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MS and PhD Programs in Applied Mathematics or Statistics

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics offers graduate programs leading to the Master’s (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in both Applied Mathematics and Statistics. The department has had an active graduate program in applied mathematics since 1970. It expanded to include a full graduate program in statistics in 1984. The strength of these programs lies in its graduate faculty, who are actively engaged in research in applications of mathematics and statistics in a wide variety of real-world problems, as well as in investigations of fundamental and theoretical questions. The faculty designs and implements courses and curricula with emphasis on innovative research directed toward practical applications, as mandated by the charter from the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.

Both the Applied Mathematics and Statistics programs are intended for those students who are interested in pursuing an advanced degree and who have earned the equivalent of a bachelor’s or master’s degree in mathematics, statistics or in other mathematically oriented disciplines. Students who already hold a master’s degree may apply and enter the doctoral program directly. The doctoral programs provide training suitable for employment in academia, industrial research and development organizations, as well as research-oriented government agencies. The master’s degree programs provide training in applications of mathematics and statistics in areas suitable for employment in industry or government agencies. They also can serve as preparatory steps toward advancing to a PhD program.

Individuals wishing to benefit from the department’s course offerings without enrolling as degree-seeking students may do so by filing a non-degree seeking student application form. For students who do not already hold an undergraduate degree, a combined BS+MS program leading to a master’s degree in either applied mathematics or statistics is also offered by the department.

Tracks/options toward the MS degree

To serve the students’ varying range of backgrounds and goals, the department has instituted several tracks/options within its master’s degree programs, as listed below. Each track defines a set of well-focused graduation requirements. Students who intend to continue to the doctoral programs should consider the traditional tracks in Applied Mathematics or Statistics. A student whose final goal is a master’s degree in statistics may consider the applications-oriented track in statistics. Most graduate courses are offered in the late afternoon or in the evening to enable the participation of those who hold full-time employment.

The MS degree program in Applied Mathematics
  • Comprehensive examination option
  • Thesis option
The MS degree program in Statistics
  • Traditional track with comprehensive examination option
  • Traditional track with thesis option
  • Applications-oriented track: Environmental Statistics with comprehensive examination option
  • Applications-oriented track: Environmental Statistics with thesis option
  • Applications-oriented track: Biostatistics with comprehensive examination option
  • Applications-oriented track: Biostatistics with thesis option

The comprehensive examination options require taking 30 credits of courses and passing a written comprehensive examination. The thesis options requires taking 24 credits of courses plus 6 credits of master’s thesis research. Please consult the Graduate Catalog for the details.

The PhD degree programs

The department offers doctoral study in a broad spectrum of both classical and modern applied mathematics and statistics. Admission to these programs presupposes a strong background in mathematics and/or statistics. Doctoral students continue with advanced study and dissertation research, with specialization in any of the departmental fields or in an interdisciplinary area.

Particular emphasis is given to the following areas in applied mathematics: differential equations and applications, numerical analysis and scientific computation, dynamical systems, stochastic processes, mathematical biology, optimization theory and algorithms.

In statistics, the areas of emphasis are: Bayesian analysis, biostatistics, data mining, design of experiments, environmental statistics, nonparametric statistics, reliability, spatial statistics and image analysis, statistical decision theory and inference, survival analysis, time series analysis.

A rough outline of the programs’ requirements is:

  1. Completing the course work;
  2. Passing the written Master’s comprehensive examination.
  3. Passing the written PhD qualifying examination;
  4. Passing the oral PhD qualifying examination;
  5. Admission to candidacy;
  6. Completing residency requirements of the university;
  7. Completing and successfully defending a doctoral dissertation.

Please consult the Graduate Catalog for the details of the requirements.

Samples of Comprehensive Exams

To help students with preparing for the Master’s and PhD Comprehensive Examinations, the department makes available a selection of exams given in the past. These should give you an indication of the level of preparation expected in these exams.

Pre-application form

If you are interested in applying for admission to the graduate program in Applied Mathematics or Statistics, you may want to submit a pre-application form for a no-cost, no-obligation informal feedback about how well your educational background fits the demands of the program.


For further information regarding graduate programs in Applied Mathematics and Statistics please contact:

Dr. Animikh Biswas
Graduate Program Director
Program in Applied Mathematics
Phone: 410–455–3029

Dr. Nagaraj Neerchal
Graduate Program Director
Program in Statistics
Phone: 410–455–2437