The MA (Hons) in Statistics allows you to specialise in the branch of mathematics that focuses on collecting, analysing and presenting large quantities of numerical data. There are many practical applications for statistics, including fields such as science and medicine, government, business and education.
Students of Statistics will acquire the analytical techniques, clear logical thinking and deductive reasoning necessary to explore some of these fascinating areas of research.
Statistics is studied up to Honours level in both the Faculty of Science (BSc) and the Faculty of Arts (MA). Students who have a background in the Arts or who wish to study Statistics alongside Arts subjects at St Andrews should apply for the MA. For those interested in studying Statistics alongside Science subjects, the BSc in Statistics may be of interest instead.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Statistics MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
Standard entry grades: AAAAB, including A in Mathematics
Minimum entry grades: AABB, including A in Mathematics
Standard entry grades: A*A*A, including A* in Mathematics
Minimum entry grades: A*AB, including A* in Mathematics
Standard entry grades: 38 (HL 6,6,6), including HL6 in Mathematics
Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5), including HL6 in Mathematics
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language, you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.
St Andrews students must meet with their Adviser of Studies at the beginning of Semester 1 in September to complete advising – a compulsory part of the matriculation process. After module choices have been decided, a timetable will be allocated indicating the dates and times of classes.
The School is ranked as second in Scotland for research, with more than 91% of the research output by staff in the School rated as internationally excellent or world-leading in the recent Research Excellence Framework 2014.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% of St Andrews final year students were satisfied with the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
The University has secured a TEF Gold Award for the quality of teaching and the undergraduate experience.
The MA (Hons) in Statistics is a four-year course run by the School of Mathematics and Statistics. The School also offers a BSc in Statistics, which may be more suitable for students who wish to take Statistics alongside Science subjects. The statistics element within both the BSc and MA degree programmes is exactly the same.
During your first year your studies will focus on mathematics, with the aim of reinforcing your basic skills before embarking upon the study of statistics in your second year. Your second year will focus on a central core of material within Statistics which will provide the foundation for advanced study at Honours level.
Alongside Statistics, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised.
During third and fourth year, students may select modules from a range of options on advanced and specialist specific topics. Specialist subject areas may include:
times series analysis.
Final year students must also complete a project on a topic chosen in consultation with teaching staff at the School of Mathematics and Statistics.
The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure webpage.
Students will take between one and three first-year modules in mathematics. There is one core compulsory module, 'Mathematics', that and can be studied in either semester.
Mathematics: introduces the ideas and techniques required for further study of mathematics or applications to other sciences.
Students who do not possess at least a B at Advanced Higher or A-Level Mathematics will need to take Introductory Mathematics in their first semester before taking the compulsory Mathematics module. This option is popular for students on different degree routes who wish to study Mathematics.
Introductory Mathematics: designed for students who do not meet the entry requirements for the first-year Mathematics module. Provides a secure base in elementary calculus.
Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules:
Combinatorics and Probability: introduces counting techniques for finite structures and the behaviour of random variables.
Linear Mathematics: introduces the theory of vector spaces, linear independence, linear transformations and diagonalisation.
Statistical Inference: introduces techniques for drawing inferences about population characteristics from observed data.
In addition, students must take at least one of the following second-year modules:
Abstract Algebra: explores the key concepts of modern abstract algebra: groups, rings and fields.
Analysis: introduces key concepts of real analysis: limit, continuity and differentiation.
Multivariate Calculus: extends the techniques of calculus in a single variable to the setting of real functions of several variables.
If you decide to take Statistics in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options, ranging from statistical theory to practical applications in computer science.
Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:
Computing in Statistics
Quantitative Risk Management.
In your final year, you also undertake a project on a topic chosen in consultation with the teaching staff at the School of Mathematics and Statistics. You will be required to investigate the topic, submit a report and give a presentation.
The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours-level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
In first year, teaching for each module centres on a daily lecture (100 to 250 students) and a weekly small group tutorial (8 to 12 students) where students undertake exercises and discuss each week’s topics. In addition, computer labs (25 to 60 students) are held once a week for each module to assist with both computing and problem solving skills.
In second year, each module typically comprises five lectures (100 to 250 students), one tutorial (8 to 12 students), one computer lab (25 to 60 students), and one examples class (25 to 60 students) per fortnight.
You will develop increasing independence and initiative as you progress through your degree programme so that by third and fourth year the average teaching load drops to around ten hours of lectures and four tutorials per week, supplemented by private study.
When not attending lectures, tutorials and computer labs, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:
preparing coursework assignments
working on individual and group projects
undertaking research in the library
preparing for examinations.
You will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of Statistics and Mathematics. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials, examples classes and computing classes under the supervision of the module leader.
You can find contact information for all Statistics staff on the School of Mathematics and Statistics website.
In addition to your studies in the School of Mathematics and Statistics, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.
The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities webpage.
Progress is monitored through tutorial assignments, and almost all of the sub-honours modules are assessed by a balanced combination of coursework and written exams. At Honours level, modules may be assessed by written examination alone or a combination of written examination and coursework.
Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.
The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.
Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.
Visit St Andrews
If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.
In taking a joint degree, you are required to take core modules in all of your subjects. Find out more about joint degrees.
The demand for mathematically trained graduates exceeds the supply, and therefore the career prospects for graduates in Mathematics from St Andrews are excellent in a variety of fields. Clear logical thinking, deductive reasoning, confidence in data handling, and IT skills are attributes that are highly prized by employers.
Over 50% of Statistics graduates gain employment with:
financial services organisations (for example, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, and PwC)
the civil service.
The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.
Statistics students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the Study Abroad site.
From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.
Students of Statistics may be interested in joining the Mathematics Society (SUMS), a society dedicated to bringing people together who are interested in maths. They hold regular socials and informative talks from guest speakers.
The School of Mathematics and Statistics is currently split between two sites: the Mathematical Institute on the North Haugh and the Scott Lang Building at the Observatory. Most of the Statistics staff and research students can be found at the Observatory.
The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh makes it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.
“Mathematics has a great community spirit with plenty of support systems in place for students to help each other like Maths Base and the buddy system. There are lots of options available in different areas of statistics, pure and applied maths.”
Anna (Lincolnshire, England)
School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews Mathematical Institute North Haugh St Andrews KY16 9SS
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).