About the course
The MSc in Statistical Science is a twelve-month full-time taught master’s degree running from October to September each academic year. The MSc has a particular focus on modern computationally-intensive theory and methods.
The MSc in Statistical Science will aim to train you to solve real-world statistical problems. When completing the course you should be able to choose an appropriate statistical method to solve a given problem of data analysis, implement the analysis on a computer and communicate your results clearly and succinctly.
The MSc offers a broad high-level training in applied and computational statistics, statistical machine learning, and the fundamental principles of statistical inference. Training is delivered through mathematically demanding lectures and problems classes, hands-on practical sessions in the computer laboratory, report writing and dissertation supervision. You will have around three months to work on your dissertation with guidance from your supervisor, offering you a substantial opportunity for self-directed study and research.
Students take a mixture of core courses and optional courses. The core courses are compulsory and involve practical components that students must complete.
The core and option modules may vary from year to year, and the lists below may provide an idea of a typical offering.
The core courses available for entry in 2021-22 were:
- Applied Statistics
- Foundations of Statistical Inference
- Statistical Programming
- Computational Statistics
- Statistical Machine Learning.
The option modules available for 2021-22 entry were:
- Stochastic Models in Mathematical Genetics
- Probability and Statistics for Network Analysis
- Graphical Models
- Algorithmic Foundations of Learning
- Advanced Topics in Statistical Machine Learning
- Advanced Simulation Methods.
Please note that the modules listed may not be the same for 2022-23 entry.
Pattern of learning and teaching
You will attend nine units worth of courses (with one unit corresponding to a 16-hour lecture course or equivalent) in addition to writing a dissertation. Depending on how the courses you take split between terms, you can expect to attend four or five (or, in exceptional cases, three or six) courses per term. Most courses have two one hour lectures per week supplemented by four classes per term, though for some courses there are associated practical sessions instead of, or in addition to, lectures or classes. The remainder of your study time in Michaelmas, Hilary and most of Trinity Term should be spent on self-study, consolidating on the material covered in lectures, working through the assignments set for each class and working on practical assignments. Students are expected to write reports on practical assignments during part of the Christmas and Easter vacations, as well as revising the material covered the previous term.
The MSc offers a substantial opportunity for independent study and research in the form of a dissertation. The main period for dissertation work is June to September (though you may do some preparatory work for your dissertation earlier in the year) and during this time students should expect to work hours that are equivalent to full-time working hours, although extra hours may occasionally be needed.
The dissertation is undertaken under the guidance of a supervisor and will typically involve investigating and writing in a particular area of statistical science, without the requirement (while not excluding the possibility) of obtaining original results. A dissertation gives students the opportunity to develop broader transferable skills in the processes of organising, communicating, and presenting their work, and will equip students well for further research or for a wide variety of other careers.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department of Statistics and it is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. Under exceptional circumstances, a supervisor may be found outside the Department of Statistics.
You will be assessed on your performance in a number of written examinations in May/June, through your work in the assessed practical coursework set during the year, and by the quality and depth of your dissertation (done mostly over the period June to early September).
Graduates of the MSc find employment in financial, economic, governmental, scientific and industrial areas. The MSc can also be a useful stepping stone for doctoral studies, with around a third of students on the course taking this route.
Changes to this course and your supervision
The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic (including Covid-19), epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.
Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
Other courses you may wish to consider
If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.
Entry requirements for entry in 2022-23
Proven and potential academic excellence
As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications:
- a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in a degree course with advanced mathematical and statistical content.
However, entrance to the course is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.
If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.
GRE General Test scores
No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.
Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience
Publications are not required.
English language proficiency
This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.
|Test||Minimum overall score||Minimum score per component|
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)||7.5||7.0|
TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'
(Institution code: 0490)
*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
†Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)
Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides further information about the English language test requirement.
Declaring extenuating circumstances
If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including references and an official transcript. See 'How to apply' for instructions on the documents you will need and how these will be assessed.
Performance at interview
Interviews are not normally held as part of the admissions process.
When held, interviews may be in person or online, normally with two interviewers. Interviews are used only when the department needs to gather more information to fully assess an application before deciding whether to make an offer of a place.
Any offer of a place is dependent on the University’s ability to provide the appropriate supervision for your chosen area of work. Please refer to the ‘About’ section of this page for more information about the provision of supervision for this course.
How your application is assessed
Your application will be assessed purely on academic merit and potential, according to the published entry requirements for the course. The After you apply section of this website provides further information about the academic assessment of your application, including the potential outcomes. Please note that any offer of a place may be subject to academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions may vary depending upon your individual academic circumstances.
Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:
- Socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot on selection procedures and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
- Country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
- Protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.
Admissions panels and assessors
All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).
Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.
After an offer is made
If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer letter will give full details of your offer and any academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will be required to meet the following requirements:
If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.
Disclosure of criminal convictions
In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.
The department occupies a building in the centre of Oxford.
The principal computing resource for the MSc in Statistical Science is the IT teaching suite. You will be able to use this to run software packages such as R, MATLAB and Python, as well as to prepare documents and reports. The IT suite provides students with an excellent environment for training in computational statistics and statistical programming, as well as being a quiet place to work outside lectures. The building has other spaces for study and collaborative learning, including a library and a large interaction and social area.
You will also have access to a number of University libraries, and the centrally provided electronic resources.
The University expects to be able to offer around 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2022-23. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant December or January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential.
For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources.
Please ensure that you visit individual college websites for details of any college-specific funding opportunities using the links provided on our college pages or below:
Please note that not all the colleges listed above may accept students on this course. For details of those which do, please refer to the College preference section of this page.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.
Annual fees for entry in 2022-23
Annual Course fees
Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on changes to fees and charges.
Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.
There are no compulsory elements of this course that entail additional costs beyond fees and living costs. However, as part of your course requirements, you may need to choose a dissertation, a project or a thesis topic. Please note that, depending on your choice of topic and the research required to complete it, you may incur additional expenses, such as travel expenses, research expenses, and field trips. You will need to meet these additional costs, although you may be able to apply for small grants from your department and/or college to help you cover some of these expenses.
In addition to your course fees, you will need to ensure that you have adequate funds to support your living costs for the duration of your course.
For the 2022-23 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,215 and £1,755 for each month spent in Oxford. Full information, including a breakdown of likely living costs in Oxford for items such as food, accommodation and study costs, is available on our living costs page. When planning your finances for any future years of study in Oxford beyond 2022-23, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
All graduate students at Oxford belong to a department or faculty and a college or hall (except those taking non-matriculated courses). If you apply for a place on this course you will have the option to express a preference for one of the colleges listed below, or you can ask us to find a college for you. The Colleges section of this website provides information about the college system at Oxford, as well as factors you may wish to consider when deciding whether to express a college preference. Please note that ‘college’ and ‘colleges’ refers to all 45 of the University’s colleges, including those designated as Permanent Private Halls (PPHs).
For some courses, the department or faculty may have provided some additional advice below to help you to decide. Whatever you decide, it won’t affect how the academic department assesses your application and whether they decide to make you an offer. If your department makes you an offer of a place, you’re guaranteed a place at one of our colleges.
The following colleges accept students on the MSc in Statistical Science:
How to apply
You are not expected to make contact with an academic member of staff before you apply.
The set of documents you should send with your application to this course comprises the following:
Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.
More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.
A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.
A maximum of 1,000 words
Your statement should be written in English and explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, and your relevant experience and education. You should explain why you are interested in studying for the course. The statement should summarise your background as it relates to applying for the MSc and the advanced mathematical and statistical content you have covered (or are in the process of covering, if you are currently completing a degree).
If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.
This will be assessed for your reasons and motivation for applying, evidence of motivation for and understanding of the broad area covered by the MSc, capacity for sustained and intense work, reasoning ability, the ability to absorb ideas at a rapid pace.
References/letters of recommendation:
Three overall, at least two of which are academic
Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.
At least two academic references are required. A professional reference is acceptable as a third reference in the exceptional case that the referee is able to offer comparable information on your background and suitability for the course to an academic referee.
Your references will support your intellectual ability, academic achievement, academic potential, and motivation, particularly with regard to the mathematical sciences.
Start or continue an application
Step 1: Read our guide to getting started, which explains how to prepare for and start an application.
Step 2: Check that you meet the Entry requirements and read the How to apply information on this page.
Step 3: Check the deadlines on this page and the deadline information in our Application Guide. Plan your time to submit your application well in advance - we recommend two or three weeks earlier.
Step 4: Check if you're eligible for an application fee waiver. Application fee waivers are available for:
- UK applicants from low-income backgrounds who meet the eligibility criteria;
- residents in a country on our low-income countries list (refer to the eligibility criteria);
- current Oxford graduate taught students applying for readmission to an eligible course; and
- additional applications to selected research courses that are closely related to your first application.
Step 5: Start your application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, consult our Application Guide for advice at each stage. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.