STAT GR5399 Statistical Fieldwork
Note: This course will be offered in the fall, spring and summer.
This course is an elective course for students in the M.A. in Statistics program that counts towards the degree requirements. To receive a grade and academic credits for this course, students are expected to engage in an approved off-campus internship in the US. The statistical fieldwork should provide students an opportunity to apply their statistical skills and gain practical knowledge on how statistics can be applied to solve real-world challenges.
- This course is open only to MA in Statistics students.
- The student is responsible for securing an appropriate internship
- Approval by the MA Career Adviser is required
- Prerequisites: Statistics GR5203 PROBABILITY, GR5204 STATISTICAL INFERENCE, Statistics GR5205 LINEAR REGRESSION MODELS, and at least 4 approved electives. As a consequence, this course is not open to students in their first two semesters. If you take this fieldwork course in your last semester, then you must take at least one regular course as well. In addition to coursework, another prerequisite for this course is to attend the workshops during Career Week, at the start of the semester.
- Grading: Letter grade
- Points/credits: 1 credit per semester of fieldwork. The total number of hours of work is normally expected to be at least 100 (for full-time students, the time commitment per week except in the summer, may not exceed 20 hours.)
- The course may be repeated (but not in the same semester) for a maximum combined total of 2 credits.
- If you take only this course in the summer, then you will pay tuition per point/credit.
- You cannot take this course – or any other course for that matter – if you have already completed your degree requirements
- You must have successfully completed any past internship course and received a final grade in order to be eligible to take or retake this course.
Rules and Procedures
Summary of Procedures
- The student finds an appropriate internship in the US and gets it approved by a Career Adviser in the Statistics Department
- The student registers online, which will result in being put on a waiting list and then allowed into the course once all appropriate paperwork has been approved.
- If this course is taken in the summer, and only this course, the student does not need to register for Residence Units and instead will pay per point.
- After being approved for registration, international students may apply to the ISSO for Curricular Practical Training (CPT).
- To drop the course, the student must follow the relevant drop rules and deadlines. The student cannot drop the course after the internship start date
- The student completes the internship and writes a report
- A letter grade is assigned based on the report
See details in the following sections.
Timing of the Internship
Fall semester: The start date of the internship must be no earlier than the first day of classes. The end date must be no later than the end of fall final exams.
Spring semester: The start date of the internship must be on/or after January 1st. The end date must be no later than the end of spring final exams.
Summer: The start date of the internship must be after the end of spring final exams, and the end date must be no later than August 31.
For full-time students, the time commitment per week (except in the summer) may not exceed 20 hours. The internships should provide training and experience that complement the students’ education and help them relate the material taught in the Statistics classes to professional practice.
Internship employers/sponsors of relevance for Statistics students include banks, asset management firms, hedge funds, insurance companies, consulting firms, media companies, sports companies and the like. The internship may involve formal training sessions, on-the-job training, and project work. The work could involve research, statistical analysis, financial and economic analysis and statistical model development.
Unpaid internships will not be approved for this Statistical Fieldwork course.
The Center for Career Education (CCE) has information here: Unpaid Internships
Application Process for Fieldwork
To apply for approval and enrollment, the student should submit a total of 3 documents to their Career Adviser by the relevant deadline (see application below). (1) A Job Proposal (2) The Fieldwork Instructions for Employer Form and (3) an official offer letter from the employer sponsor.
- The Job Proposal should be a brief statement (no more than 250 words) in the student’s own words explaining how the internship is relevant to the MA Statistics Program.
- The Fieldwork Instructions for Employer Form must be signed by the employer with all information completed. (This form will be provided by the department).
- The offer letter from the employer/internship sponsor should include the following information:
- Beginning and ending dates of employment
- How many hours you will work per week
- A description of duties in sufficient detail to show them as appropriate to meeting
the requirements for earning credit towards the degree
- Location where employment will take place
The Course Instructor may contact the sponsor/supervisor to verify information about the internship and to verify the intern’s satisfactory performance and successful completion of the internship.
International Students Process for Fieldwork
International students with F1/J1 status are required to obtain Curricular Practical Training (CPT )/ Academic Training (AT) approval before employment may begin. For more information regarding the employee letter and approval, view here: https://isso.columbia.edu/content/employment: F-1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training) .
Additional Application Process for International Students Only (CPT Application form)
International students will be able to take the Fieldwork course under the CPT (Curricular Practical Training) regulations. These students will need to follow the CPT regulations and any additional requirements imposed by the ISSO. International students will therefore need to submit a fourth application material: (4) CPT Application Form
IMPORTANT – The Fieldwork Instructions for Employer Form must be signed by the employer before a CPT application can be completed for international students. All 3 forms listed above must be approved by a Career Adviser in the Statistics Department before a CPT form can be submitted. By signing the Employer Form, the employer is acknowledging that the student will be permitted to write and submit a report about the work the student performed during the internship for a grade. If the employer refuses to sign this form, the student will not be eligible to work for that employer using CPT.
Submit all three components of the application (Job Proposal, Fieldwork Instructions for Employer Form and Offer Letter) to the Career Adviser in the Statistics Department as early as possible before you wish to begin the internship. International students will need to submit a 4th component (the CPT Application Form) to apply for CPT. Please note that this will require additional time for the ISSO to process the application. All steps must be completed before you can start employment.
Summer – apply before July 8
Fall – apply before October 15
Spring – apply before Feb 15
To complete the course, the student must submit, by the relevant deadline (see below),
- A 5 page internship report signed by the hiring manager to indicate that the student has completed the work and that they have read over the report.
The report should include the following information:
- Student name
- Student UNI
- Internship start and end dates
- Total number of hours
- Internship sponsoring organization, department, and location
- Supervisor or Human Resources (HR) contact name, title, phone number, and email
- A summary of the Internship experience
The last part of the internship report, the summary, should describe the internship experience and its relevance to the curriculum of the MA in Statistics program. Aspects that you may want to cover include the following:
- The nature and business of the sponsoring organization and the division / department where the internship was undertaken
- The intern’s activities, responsibilities, and projects, and their purpose and relevance for the sponsoring organization (it is not necessary to include technical details of projects)
- Training and experience acquired, and how they complement the student’s education
You are not supposed to reveal proprietary information. Some internship sponsors require that your report to go through an internal review and approval process to make sure you do not reveal such information.
Report and Statement Deadline
In the fall and in the spring, the deadline for the report and the statement from the sponsor is the last day of final exams. In the summer, the deadline is 10 days before Labor Day.
A passing grade requires that the internship is completed and an acceptable report has been submitted. Beyond that, the letter grade is mainly based on the quality of the internship report, and only to a very minor extent on the nature of the internship. A good report covers relevant aspects of the internship experience – to the extent this can be done without revealing proprietary information – and is well structured, clear, and carefully written.
It is expected that international students will be able to take the course under the CPT (Curricular Practical Training) regulations. These students will need to follow the CPT regulations and any additional requirements imposed by the ISSO. See F-1 CPT (Curricular Practical Training)
What is Fieldwork?
An internship that is an integral part of the established curriculum of the MA Statistics program. If the work you are doing at your internship is relevant to your coursework in the MA Statistics program, it qualifies as Fieldwork.
What is the Fieldwork course?
The Fieldwork course, GR5399, is open only to MA Statistics students. This course provides students with academic credit for the work experience that they gain at an internship that is directly relevant to the MA Statistics curriculum. You can register up to 2 times for a total of 2 points.
Can I take this course P/F?
No, you must take this course for a letter grade.
When is the Fieldwork course offered?
It is offered every semester including summer.
Who is eligible to take this course?
This course is designed to provide academic credits for an off-campus statistical practice where students apply what they have learned in the MA in Statistics curriculum. The prerequisites for this course include core required courses and at least four approved electives. As a result, this course is not open to students in their first two semesters. International students in F1 status in the Hybrid Program are not eligible to take this course.
May I take Fieldwork and elect CPT if I’m a hybrid student?
International students in F-1 status must complete 2 full time semesters on campus before they can elect CPT. Therefore, international students in F1 status in the hybrid program are not eligible for the Fieldwork course with CPT.
May I take the course more than once?
If you are an On Campus Student who has completed all the prerequisites you can take the course during your summer and 2nd Fall semester in the program. However, you must complete the first Fieldwork course, and receive a grade, before you can register for the next semester.
How do I register for this course?
You will receive an email reminder at the beginning of each semester, including the summer semester, with specific instructions on the application materials. You may only register for the course after you have met with a Career Adviser and received approval after review of all your appropriate paperwork.
I am an international student; how long does it take to receive work authorization?
Upon approval from the department, it takes approximately 1 to 2 weeks for ISSO to process the application. VERY IMPORTANT: Do not begin working until you have received your work authorization.
I am an international student; what is the difference between CPT (Curricular Practical Training) and Pre-Completion OPT (Optional Practical Training)?
How many hours can I work?
All registered students are required to work at least 100 hours during the semester. If you are an (F1) international student, the Curricular Practical Training work authorization allows you to work up to 20 hours per week during the semester. Only during the summer, you are allowed to work more than 20 hours a week.
What is the grade based on?
You are required to write and submit a five-page report at the end of the term on which the grade will be based. The report should be approved by your internship supervisor before you submit it to your professor. This is necessary to confirm the content of your work and to make sure that the report does not include any information the company does not wish to disclose.
What happens if the company does not allow me to release some information about my project in my written report?
You can work with your supervisor to write a report that is acceptable to the company.
Can I take this as my only course in my final semester in the program?
No. Fieldwork course CPT cannot be a standalone course in the final term.
Can I take this course right after my final semester?
No, you cannot.