This course is intended to provide a mechanism for MA students in Statistics who undertake on-campus project work or research. This research experience will be counted towards the MA in Statistics Degree if the project is relevant to the educational goals of our program.  It is especially helpful for MA students who plan to apply for a Ph.D. after graduation. All students are strongly encouraged to prioritize their performance in core required and elective courses before considering a research project or any extracurricular data science experience.

Research Eligibility 

  • Research projects and faculty mentors must be identified before a student can register.
  • While working with Columbia faculty is preferred,  the project mentor can be an academic researcher, professor, or research scientist in the university OR a previously departmental-approved setting. 

Application Process 

At the start of each semester, an announcement will be sent to all MA Statistics Students with the deadline to apply. Any student already working on or with a confirmed and eligible research project, may send an email to Professor Demissie Alemayehu,, for consideration. The email should include:   

  • A description of the research project
  • Confirmation from the faculty mentor

Once the project is approved by Professor Alemayehu, the student may contact Jill Forger about course registration.  

End-of-Semester Requirement

This course may be taken in the Fall, Spring, or Summer semester for

  • No credit (0) with P/F option only.  
  • One (1) credit with a P/F option or letter grade option.  

The grading option must be indicated at the time of registration.  Depending on whether the course is taken for P/F or a letter grade, the end-of-semester requirement is different: 

  • For P/F,  a student must receive a letter from the faculty member certifying the student’s contribution to their research. 
  • For a letter grade, the student must submit a research report to Professor Alemayehu,

Questions about the course or about the research component of the course should be sent to Professor Alemayehu,  


NOTE:  Students who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. after graduation and/or looking for research projects are encouraged to participate in the activities organized by the MA2PhD Club.  Students who are not interested in pursuing a Ph.D. after graduation are recommended to focus on class projects, data science hackathons/competitions, or activities organized by on-campus student associations such as the Columbia Statistics Club or the Columbia Data Science Society