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Statistics MA (Hons) 2021 entry

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. The BSc and MA degree programmes are mathematically identical.

How to apply Register your interest

Key information

UCAS code

G302

Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 June 2025

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Entry requirements

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.

International applicants

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.

How to apply

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

Yes, applicants are expected to have studied Mathematics at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, or equivalent. 

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Timetables

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.

Applying for a mathematics or statistics degree

Mathematics and Statistics at St Andrews is very popular, and the University is unable to make an offer to every applicant who meets or exceeds the entry requirements. The University seeks to recruit students who are enthusiastic about mathematics and possess the demonstrated potential to be successful. 

Entry requirements are the same for all single Honours degrees in mathematics and statistics, and the chance of receiving an offer does not depend on the degree or entry point applied for. 

Decisions are primarily based on mathematical ability and potential, as demonstrated by school qualifications and position in class or year. The School of Mathematics and Statistics does not use results from MAT or STEP. 

Applicants should, therefore, include as much detail about their mathematics results as possible on their application if available

  • Highers: band attained as well as the grade, and ideally the percentage attained for Higher Mathematics. 
  • A-Levels: grades obtained in each of the mathematics modules taken to date, if any. 
  • For guidance on other entry qualifications, please see entry requirements.

If possible, applicants should include their rank within their year and any awards they have won at school. Applicants should ask their referees to also include this information in their reference.

Applicants should also include any extra-curricular mathematical and scientific accomplishments. This can include, for example, competition results (e.g. Maths Challenge and Olympiads) or previous university-level experience (e.g. from summer programmes).  

Course information

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; 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:

  • Bayesian inference
  • spatial statistics
  • statistical modelling
  • 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 web page.

Find out more about studying statistics at St Andrews

Modules

In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in statistics alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take one to two statistics modules per semester during your first two years, and four statistics modules per semester during your third and fourth years (known as Honours). 

Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take between one and three first-year modules in mathematics. There is one core compulsory module, 'Mathematics', that 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.

First-year students can take an optional module in statistics as well as modules in pure and applied mathematics: Sub-honours (1000 and 2000 level) modules offered in 2019-2020 (PDF)

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.

Sub-honours (1000 and 2000 level) modules offered in 2019-2020 (PDF)

If you decide to take Statistics in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced options. Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Bayesian Inference
  • Computing in Statistics
  • Mathematical Statistics
  • Population Genetics
  • Quantitative Risk Management.

In your third and fourth (Honours) years, you will choose from a range of 3000-level, 4000-level and (optionally) 5000-level modules. Here are the modules offered in previous years:

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 appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.

Teaching

Teaching format

In first year, teaching for each module centres on a daily lecture (100 to 300 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 300 students), one tutorial (8 to 12 students), and one examples class (25 to 60 students) per fortnight. Half of the modules also feature computer lab sessions (25 to 60 students).

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 web page.

Assessment

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 see the common reporting scale.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students.

Virtual visiting days

Undergraduates

Our spring 2021 visiting days have now passed. Dates for our Autumn 2021 visiting days will be available in early summer.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2021 entry

Home-funded £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
EU and overseas £25,100

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page

Accommodation fees 

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation. 

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Joint Honours degrees

You can take the Statistics MA as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects. 

Special joint degree notes

The joint option with Psychology can also be taken as a degree programme with British Psychological Society accreditation.

In taking a joint degree, you are required to take core modules in all of your subjects. Find out more about joint degrees.

Alternative joint degree options are available for students who take the BSc in Statistics

Your future

Careers

Demand for mathematically trained graduates vastly outstrips the supply, and hence career prospects are excellent in a variety of fields.

Recruiters seek numerate graduates who are literate, think logically, write and present well, and can work with relevant technology – St Andrews degrees develop all of these skills.

A mathematics degree is recognised as a substantial achievement in a demanding discipline.

Around 30% of St Andrews graduates continue on to postgraduate study, either in mathematics or related disciplines such as computer science, finance, or physics.

The majority of the remaining graduates gain employment in areas such as: 

  • technology firms or computer consultancies
  • financial services organisations (for example, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, and PwC) 
  • industry
  • insurance companies
  • merchant banks
  • the civil service
  • teaching.

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.

Study abroad

Statistics students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad site.

Student life

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 located across 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, parks and beaches, providing a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. Find out more about the town of St Andrews.

Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.

Contact

School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews
Mathematical Institute
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9SS

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3708
Email: maths-admissions@st-andrews.ac.uk

School of Mathematics and Statistics

Policies

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

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).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).