About the course
The Postgraduate Diploma in Statistical Science is a nine-month taught course, running from October each academic year. It is similar to the MSc in Statistical Science but there is no dissertation. The course has a particular focus on modern computationally-intensive theory and methods.
The PGDip aims 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 course 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 and report writing.
You will be assessed on your performance in two written examinations around May, and through your submitted reports in assessed practical problems set during the year.
Students take four, or exceptionally five, courses each term. Three courses each term are core courses and students must complete the practical sessions in these courses.
The options available will vary from year to year. The core courses available each year may also vary. In 2019-20, the core courses are:
- Applied Statistics
- Foundations of Statistical Inference
- Statistical Programming
- Computational Statistics
- Statistical Machine Learning
- Bayes Methods.
In 2019-20, the options are:
- Stochastic Models in Mathematical Genetics
- Probability and Statistics for Network Analysis
- Algorithmic Foundations of Learning
- Advanced Topics in Statistical Machine Learning
- Advanced Simulation Methods
- Actuarial Science.
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.
Graduates find employment in financial, economic, governmental, scientific and industrial areas.
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. 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 sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.
For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.
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.
All graduate courses offered by the Department of Statistics
Entry requirements for entry in 2020-21
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.
For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.
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 requirement
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.
Detailed requirements - higher level
The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are:
|IELTS Academic||7.5||Minimum 7.0 per component|
Minimum component scores:
|Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) or C1 Advanced||191||Minimum 185 per component|
|Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) or C2 Proficiency||191||Minimum 185 per component|
Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. For more information about the English language test requirement, visit the Application Guide.
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 by telephone or by Skype, 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. Students are selected for admission without regard to gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, race, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or social background. Whether you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
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, 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.
This is an exciting time for the Department of Statistics. In 2016, the department moved to occupy a newly-refurbished building in the centre of Oxford.
The principal computing resource for the Postgraduate Diploma 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 teaching 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 newly refurbished spaces for study and collaborative learning, including a library and a large interaction and social area.
You will also have access to the Radcliffe Science Library and other University libraries, and the centrally-provided electronic resources.
There are over 1,100 full or partial graduate scholarships available across the University. You will be automatically considered for over two thirds of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant January deadline, with most scholarships awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential. To help identify those scholarships where you will be required to submit an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and visit individual college websites using the links provided on our college pages.
Annual fees for entry in 2020-21
Annual Course fees
|Home/EU (including Islands)||£11,605|
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 likely increases 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.
For more information about course fees and fee liability, please see the Fees section of this website. EU applicants should refer to our dedicated webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.
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 2020-21 academic year, the range of likely living costs for full-time study is between c. £1,135 and £1,650 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 2020-21, you should allow for an estimated increase in living expenses of 3% each year.
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.
Up to two pages
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 the course. The statement should summarise your background as it relates to applying for the PGDip and the advanced mathematical and statistical content you have covered (or are in the process of covering, if you are currently completing a degree).
This will be assessed for your reasons and motivation for applying; evidence of motivation for, and understanding of, the broad area covered by the PGDip; 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 the 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 plan your time to submit your application well in advance.
Step 4: Our Application Guide will help you complete the form. It contains links to FAQs and further help.
Step 5: Submit your application as soon as possible (you can read more information about our deadlines).