Colorado State University to Offer Master’s Degrees in Statistics to Meet Industry and Government Demand

Number crunchers are in demand and growing.

Colorado State University has created a new master’s degree program in applied statistics in response to growing industry and government needs for statisticians. The new 11-month program starts this summer and specifically targets career statisticians who don’t want to go on to a Ph.D.-level degree.

“This is a big area that is growing in technology-related fields,” said Professor Mary Meyer, who helped design the program. “These are people who know what they need to hit the ground running. We’re easing that transition.”

The median salary for statisticians with master’s degrees, with zero to five years of experience, is $80,000, according to a survey conducted last year on behalf of the American Statistical Association. Careers in statistics are always going to be in demand, but those careers have focused chiefly in such areas as economics, biological science, psychology, computer software engineering and education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

March 31 is the deadline to apply for the 2012-2013 program at Colorado State.

Student Seth Johnson will be on the list. Johnson came to CSU from Sycamore, Ill., to obtain a master’s degree in mathematics and has been waiting for a program like this. He intends to seek jobs in computing after graduating.

“Over the last six years, I have cultivated a finance education and professional experience in the field of information technology,” Johnson said. “I envision the Master of Applied Statistics program as an opportunity to develop the skills necessary to transition to a new career path. I have always had a passion for working with numbers, but it was not until recently that I realized I wanted to build my career around it.

“I am excited about the program because it covers a wide breadth of topics and it adheres to a compact timeline,” Johnson said. “I am not interested in pursuing a Ph.D., but rather learning a diverse array of skills that I can bring to the professional world in a timely manner.”

The master’s program consists of 19 courses totaling 31 credits and includes a three-week “boot camp” of intensive math and computing review immediately preceding the start of the program.

“We expect very large demand for the distance version of our program,” said Professor Jean Opsomer, chair of the statistics department. “This degree will emphasize the practical methods in statistics, focusing on applications and computational aspects, which enables students to start working as practicing statisticians in industry, government or academia right after graduation.”

The Department of Statistics at Colorado State University is the only one of its kind in the Intermountain West and consistently ranks in the top 50 statistics departments nationally. A member of the faculty – Jay Breidt – was recently appointed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke to Federal Economic Statistics Advisory Committee, which will help coordinate efforts of three major agencies: The U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

For more information on the program, go to