These programmes have been specially designed to meet the needs of part-time students in employment. Many students, as part of their everyday work, are involved in data analysis, the interpretation of statistics, the optimal design and control of systems or in the modelling and prediction of time dependent phenomena. Over two years, in lectures and in practical computing sessions, the courses cover both the theory and the application of modern statistical and mathematical modelling techniques required to solve applied problems in industry, the public services, commerce and research. While practically oriented, the programmes all proceed from a strong theoretical background so as to develop the ability to tackle new and non-standard problems with confidence. The mutual dependence of practice and theory is emphasised wherever possible.
After a common first year of compulsory courses in theoretical and applied statistics, the second year allows students to orient their course towards their own particular interests and career objectives. The first year provides a broad education and training in statistics at postgraduate level before specialization in the second year. The first year thus provides an excellent stopping off point, in the form of a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Statistics, for those who do not need more advanced or more specialized training.
In the second year students select four 10-week half-modules (two in the autumn term and two in the spring term) from the range of offered courses covering advanced statistical analysis, operational research, stochastic modelling and applications, and modern computer-intensive statistical methods. The choice of courses determines the title of the MSc awarded. If desired, one of the four courses may be replaced by a supervised, individually prescribed reading course.
As well as following their chosen four option courses, students are required to complete a project, or sustained, independent investigation. The project is a full module and is carried out over eleven months, from October 1 at the beginning of the second year, to the following September 1. The project is intended to show that a student is able to tackle a substantive problem requiring an analysis using statistical, stochastic modelling or operational research methods, and can give a well-organized, clear exposition of the problem, the analysis and the conclusions in terms that can be understood by a non-specialist.
All three MScs are accredited by the Royal Statistical Society for Graduate Statistician status.