M.A. in Statistics Hybrid Online/On-Campus Program

The Statistics Department offers a unique Hybrid Online/On Campus Program which is in a partially online format based on the renowned MA On Campus Program. It is designed to meet the needs of students preparing for professional positions or for doctoral programs in statistics and other quantitative fields. While the degree requirements for the Hybrid Online/On-Campus Program are similar to those of the regular On-Campus Program, four core courses will be delivered entirely online in the first fall semester and the rest on campus. This offers students more flexibility in completing the MA degree. Students will be taking courses with distinguished faculty members, have access to an assigned Faculty Adviser, and have opportunities for alumni and industry interaction.

Program Information

The Department of Statistics has developed a program that will offer select courses in its renowned M.A. program in a partially online format. While the degree requirements for the Hybrid Online/On-Campus Program are similar to those of the regular On-Campus Program, four core courses will be delivered entirely online in the first fall semester offering students more flexibility in completing the MA degree. The remaining courses will then be completed on campus. The MA Hybrid students are only Hybrid in the first semester of the program and then are completely integrated into the resident program after the first semester. The diploma and degree is identical for initial Hybrid and non-Hybrid entry students.  

The program is designed to help students establish a deep foundational knowledge of statistical methods. The first-year coursework will give students the proper background and training in modern probability, statistics, and applied statistics in a systematic fashion and prepare them for the more advanced courses offered subsequently. The initial four courses will be conducted exclusively online through our innovative learning management system. In general, most students in the Hybrid Program take the entire suite of 4 courses in semester one. Please note that online courses will not be offered again until the following fall.

Attendance for online classes can be either live or viewed as a prerecording. Please note professors may require live attendance for Hybrid students in an online course on specific occasions, such as for group work and/or exams as noted. Always refer back to the course syllabus for details on how to engage live or prerecorded within the online course.

In the second semester, the on-campus portion of the program begins and students will select from the many courses offered by the Department of Statistics as well as have the option to explore other resources and opportunities available at Columbia. In particular, they will be able to engage face-to-face with the Department’s world-class faculty.

Admissions Information

The application process for the hybrid program is the same as that for the regular on-campus program. Prospective students will be asked to indicate whether they wish to be considered for the hybrid or the regular on-campus program at the time of application. Admission requirements for both programs are the same. Please note that once accepted into the Hybrid Online/On-Campus Program, we cannot change your status to the On-campus only program.

In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, preparation for the program should include at least three semesters of calculus, including multivariable calculus, and a minimum, one semester of linear algebra with an in-depth coverage of relevant topics, including: Matrices, vector spaces, linear transformations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, canonical forms, and their applications. Experience in theoretical or applied probability and statistics is advantageous. Familiarity with computer programming, including some proficiency in SAS, R or Python is also helpful. The GRE exam is required and cannot be substituted with the GMAT; there is no minimum score.

Before reaching out directly to the department or the Program Coordinator, please make sure to review our Hybrid FAQ document here which will address most of the commonly asked questions concerning our program, including admissions related questions.

Application Process

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and applications are reviewed as they are received. The deadline for submission of the M.A. program application is May 16, 2016 for the fall semester. Applications for spring 2016 entry are not being accepted or reviewed. For early decision, prospective applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Applicants must apply online through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. For queries concerning application status, please check by logging into your application. That is the most up to date and accurate way to find out your status (not by reaching out to the department or GSAS Admissions Office).

Deferral Process

It is assumed that a student who is accepted will begin the program in the term for which he or she requested admission. A student who has accepted admission and paid the tuition deposit but finds himself or herself unable to attend owing to an unforeseen emergency must request a deferral through the online application system. Deferrals for valid, documented reasons may be requested for up to one calendar year only. Please direct all deferrals to the Admissions Office at GSAS. Deferral requests cannot be made directly to the department.

Academic Curriculum in the Hybrid M.A. Program

(Required Courses and Electives)

Similar to the MA resident program, the MA hybrid program also requires completion of at least two (2) Residence Units and a minimum of 30 points. A typical course counts for 3 points, although some may count for 4 or more points. Upon completing the online classes and after arriving to campus in the second semester, each student will review courses and electives leading to the M.A. degree with their assigned Faculty Adviser. While on campus, students must meet with their adviser to have their study plan approved each semester prior to registering for classes. During the online portion, students must connect via email with their adviser to ensure they are registered for the correct courses and Residence Units (RU’s). Please note, it is the responsibility of the student to reach out to their adviser prior to course registration.

Students who find themselves struggling with their course schedule should contact their adviser immediately (See Good Standing section below). Students must confer with their adviser prior to any change in their course registration that had been originally discussed and confirmed.

Required Courses

The degree requirement consists of four core courses and six elective courses with a total of 10 minimum classes for the degree. Of the 6 electives, at least 3 must be selected from the Statistics Department course options. The other electives may be chosen from a list of approved courses, depending on the student’s area of interest. Students should review this information with their Faculty Adviser.

The 4 core courses are:

  • W4109: Probability and Inference (6 points – counts for 2 classes),
  • W4315: Linear Regression Models (3 points)
  • W4201: Advanced Data Analysis (3 points)

Core courses available online are:

  • W4109: Probability and Inference (6 points)
  • W4315: Linear Regression Models (3 points)

Please note: core courses cannot be waived regardless of prior background.


In addition to the four core courses, students must also complete at least six electives approved by their Faculty Adviser. For the electives, at least three must be selected from the Statistics Department, upon approval by the Faculty Adviser

List of Commonly Approved Electives:

A partial list of approved electives may be found here.

Possible Electives by Area of Interest:

Students may choose courses that are recommended based upon area of interest. These electives are not required to take but are simply helpful recommendations. Please note, there is no guarantee that a student will get into all of the electives listed by area of interest in any given semester.

  • Finance
  • Data Science
  • General (Pharmaceutical industry or Public Health)
  • Actuarial Science and Insurance industry
  • PhD

Students interested in Finance might choose the following for their electives:

W4437, W4606, W6501, G6503, G6505, and approved courses in finance from the Business School,   Mathematics of Finance, or other related programs.

Students interested in Data Science might choose:

W4240, W4400, and other approved courses from the Statistics, Computer Science and related departments.

Students interested in applications in the Pharmaceutical Industry or Public Health might choose: W4325, W4413, W4543 and approved courses from the Biostatistics and Epidemiology Departments.

Students interested in Actuarial Science and Applications in the Insurance Industry might choose: W4543, W4437, W4840, W4606 and approved courses from the Economics Department, Actuarial Science, or the Business School.

Students interested in the PhD Track may confer with their adviser to choose appropriate courses from the statistics, mathematics and other departments, depending on their backgrounds and areas on interest. The PhD Track is intended for those students who wish to apply to PhD programs in statistics or other related areas upon completing their MA degree requirements.

Please note: If students take two or more courses with overlapping content, only one of the courses may count toward their degree requirement. For example, students cannot receive credit for W4606 in addition to G6501. For any questions related to overlapping content, please refer to your Faculty Adviser.  

Tuition And Residence Units

Tuition is determined by a registration category known as a Residence Unit. The MA degree requires students to register in least two Residence Units in addition to completing course requirements. Students in the hybrid online/on-campus program can take the online core courses and may earn a maximum of 12 points and 1 full Residence Unit in the first semester. The remaining courses completed on campus will total whatever is needed to meet the 30 credit minimum requirement.

In addition to acquiring 30 credits of courses, students must also fulfill 2 Residence Units (RUs) in the program by accumulating RUs and fractional Residence Units (RUs) over a number of semesters.

Hybrid students must register for a quarter (1/4) Residence Unit for every 3 points of credit (a 3-point course = 1/4 Residence Unit; a 6-point course = 1/2 Residence Unit; 9-points of courses = ¾ Residence Unit; 12 points of courses = 1 Residence Unit). See below for a table view of this information.

Breakdown of Registration Categories are as follows:

Statistics Hybrid RU Categories


Full Residence Unit     (1 RU)

less than or equal to 18 credits

Extended Residence     (ER)

for students who have already completed a total of two Residence Units

Three-Quarters Residence Unit   (3/4 RU)

when registering for 9 credits

Half Residence Unit     (1/2 RU)

when registering for 6 credits

Quarter Residence Unit     (1/4 RU)

when registering for 3 credits


Call numbers for each Residence Units are as follows:

  • 99991 – 1 full Residence Unit
  • 99994 – 3/4 Residence Unit
  • 99992 – 1/2 Residence Unit
  • 99993 – 1/4 Residence Unit
  • 77771 – Extended Residence Unit = 18 or fewer credits (credits above 18 are paid per credit). You may not register for Extended Residence until you have registered in a total of two Residence Units. Extended Residence is a full-time registration category regardless of how many classes you are registered for)

Hybrid students must always register for the RU’s associated with the Hybrid Program, even when on campus. For any specific questions about Tuition and RU’s associated with this program or financial aid, please reach out directly to the Office of Financial Aid at GSAS.

Tuition and Residence Units for International Students

International students on an F-1 visa must register for one Full Residence Unit during each semester on campus, and for an Extended Residence Unit in their last semester, if they have already taken 2 full RU’s before their last semester. Such students are encouraged to see their ISSO adviser for any additional information. As a sample, the schedule for an international student would include:

Semester 1 Online – 1 Full RU (4 online courses)

Semester 2 – 1 Full RU (4 classes on campus)

Semester 3 – ER (Extended Residency) (anywhere from 2 – 4 classes on campus)

Program Fees (Health Insurance, Other Fees)

Health Insurance

Please note that students during the online portion of the Hybrid Program should not enroll in the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan. Upon arrival for the on campus portion of the program, students will automatically be enrolled in a CU health insurance plan unless selecting to waive out.  This is an additional fee that all full time students on campus incur per semester. Please see the GSAS website for more information on Health insurance. Students can also visit the Columbia Health Website for additional details.

Other Fees

There are additional fees that are incurred once arriving for the on campus portion (likely in the Spring Year 1 semester) of the program. Please refer to the GSAS link on student fees for more information.

Unpaid Internship G4900

For those interested in registering for an unpaid internship option, the enrollment should be no later than the second week of the semester. The internship cannot be elected during a student’s first semester. This is a no-credit option that does not count towards degree requirements.

The Department does not assist students in obtaining unpaid internships and advisor’s approval is not needed to register.

At the end of the semester, the students must bring a letter from the sponsoring institution indicating they have successfully completed the internship. 

Steps to be followed:

  • Find an unpaid internship opportunity which involves statistical applications
  • Before the add/drop period has passed, register for the course on a Pass/Fail basis.
  • The internship should be for at most one semester, and should not interfere with normal academic progress.
  • At the end of the semester, bring a letter from the sponsoring institution indicating you have successfully completed the internship for submission to the Program Director. This letter may be emailed directly to the Program Director at da15@columbia.edu
  • If a letter is not provided to the Program Director within two weeks of the last day of classes, in which the internship was completed, a grade of F will be recorded.

**For additional guidelines on unpaid internships, please make sure to read http://www.careereducation.columbia.edu/findajob/internship

Please note: The Statistics M.A. program does not have or offer a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) requirement


Course Registration

(Course registration, Faculty Adviser, Advanced and Good Standing and Other grades)

How to register for classes:

Before signing up for courses, or changing their approved courses, students must get confirmation of approval via email from the Program Adviser.

Role of Faculty Adviser

All students are assigned a Faculty Adviser at least a week before new student course registration begins in the program. The role of the adviser is to serve as a student’s primary source for conversations about:

  • Academic and course advising and selection – including sequencing on required classes and review of electives
  • Any concerns about a student’s academic standing in the program (grades, missing exams, prolonged illness, etc.)
  • Deciding to take a course for R or Pass/Fail (before the add/drop period is over); online core courses cannot be taken for R or Pass/Fail
  • Permission to take more than 4 courses per semester
  • Reviewing the MA Program Course Checklist (Word doc or Pdf) prior to submitting a graduation clearance form.
  • Any other matter that may affects one’s academic standing in the MA Program

Registration Information:

Students can only register during their specific registration appointment times. Students should register for classes via SSOL. If a particular statistics class is full when in the on campus portion of the program, students will opt to be placed on a waitlist. The instructor will then admit students from the waitlist as appropriate. For additional details on registration information, please view this Registration FAQ.

Important links:

Summer Registration

Please note Summer Session classes have early deadlines for registration, adding and dropping classes. Because the School of Continuing Education (SCE) administers the Summer Session, please see the Registration and Calendars pages on the SCE website for details about registration policies, deadlines as well as tuition structure. If students register for a summer course that will count towards the MA Degree requirement (required classes or approved elective), then registration for the appropriate residence unit is required. If the class does not count towards the degree, it is charged per credit and no residence units are needed

Advanced Standing

Students who have taken core courses in Statistics at Columbia prior to entering the M.A. program may count those core courses towards their M.A. degree requirements if they were not used in any way to count toward a prior degree. Students who have taken elective courses may count those courses towards their M.A. degree only if they are approved as electives by the Program Director.

No more than four courses taken at Columbia prior to admission in the M.A. program may be applied towards the M.A. degree. Note, however, that no Columbia course may be applied to more than one degree.

At the discretion of the faculty and subject to review by the Graduate School, on a case-by-case basis, when advanced standing is granted to students for courses taken at Columbia, concomitant residence unit credit may also be credited to the M.A. degree. However, all MA candidates are required to be enrolled for at least 2 semesters in the MA program.

Courses taken for R, Pass/Fail or F Grades:

Courses taken for R or Pass/Fail do not count towards the MA Statistics degree. Core classes cannot be taken for R or P/F. Courses taken for either R or Pass/Fail need to be registered for before the add/drop period is over in the semester. For either process, please review closely on the appropriate steps via the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website. It is also required that a student’s adviser is notified before any course is changed to either status.


http://gsas.columbia.edu/content/grading-system#pf Students are not allowed to re-register for a course they had taken in previous semesters to improve letter grades. The only exception would be for a Grade of F which must be approved by the program adviser, as well as the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

Good Standing

In order to maintain good standing in the program, students must be making steady progress towards completing the degree, and must maintain a 3.0 grade point average or better in all courses that can be counted toward degree requirements. Students who do not maintain the required 3.0 GPA must meet with the Faculty Adviser. At the meeting, the Faculty Adviser will explain to the student what requirements must be fulfilled in the next semester in order to regain good standing and students must agree to those conditions towards improvement. (Note: A record of this conversation having taken place will be held by the Executive Director of MA Programs and one copy is retained by the student and the other remains in the Program Office). Students who do not satisfy the requirements in the next semester may not be allowed to continue in the program. Students who find themselves in academic difficulty should contact their Faculty Adviser as soon as possible and may opt for a Leave of Absence from the program if there are mitigating circumstances preventing a student from effectively engaging in the academic work.


For more information on how one gets reinstated into the program after an unofficial leave, please refer to this link: Reinstatement         

Additional Student Resources

(Computer software, International Student and Scholars Office, Housing, Career Management)

Computers and Software

Students are issued computer accounts upon admission to the program. Information on these accounts may be found here. A variety of statistical packages are available on workstations available to students. Please see here for more information.

Hybrid students will also have other technology requirements for the online portion of the program. Please view this document for further information: Technology Information for the Hybrid Program.

International Students

International students should contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) via email or at 212-854-3587 for advice on all matters concerning their status, including full-time student status, unpaid internships, and Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Housing for when you arrive on campus

Application for housing will be available mid-October for the spring term. Please note, University-owned housing is very limited and most MA students do not receive housing. To apply for University housing, follow the directions at University Apartment Housing (UAH).

Please note, Incoming master’s students who are granted housing are normally limited to one year of housing and must be enrolled full time in both semesters.

Student should also take advantage of Columbia’s Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA)Office which provides assistance in renting housing in New York City as well as a bulletin board on which you can search for prospective roommates who are Columbia students. Please note to reach out to OCHA at least a few weeks before you need your housing.

For further information, please refer to the GSAS Student Housing website.

Career Management

The Department of Statistics has a full-time Career Management Officer, who, in conjunction with the Center for Career Education, helps students with resume reviews, cover letters, mock interview sessions, salary negotiations and overall career planning. Current students can schedule an appointment with the officer after completing a short survey which will be shared with incoming students once they arrive to campus. To schedule an appointment, you may send an email to Dr. Anusha Shrivastava at: as1698@columbia.edu.

Filing for Graduation

Deadlines and Procedure

Student should apply for graduation by following the deadlines as listed on this website from the Office of the Registrar. petition for graduation.

Additionally, students should review the MA Program Course Check List (Word Doc or Pdf) with their Faculty Adviser.

If you have met the degree requirements you must submit the application for degree by the appropriate deadline. For the 2015-16 academic year, they are:

September 1, 2015 – Degrees conferred October 21, 2015

November 2, 2015 – Degrees conferred February 10, 2016

December 1, 2015 – Degrees conferred May 18, 2016. For more comprehensive information about participating in GSAS and University graduation ceremony please visit GSAS convocation webpage

Contact Information and FAQ’s

Please contact maprogram@stat.columbia.edu and review the Frequently Asked Questions for this program to find out more information.

For general information about admissions, please refer to the GSAS Admissions Information website as well as their Frequently Asked Questions page.

MA Program Staff:

Jill Forger
MA Program Coordinator
Office: 1005 SSW

Dr. Anusha Shrivastava
Career Management Officer, MA Programs
Office: 1017 SSW

Dr. Alysa Turkowitz
Executive Director, MA Programs
Office: 1018 SSW

For any general program inquiries, including admissions related questions, please email maprogram@stat.columbia.edu