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Frequently Asked Questions

Master of Applied Statistics (MAS)

  • What criteria are used for selecting new graduate students?
    Graduate admissions are determined by the Graduate Admissions Committee. The committee considers grades, particularly in quantitative courses, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, research and work experience and statement of purpose.  We do not have target scores for grades or GREs, but admission is quite competitive. Good communications skills as evidenced by verbal GRE and (for international applicants) TOEFL scores are expected. The Math pre-requisite for the MAS program is Calc I – Calc III and knowledge of Matrix Algebra.
  • How can I convert my scores to a Penn State GPA?
    Guidelines are available at: University Registrar.  
  • What tests of English are required for students who come from non-English speaking countries?
    We require only the TOEFL test. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT).
  • The language of instruction in my undergraduate program was English. Do I still need to take the TOEFL?
    International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if you have received a baccalaureate or a masters degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States and Wales. 

    You must complete the degree by August 15 of the year in which you want to start our program. E.g. If you are currently in a US program and will complete your degree in the spring or summer, you are exempt from the TOEFL requirement.  It would be useful if one of your recommendations discusses your ability to communicate with undergraduates as a TA.

    Applicants from other countries need a TOEFL score, even if the language of instruction was English. If you have a dual degree from a US and international program, please check to see who will issue the degree(s) and then contact the graduate school.

  • I have not yet taken my GRE or TOEFL test. Can I apply?
    You can apply without your scores, but you should have the testing service send the scores directly to us by the application deadline. We will not process your application until we have the GRE scores. 
  • My TOEFL and/or GRE score has already expired or will expire before August of the next year. Should I retake the test?
    We require official TOEFL and GRE scores sent to us by ETS. As long as we have official scores on record, you do not need to take the test. So, if you previously sent scores to Penn State, or if you can arrange to send the scores before they expire, you do not need to retake the test. 
  • I have taken the TOEFL or GRE twice. Which score will you take?
    We consider the most recent score. 
  • Should I take the Math Subject GRE test?
    We do not require subject tests. 
  • Do I need to send official transcripts?
    Transcripts should be uploaded to our graduate application system. Photocopies of GRE and TOEFL scores can also be uploaded in place of originals. However, admission offers are not finalized until we receive originals of the GRE and TOEFL scores, and official university transcripts sent directly from the university or in a sealed untampered envelope from the university.
  • How many students are admitted each year?
    The resident MAS program admits 11-14 students each year.
  • If I apply for the Ph.D. program and am not admitted, can I apply to the MAS program?
    You cannot be considered simultaneously for both programs. However, if you are interested in the MAS program, we can transfer your application for late application to the MAS program if you are not accepted for the Ph.D. You can contact us at to discuss this possibility.
  • Do you admit students in the Spring semester?
    We do not admit students from outside of Penn State for the Spring semester. 
  • How many applications do you receive?
    We receive about 100 applications annually for the resident MAS program.
  • How much will it cost me?
    Please visit Since the MAS program requires 30 credits, the total tuition is roughly 30 times per credit tuition. 
  • How are graduate students funded?
    The Statistics Department does not provide teaching or research assistantship to students in the MAS program. The students will need to either have their own funds or get funding from other resources. 
  • I am currently enrolled in a graduate program at another university. How do I switch to Penn State?
    Students currently enrolled in other graduate programs are expected to complete a degree in that program before starting a program at Penn State.  Your application will be considered along with all other applicants. Waivers for required courses are determined on a case by case basis by the program director.
  • I am currently enrolled in a graduate program at Penn State. How can I switch to Statistics?
    Your application will be considered along with all other applicants, and the rules are the same as applicants from other universities. You can improve your chances of admission by taking some courses 4xx or 5xx courses in Statistics at Penn State before applying to our program. Alternatively, if your department agrees, you can apply for the concurrent degree program, and earn degrees in both departments at the same time.
  • I am in a graduate program at Penn State and I would like to earn a concurrent MAS in Statistics. How do I apply?
    Concurrent degree applicants will need to submit a "Plan of study for Concurrent Degree Form" which can be obtained from the Graduate School. For the three letters of recommendation, one has to be from their Advisor. The applicants should make an appointment with Dr. Mosuk Chow ( to discuss the plan of study before submitting the application. The application deadline for Fall and summer is Feb 1. We do not admit concurrent degree students for Spring semester.
  • Can my recommendations be sent by regular mail?
    Because of the number of applications we receive, keeping track of the application materials leads to delays. We prefer if your references use the on-line reference system. When you enter their names and email addresses, the on-line application system will automatically send your references the web link to the reference system.  If your recommenders are having difficulties with the system, please send email to We will try to assist the recommender. 
  • Can my references be sent by e-mail?
  • What is the admission deadline?
    February 1 annually for Summer and Fall admissions. For Spring semester, we do not admit students from out of Penn State.
  • Do you accept late applications?
    We continue to review applications until our space is filled up to the following deadlines. May 1 for Summer admission and July 1 for Fall admission.
  • When will you acknowledge receipt of my application materials?
    No matter how early you apply, we will not acknowledge receipt of your materials until we start screening in mid-February. If you have filled out everything requested on-line, you are done.

    Please keep track of your Friends of Penn State account (such as abc123) and your ID number (such as 191612345). You will need these to check your application.  However, please be aware that we do not update your status until the admissions process is complete.  We do NOT use the system to inform people of their admission status.

  • Why does it take so long for you to acknowledge receipt of my materials?
    Please be patient. Our admissions staff are available for only a few hours weekly until admissions begin in mid February.
  • My friend got a letter from you. Why didn't I?
    We try to send out our letters all together to avoid this question. But we find that some of the large email groups such as hotmail, gmail and yahoo sometime mark our letters as spam. Please set your spam filter to accept email from, or manually check your junk mail folder before discarding letters. 
  • Can I visit Penn State?
    We are always happy to have visits from interested applicants to the resident program. Please contact us at to arrange your visit. We do not provide financial support, but we will arrange an itinerary to meet some of our faculty and students.
  • When will I know if I am admitted?
    We usually make decisions around mid-March. Some applicants will be put on waiting list. You can contact us to check your status if you have not heard from us by then. 
  • Can I appeal a rejection?
    No. The only exception would be in cases when there is a major change in your application – e.g. you just earned an A in a course in which you previously had a failing grade. Or, if your GRE scores have improved significantly.