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MSc in Statistics

Course Description

The MSc in Statistics at the University of Leeds is a flexible degree programme enabling students from a wide range of backgrounds to both broaden and deepen their understanding of statistics and maths. It is accredited by the Royal Statistical Society and completion of the programme will qualify students for the status of 'Graduate Statistician'- the first stage towards Chartered Statistician status.

The programme provides training in a range of statistical techniques (and transferable skills) suitable for either careers in statistics and research-related professions, or for further academic research in statistics.

Options within the course vary from mainstream topics in statistical methodology to more specialised areas and reflects specific research interests of academic staff with the department - examples include statistical shape analysis, directional data, statistical genetics and stochastic financial modelling.

The course consists of two semesters of taught modules, with the third semester devoted to a major dissertation. Within each semester there is one compulsory module. However, students tailor the course to meet their individual needs through selection of a further three modules from a variety of options. This selection means a student can specialise in biological or financial applications of statistics or retain a broad base of statistical expertise.

Why study for an MSc in Statistics?

There is a shortage of well-qualified statisticians in the UK and other countries. Numeracy, in general, is an attribute keenly sought after by employers.

The emergence of data mining and analysis means that demand for statisticians is growing across a wide range of professions - actuarial, betting and gaming industries, charitable organisations, commercial, environmental, financial, forensic and police investigation, government, market research, medical and pharmaceutical organisations. The course is designed specifically to meet this demand.

Many statistical careers require people educated to masters degree level. This course is designed to build on existing mathematical skills and deepen knowledge of statistics in order for you to access a variety of professions or pursue further research as a PhD student.

Visit the MSc in Statistics page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Laura Mandefield

5023.jpg Why did you decide to do an MSc?

I did a teaching qualification after my undergrad but decided it wasn’t the right career for me so it’s taken me a while to figure out what I wanted to do. I knew I was strong in statistics so started researching the different courses available. I chose Leeds because it’s accredited by the Royal Statistical Society which means if you get the qualification you become a graduate statistician and can go on to get a chartered statistician qualification.

Which modules in particular appealed to you?

In general I thought the courses sounded quite flexible because you can just study general statistics or take more of a financial or medical statistics route. I thought this would be good as I wanted to keep my options open. In my first semester I did quite general modules and then in second semester I focused more on medical statistics. I did a module called Introduction to Clinical Trials which was jointly taught by the School of Mathematics and the Clinical Trials Unit. We also had a module which introduced us to how to write our dissertations which was really helpful.

Has the course lived up to your expectations?

Yes it’s been really good to have such a diverse range of modules to choose from and the support from the staff has been really good. All the lecturers have office hours so you can go and ask them for help or you can email them and they tend to get back to you quickly and all the other students on my course have been really friendly.

Do you spend much time with the people on your course?

We’ve set up a study group which has been really helpful because when I started I was a bit unsure of my ability because my background isn’t in maths it’s in biology, but having course friends who support one another has been really useful. For our study group we often book out a room in the library to discuss any problems we were having with the work that we're doing, and we've met in the hidden cafe as well. There are loads of different spaces you can use. I find the study group really useful because often you just want to sit somewhere and discuss because in Maths we have lots of problems to work through, so it's good to sit with other people and just discuss them.

(Student Profile)

Sukanya Bhandary

5027.jpg Why did you choose the University of Leeds?

I really liked the course structure for MSc Statistics here, it isn’t just theoretical but also practical which means that it helps you in the corporate world when you go into a job. It had a lot of practical work which helps to understand how the theoretical work is put into practise. So I like the course structure, it was very interesting.

Where did you do your undergraduate degree?

I am from India and I did my undergraduate degree in Calcutta. So, it was my first time living in the UK.

And how did you find it living here?

Really nice, the people are very helpful and the teachers are very friendly. It’s been a good experience. I have also made some good friends here, we went out together and went to parties, we had get-togethers and so yes it was really fun. So yes I will miss the University when I leave.

How did you find the facilities?

They were very different to India. I’ve never had so much available, like printing and the library. The library is such a plus point because the University of Calcutta doesn’t have such a good library as here. Whatever books you need, you can find them here.

What are your plans for the future?

Well I have a job in Edinburgh which is due to start in January. The role is as a Credit-Risk Analyst in the Royal Bank of Scotland. Doing this Masters really helped with getting the job a lot because in the interview they asked me about technical questions and it was very easy to understand because of the practical element here. So, I am planning to re-locate to Edinburgh and I have already found somewhere to live. So I just need to sort my visa out now.

Would you recommend the course to others?

Yes, surely. I enjoyed the topics such as Risk Management and Stochastic Modelling because they are really useful in real-life. The other universities I looked at didn’t offer this practical element.

(Student Profile)

James Bertschy

5028.jpg Why did you came to England?

I am from Lucerne in Switzerland. Originally I studied Business and Economics and I did my MSc in Switzerland and then I worked three years for a market research company as a Statistician. My interest was always in statistics. I always wanted to go to England because my Mum is originally from England and also to improve my English.

Why Leeds?

So I looked around at several universities and Leeds was one of my favourites as they had modules in statistics and also in finance. There is a wide variety of module choice which I like, so you can pick the modules which you like. We use the statistics programme R which has become more and more popular in work and the working environment. Also I like hiking as well and so it is a nice area to go hiking in.

So how are you finding the study? Is it more work than you thought it would be?

It’s definitely more work than I thought it would be, yes. When I studied statistics during my undergrad it was more like you had to test a hypothesis and then interpret it. Here it is more like pure maths and it goes more into the detail. It’s not really about what you want to interpret but it’s more about the methodology and the meaning behind it. So, it’s really pure maths which is so useful to me.

So how does it compare to your undergraduate degree?

Well, the lectures are quite different. They use whiteboards and we have to write things down very quickly which was a bit difficult at first as I hadn’t done that for a while. The Masters is quite intense because you do everything in one year. It’s quite different and at the beginning it was difficult to understand the statistical language in English.

What would you say to other students thinking of coming to Leeds University?

It was definitely the right decision for me to come here. I guess my English has improved and my knowledge in statistics has never been better. I can recommend study abroad to everyone as a way of getting to know other cultures. And I hope I'll meet my newly made friends again one day.

(Student Profile)

Claire Keeble

5030.jpg What made you choose to do a Masters?

I really enjoyed studying at undergraduate level and so I decided to stay on and do a Masters with the intention of doing a PhD. I felt like I hadn’t finished my learning and had a desire to learn more. I would like a job in research eventually and so this is the route to take.

How are you finding a Masters compared to undergraduate degree?

The Masters is very similar to the final year of the undergraduate degree. In fact, you can take lots of the modules at either undergraduate or Masters level, so there is an overlap between them. The teaching has felt very much the same but there is a bit more independent work in your Masters.

What are you going to be studying at PhD?

I am going to be studying part statistics and part epidemiology with the School of Medicine. My Masters now is taking some modules from the MSc Statisical Epidemiology course, partly because I have done some of the MSc Statistics modules last year and partly in preparation for next year.

How have you found the teaching?

Brilliant. All the lecturers are really friendly and the notes they give in lectures are adequate so you don’t need to do any outside reading. They are all approachable, so if you are stuck on anything you feel that you can ask them for help. So yes I am very happy with the teaching.

What is it that makes you passionate about the subject you study?

I find it interesting. The Maths itself is useful but I personally find the applications to it most interesting, because you can see how it is being used in the real world. I like to see how it can make changes in other areas like medicine or business.

How about social activities, have you been involved in anything?

I have joined the gym and attended dance classes, which were fun. It was street dance and I hadn’t done anything like that before.

What would you say to other students thinking of coming to Leeds University?

Prepare for your course if you can. If there’s anything that you have not studied previously then have a quick look at that before you arrive to ensure it's right for you. That’s pretty much it as you are guided through everything else, it’s all very well set out.


Dean's Excellence Scholarship - 10 Awards

These awards are competitive, based on high achievement.

Value of Scholarship(s)



There are up to 10 partial-fee scholarships available worth £3,000 each. These awards are open to international candidates who have been accepted for admission onto a full-time MSc programme in the School, and who are eligible to pay tuition fees at the full international rate.

Application Procedure

Eligible applicants will automatically be considered for these awards at the time of application, so are not required to complete an application form.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

BSc (or equivalent) in a subject containing a substantial mathematical or statistical component, at 2:1 or higher

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