I am a recent graduate from my university and my undergraduate degree is in Statistics. I really like Statistics, and possibly will try to make a living as a statistician. I am looking into a Master's program and I cannot stop myself from wondering if I need to take a Master's program in "Statistics" in order to become a statistician. If I, for instance, take a Master's program in "Educational Measurement/Statistics/Assessment", can I still be a statistician with that academic credential (given that I already have an undergraduate degree in Statistics)?

I took a look at the curriculum and the coursework includes Experimental Design, Regression, and Multivariate Analysis. I don't know if those courses have some considerable mathematical rigor though.


closed as primarily opinion-based by Momo, gung, Andy, Glen_b, rvl Oct 9 '14 at 2:18

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 9
    $\begingroup$ A statistician in whose eyes and in what context? Expertise in statistics need not be a matter of formal qualifications. Employment in certain roles may require some certification; it depends very much on what the local and national rules are. I don't think there is a general answer here except that the more training and the more qualifications you have, the wider the choices that are open to you. $\endgroup$ – Nick Cox Oct 8 '14 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ Just do statistics regularly, so when you grow enough old and tired you automatically will qualify for a statistician. Statistician is a mathematician (or whoever analysing numbers) broken down by age and sex. $\endgroup$ – ttnphns Oct 8 '14 at 15:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of Having a job in data-mining without a PhD Although that Q is couched in terms of doing ML (vs "statistics"), & asks about a PhD (instead of getting an official statistics MS), I think the answers are about the same. $\endgroup$ – gung Oct 8 '14 at 17:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What does "qualified as a statistician" mean? $\endgroup$ – David Richerby Oct 8 '14 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ Hi, thanks for all your comments. By saying "qualified as a Statistician" I meant having a job as a Statistician. $\endgroup$ – Jin-Dominique Oct 8 '14 at 23:11

Technically, no. You can get by with a Bachelor's but keep in mind you are competing with folks who will have a Master's or even Ph.D. The American Statistical Association recently came out with the GStat Certification, which will allow you to certify your bona fides as a new graduate. Statistics is a broad discipline, so you don't necessarily need a "Statistics" degree; you could get Operations Research, Data Analysis, or what you've listed.

Experimental Design, Regression, and Multivariate look like a good foundation and would seem to qualify you. Also note that statisticians need some subject-matter knowledge, so it's actually good you are not going into a strictly stats degree program, especially since you have a Bachelor's in it already.

  • $\begingroup$ (+1) The Royal Statistical Society will award GradStat status for qualifying Bachelor's degrees. CStat is dependent on a subsequent 5 years' appropriate training & experience. $\endgroup$ – Scortchi Oct 8 '14 at 14:42

I would say that to have the actual formal job title of 'Statistician' or 'Data Scientist', usually a Master's or above is required. But to actually perform that type of work with a different title, it is not entirely necessary.

In fact, I have found that people from all sorts of backgrounds perform statistical analyses in a work setting (although not necessarily in a correct manner). But indeed many jobs that primarily use statistics every day do usually require a Masters or above (pharmaceutical, quantitative finance, economics, etc.). A lot of it depends on the job and the network you build to get the job. If you can convince someone that you are good enough for the job, then you may be able bypass the educational requirements in the job description. But also keep in mind that some of the reasons that they stress Masters or above (at least based on my experience) is the level of Mathematics and independent research that would be required to work independently in the given position.

Good luck!


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.