.

 

Program Statistics

Q: How many students are admitted to the Applied Master’s program each year?

A: Both the number of applicants and the size of the entering class have increased over the past few years. In recent years we made well over 100 offers of admissions and around 70 students came to our program each year.   

Q: What is the proportion of international students in the Applied Master’s program?

A: About 75% of the students in this program are international.

 

Program Format

Q: Can I enroll part time in the program?

A: This is possible, and some of our current master’s students attend classes and work. Your course plan would need to be fully discussed with the program advisor to make sure you are enrolling in the correct courses needed to make progress towards your degree. Part-time study is typically not available to international students on F-1 visas.

Q: Do you have evening programs?

A: Only some classes are offered in the evening. It is not possible to complete the program taking only evening courses.

 

Employment

Q: How can I find an internship/job? 

A: Students may visit umjobs.org and student jobs and search for jobs. They can begin employment once they are a student; new students must wait until Fall term begins to begin employment. Plus, there are a variety of career resources on campus and offered in the department for students. We do not guarantee internship/employment, but provide many opportunities for engaging with potential employers.

Q: Where do graduates of the program find employment?

A: Our graduates find employment across various sectors - please see this page for more information.

Applied Statistics

Q: What can I do with a Master’s in Applied Statistics Degree?

A: Our graduates find jobs in government, insurance, banking, finance, medical research institutions, pharmaceutical industry, and others. Some go on to Ph.D. programs in statistics or other subjects, such as biostatistics or economics. Here are some sample job titles of recent graduates:

  •    Data Scientist

  •    Financial Analyst

  •    Market Researcher

  •    Reliability Engineer

  •    Research Scientist

  •    Statistical Consultant

  •    Statistical Research Analyst

  •    Technical Analyst

Q: I am interested in going into finance and would like to have a better understanding of statistics. Would the Applied Master’s program be an appropriate degree?

A: We have had Applied Masters alumni find careers in finance.  Some recent examples of finance jobs our graduates started upon completing the degree:

  •    Quantitative Research and Trading at Worldco, LLC

  •    Financial Analyst at the Quantitative Strategies Group of Goldman Sachs

  •    Quantitative Operations Manager at Bank of America

  •    FX Options Trader – Associate at Bank of America

  •    Credit Risk Analyst at Household Credit Services