Master of Science in Applied Statistics (MSAS)

The Master of Science in Applied Statistics Program (MSAS) at Kennesaw State University is a professional degree program which seeks to prepare a diverse student body to utilize cutting edge applied statistical methods to enable correct, meaningful inferences from data obtained from business, industry, government and health services. The use of a wide variety of commercial software will be emphasized to ensure graduates can effectively analyze real-world data.

Program Description

The MSAS program is a 36 semester-hour applied graduate program designed to meet the needs of business, industry and government. The program is intended for professionals or students with undergraduate degrees in the sciences, engineering, or business.

The MSAS program differs from traditional statistics graduate programs in the following areas:

  1. Statistical Computing: Starting the first semester the student will utilize statistical programs such as SAS, JMP, and Minitab to analyze data and present graphical summaries;
  2. Applications Project: Students will complete an applied project based on data from their place of employment, from an internship or co-op experience or from work done with a faculty member. Students will turn in a written project report demonstrating the analytical skill sets mastered by the students;
  3. Emphasis on Communication of Results: Because communication of methods and results is vital in using statistics to convert data into actionable information, students will learn to write clear, concise reports and make professional quality presentations describing the inferences to be made from statistical analyses.
  • Required Courses (12 Credit Hours)

    • STAT 7010 - Mathematical Statistics I
    • STAT 7020 - Statistical Computing and Simulation
    • STAT 7100 - Statistical Methods
    • STAT 8210 - Applied Regression Analysis

    Select one from the following (3 Credit Hours)

    • STAT 8120 - Applied Experimental Design
    • STAT 8125 - Design and Analysis of Human Studies

    Select at least two from the following (6 Credit Hours)

    • STAT 8120 - Applied Experimental Design (if not selected above)
    • STAT 8125 - Design and Analysis of Human Studies (if not selected above)
    • STAT 8220 - Time Series Forecasting
    • STAT 8225 - Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis
    • STAT 8240 - Data Mining
    • STAT 8310 - Applied Categorical Data Analysis
    • STAT 8320 - Applied Multivariate Data Analysis
    • STAT 8330 - Applied Binary Classification

    Required Project (6 to 9 Credit Hours)

    Minimum of 6 credit hours are required. Students can take any of the courses here multiple times for credits. But maximally 9 credit hours can be applied for the degree. A written report (a project proposal, a project status update, or a final project report) is required by the end of each semester when any amount of the credits are taken.

    • STAT 8916: Cooperative Education
    • STAT 8918: Internship
    • STAT 8940: Applied Analysis Project

    Any other course with a STAT prefix (with the exception of STAT 9100 and STAT 9200) may be used to complete the degree requirements.

    • STAT 7900 - Special Topics
    • STAT 8020 - Advanced Programming in SAS
    • STAT 8030 - Programming in R
    • STAT 8110 - Quality Control and Process Improvement
    • STAT 8140 - Six Sigma Problem Solving
    • STAT 8250 - Data Mining II

    Note: Up to nine hours may be substituted with the permission of the Program Coordinator.

    Program Total (36 Credit Hours) 

    KSU Catalog »
  • Categorical Data Analysis - Categorical data analysis is an important tool in many areas, particularly biological and health sciences. This type of analysis is focused on outcomes that either cannot or should not be studied using a continuous model. The most common type of categorical analysis is with a binary yes/no outcome such as presence or absence of disease or success or failure of a process. Since this type of outcome is so common, we will spend a large proportion of the course working with this sort of data. We will learn to analyze binary outcomes like this in detail using univariate techniques and logistic regression. In particular, we will focus on interpreting and reporting binary outcomes and their predictors in a fashion that makes our results understandable to the end user. In addition, we will work with techniques for modeling multi-level outcomes and survival data, which are also common in today's world. We will discuss how to make decisions about using various categorical models for both predictors and outcomes. At the end of the course, the students should be able to conduct and report a complete analysis of several types of categorical outcomes.

    Data Mining - The almost ubiquitous presence of electronic data capture through the internet, e-commerce, electronic banking, point-of-sale devices, bar-code readers, and the like has created a very data-rich, but information poor decision making environment. Data mining is a rapidly growing field where the application of statistical tools and artificial intelligence enables the conversion of data into information to dramatically improve decision making. Successful applications of data mining include areas such as credit rating, fraud detection, database marketing, customer relationship management, and stock market investments.

    Measurement System Analysis - It is well-known that many problems in business, industry and government arise from using data that has unknown and variable precision or accuracy. It is not unusual to have the measurement system the focus of a process improvement project. In Six Sigma process improvement methodology, DMAIC, the "M" stands for "Measure". Every improvement activity must do a thorough analysis of measurement variation (MSA). The MSAS program is unique in that an entire course (STAT 8130) is devoted to assessing and improving the measurement system. Students will learn how to perform measurement system studies which can lead to process improvements. Data is the focus of most decision making, collecting data requires measurement. How accurate/variable is your data?

    Modeling Data - Statistical models are used in business and economics and in the social, health, behavioral, biological, physical and engineering sciences. The basic goal of statistical modeling is to use the information contained in data to develop a mathematical model describing relationships among the variables being measured. Statistical modeling extends the concept of mathematical modeling by taking into account the stochastic (random) nature of the relationships among the variables. The models that are developed are often used to predict the future behavior of a system, to screen out variables that are relatively unimportant to the system, to understand better the behavior of the system or to support or refute a theory about the behavior of the system.

    Performance Improvement Measures - How does an organization improve performance? There is no prescription, but there are accepted practices to achieve Performance Excellence. These practices include DMAIC from Six Sigma that integrates the use of statistical tools into the performance improvement process. Criteria for attaining excellence are given by the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award or the Georgia Oglethorpe Award. These criteria will be discussed in light of their relevance to the use of statistical methods. For all methods, data play a central role. Decisions must be based on data. Use of statistical methods to collect, analyze and communicate information on opportunities for improvement will be discussed as part of MSAS. Project managers, management and support personnel will benefit by understanding how to use statistical methods in the context of organizational improvement. Students will learn that every organizational activity can be considered a process. A process flow diagram with inputs, value added activity and outputs is the start for improving a process. Students will have the opportunity to work on a project that could address improvement of a process within their organization.

    Quality Control - Statistical quality control is an indispensable tool in monitoring and improving the manufacturing process in facilities worldwide. Step by step, from identifying and constructing all the pieces of a control flow-chart, through creating and interpreting an appropriate control chart for a process, to designing experiments for process characterization and optimization, and finally, implementing quality management techniques, such as the six-sigma approach, this course will prepare students for professional practice with comprehensive coverage of current statistical methods for quality control and improvement.

    Six Sigma - Every organization seeks to reduce their costs by improving operating processes. This is the focus of all Six Sigma projects. Performing a search on Monster.com shows the wide variety of organizations that utilize Six Sigma methodology. These methods are organized in a process, DMAIC, which has become a universal improvement methodology. Learning this methodology enhances a career and can open new career opportunities. The MSAS program trains students in Six Sigma methods in all courses since the basis of Six Sigma is the use of statistical methods. A complete course (STAT 8140) is required in the program to ensure students can put all the tools together to perform effective problem solving. Certification as a Six Sigma Black Belt is not required, but optional in the second year. Students interested in certification will need to have one project certified as effective cost savings project (with 3 years qualifying experience) and two projects otherwise. At the end of the first year, students will be prepared to take the Six Sigma Green Belt certification exam. This option can enhance career opportunities.

    Statistical Computing - At KSU, we have incorporated the four most widely used statistical computing packages into our Statistics courses – EXCEL, SPSS, Minitab and SAS. While each of these packages can be used for basic data analysis, they each have specializations. Any individual who can represent themselves as knowledgeable and proficient in any or all of these packages will possess a marketable and differentiating skillset. EXCEL is used anywhere that data is available – which is everywhere. EXCEL is found in offices, libraries, schools, universities, home offices and everywhere in between. In addition to its role as a data analysis package, EXCEL is often used as a starting point to capture and organize data and then import it into more sophisticated analysis packages such as SPSS, Minitab or SAS. And, after analysis is complete, datasets can be exported back to EXCEL and shared with others who may not have access to (or have the ability to use) other analysis packages (we gently refer to this group as the "great statistical unwashed").Microsoft's EXCEL spreadsheet software package is almost ubiquitous. It represents a very basic and efficient way to organize, analyze and present data. Employers today expect that at a minimum new hires with college degrees will have a working knowledge of EXCEL.

    Statistical Methods - The MSAS Program at KSU will equip its graduates with foundational and readily applicable knowledge on all statistical methods most commonly used in business, industry and research. The two courses in Mathematical Statistics (STAT 7010 and 7030) will introduce the underlying theory (coupled with real-world applications) for the discipline of statistical inference. In these courses, students will learn how to make sound inferences about populations from sample data and why these methods work.

    Throughout the program, the statistical software packages introduced in the first semester Statistical Computing course (STAT 7020) will be utilized by students to perform the methods they are learning and to help them analyze the results. In later semesters, students engage in courses specifically geared to provide skills and understanding of statistical methods for multivariate data (STAT 8320) and categorical data (STAT 8310). Similarly, there is a course in Applied Regression Analysis (STAT 8210), the most important methodology in statistical modeling.

    Additionally, the student's ongoing work each semester on applied projects in the project course (STAT 8940) will result in further experience in real-world applications of methods mastered in the courses.

    • Why does MSAS Admission require Calculus? The depth of understanding of statistics depends on a basic knowledge of calculus. The focus of the this program is to develop graduates that have in-depth knowledge of the techniques they will be using. "Plugging into" formulas or computer a routine is not the objective. This approach will enable students to develop meaningful careers and be in demand in the marketplace.
    • Can I start in the spring, rather than the fall? No, this program only accepts students in the Fall Semester.
    • Can I substitute any graduate course from other departments? Yes, you can substitute up to 9 credit hours from other graduate programs with permission from the program coordinator.
    • Does Kennesaw offer any courses to help me prepare prior to applying to MSAS? Yes. MATH 1190 (Calculus I), MATH 2202 (Calculus II) and MATH 3260 (Linear Algebra) are offered every semester. These would prepare students for the calculus part of the program. Courses in the Minor in Applied Statistics and Data Analysis (STAT 3010, STAT 3120, STAT 3130, STAT 4120 and STAT 4210) would help students prepare for the statistics part of the program. These are not requirements for admission to the program.
    • What can I do with my degree? The entry degree for most positions requiring statistical training is the Master of Science degree. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicated that 18% of the country's statisticians work for the federal government, 16% for state and local governments and the remainder for private industry. University based statisticians are a relatively small percentage. Thus, a large percentage of Applied Statistics graduate students will likely be placed in the private sector.
    • My undergraduate degree is not in math or statistics; can I still enroll in MSAS? Yes, as long as you have the prerequisite mathematics knowledge (calculus I and Calcuus II).
    • Is there any financial support for students? Yes. There are a limited number of fraduate research assistantships to be awarded. In addition, financial aid and loans are available.
    • How much does it cost to enroll in this program? For current tuition costs, visit KSU's Graduate College - Admissions Financial Information webpage »
    • What is the difference in "Applise Statistics" and "Statistics"? The word "applied" in the title of our program indicates that the emphasis of the program is on using statistics to solve problems, not on proving theorems or developing new statistical methodology.
    • I'm not interested in Six Sigma certification. Do I need to take the tests? No. There is no requirement to take any American Society for Quality certification test. At the end of the first year, students will be ready to take the Green Belt exam and can do so if they choose. At the end of the program, students will have covered the Body of Knowledge for the Black Belt exam. MSAS is unique in that the Body of Knowledge is addressed for both exams within the MSAS courses.
    • Will Kennesaw State University (KSU) accept my degree from a university outside of the United States? Graduates of universities outside the United States must be able to document that their degree is the equivalent of a four-year bachelor's degree awarded by an accredited United States college or university. For more information, visit KSU's Graduate College - Admissions for internation students webpage »
    • What makes this program different from other programs? You will leave this program with skills that you can immediately use in the workplace or to go out and get a job. Our eleven PhD statisticians have knowledge and experience in a wide range of applied settings.

Additional Program Information:

Find out more information about the admission requirements on the Graduate College's website.

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