Statistical Science


MSc Admissions - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between MSc Data Science and MSc Statistics?

The MSc Data Science primarily differs from the MSc Statistics through its greater emphasis on the development of computational skills and focus on data analysis as an iterative process to be carried out in collaboration with business clients and scientists in other areas, such as the pharmaceutical industry and social sciences.

What academic background is required when applying for the MSc Statistics / MSc Medical Statistics and Data Science programme?

For the MSc Statistics and Medical Statistics and Data Science, particular emphasis will be placed on the mathematical component of a candidate’s educational background and generally we look for evidence that applicants have taken advanced, university-level courses in the areas of mathematics/algebra and statistics/probability. Please note that we cannot comment on the suitability of specific courses prior to receiving a formal application.

What academic background is required when applying for the MSc Data Science programme?

The MSc Data Science has a core structure tailored to accommodate students from more varied academic backgrounds than would be suitable for the related MSc Statistics. Some knowledge of mathematical methods and linear algebra at university level is expected, along with evidence of familiarity with introductory probability, statistics and computer programming. Prior experience in a high-level programming language (e.g. R/matlab/python) is a requirement, and relevant professional experience may be taken into consideration. Please note that we cannot comment on the suitability of specific courses prior to receiving a formal application.

I don’t meet the entry requirements. How can I improve my academic profile?

If you feel that you do not currently satisfy these essential requirements then you might like to consider a bridging qualification such as a Graduate Certificate or Diploma in Statistics. We do not offer these at UCL, but they are available from, for example, the Universities of Birkbeck and Sheffield.

What does it look like to study on a part-time basis?

Studying on a part-time basis means taking the taught modules over two years, but as they are timetabled for full-time students (i.e. Mon-Fri during the day time over two 10 week terms per year). The weekly time spent in lectures, tutorials etc. would be roughly 6 hours. Further information on part-time study is available in our handbook for taught graduate students: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/statistics/sites/statistics/files/migrated-files/pghb.pdf  (page 22 contains details on the part-time option).

You should be able to search the UCL online timetable: https://timetable.ucl.ac.uk/tt/homePage.do by degree programme, which will give you an impression of this year’s schedule. Note, however, that this will show every single optional module and tutorial group, whereas any one student will only participate in a much smaller subset of these. Alternatively, you could perform a custom search for individual module codes, bearing in mind that a part-time student will take two modules per term, on average.

Can I transfer credits from a related programme outside UCL and receive exemption from certain modules?

Generally, we are not able to consider applications for accredited prior learning for advanced entry to the taught postgraduate programmes offered by the Department of Statistical Science, because we already receive many more applications than there are places available from candidates who wish to undertake the entire programme with no exemptions.

How many references do I need to submit with my application?

You are only required to nominate a single referee as part of an application for one of the taught postgraduate programmes offered by the Department of Statistical Science. If possible, this referee should be a teacher acquainted with your academic ability. If this is not possible, however, then you may nominate an alternative referee, although their comments may not be as informative in terms of assessing your suitability for postgraduate study at UCL.

What should I include in my Personal Statement?

How to write your personal statement really is up to you - there is no fixed formula on what works in a personal statement. We are simply looking for an informed interest in all components of the degree programme applied for. The department does not wish to be overly prescriptive in terms of how a personal statement should be written, but our assessment of your statement will reflect the standard of judgement shown in the selection of material for inclusion.

How long does it usually take to receive a decision?

We aim to provide a decision within eight working weeks of receiving a complete application and reference.

I missed the application deadline. Is it still possible to submit my application?

No, due to the intense competition for places (over 15 applications per place in the previous cycle) this is a very strict deadline. The application deadline for entry in September 2024 is 5pm (UK), 5th April 2024.