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MPhil in Statistics

In disciplines as diverse as biology, economics, actuarial studies, psychology, physics, archaeology, medicine and information technology, there is always a need for qualified statisticians to make proper sense of the data. The Statistics MPhil program will enable you to specialise in any of a large number of areas, as well as receive rigorous training in core statistical application and theory.

Career options

The MPhil program at ANU is focused on developing students for a career within government or industry, or as a pathway to further postgraduate studies. Positions in government or industry may include:

  • Researcher within scientific, medical or health research organizations
  • Researcher or Analyst within government departments, such as the Bureau of Statistics, Institute of Health and Welfare, or Departments of Health, Agriculture, Education, Finance and Treasury
  • Researcher or Quantitative data analyst within the corporate sector, including banking, finance and insurance, pharmaceutical, or energy and mining sectors
  • Statistical consultancy, or Management and Actuarial consultancy

CRICOS #: 048350D

Duration: 1 to 2 years full time (2 to 4 years part time)

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements for the Statistics MPhil program reflect the knowledge that students will require to undertake the coursework component of the degree, as well as evidence of potential to undertake original research.

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The minimum qualification requirement for admission to the program for a Master of Philosophy in Statistics is:

a) a degree of bachelor with an overall grade of distinction or higher in statistics (or a closely related discipline) from an Australian university; or

b) another qualification that the RSFAS HDR committee is satisfied is equivalent or superior to a degree in (a); or

c) a combination of qualifications and professional experience that the RSFAS HDR committee is satisfied is equivalent or superior to a degree in (a).

Please note that there are other admission criteria that students must also satisfy. Admission is competitive and only a limited number of students are admitted each year. Meeting the minimum entry requirements is necessary for consideration but does not guarantee a place within the program.

Note: If an applicant is currently completing a degree, and final transcripts and results are not available before the application submission deadline, you should submit all available documents prior to the deadline, and you will be asked to submit the remaining results before a final decision on admission is made.

Supporting Documentation

In addition to the standard information required in the online application, the following supporting documents are also required and will need to be provided as part of your application:

  • A one-page statement of purpose outlining your motivation to undertake a MPhil in Statistics at ANU.
  • If available, copies of written research work: e.g. honours/masters theses, research projects, or published works.

The online application also requires submission of a research proposal. The proposal should set out a research question suitable for MPhil studies. You should provide an introduction or background to the research idea, clearly set out the research objectives, and explain why your research is important and the contribution it will make to the statistics discipline. As a guide you should aim for 1000 to 1500 words, including a list of key references. The research proposal is used by the RSFAS HDR committee as an indicator to assess the quality and originality of your ideas, your skills in critical thinking, and how your research interests fit within the School’s current research focus and supervision capacity.

Offers of Admission

After your application and all its supporting documents are received by the Admissions Office, your file will be forwarded to the HDR convenor. The RSFAS HDR committee will assess all applications received. Short-listed applicants may be required to sit an online interview. Note that since admission is competitive and the number of places offered each year is limited, offers of admission will not be issued until after the relevant application deadlines, irrespective of the date when you submit your application.
Program Structure

Program Structure

Full-time study for the MPhil in Statistics normally takes two years and consists of preparatory coursework followed by a research thesis. 

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The specific coursework requirements for the Statistics MPhil will depend on the candidate’s background and will be determined through discussion with the HDR Convenor prior to the candidate commencing. The standard coursework requirement of the MPhil consists of the following compulsory courses:

Plus up to three electives chosen in consultation with the HDR convenor.

Research supervision and research

When a MPhil candidate is admitted to the program, a supervisor is assigned. The supervisor has the responsibility of overseeing the student’s candidature. It is important that candidates start developing their research topic ideas through consultation with their supervisor and other academic staff within RSFAS early in their candidature. The role of the supervisory panel is to assist, advise and provide support and encouragement to the student for a timely and successful completion.

MPhil students are required to give a Thesis Proposal Review (TPR) to faculty and submit a paper to their supervisory panel typically towards the end of the first year of studies. The purpose of the TPR is to assess the originality, significance, adequacy and achievability of the candidate's thesis plan. Successful completion of the TPR is required to continue in the MPhil program.

Students are also required to present their research (Oral Presentation) prior to the submission of their thesis for examination.

Some students undertake the MPhil as a pathway to PhD studies, and under some circumstances, students may apply to transfer to the PhD part-way through the MPhil program. For information about pathways to PhD studies please contact the RSFAS HDR convenor.

Annual progress reviews

It is University policy that each candidate's progress be reviewed periodically. In each year of their candidature, MPhil candidates are required to submit a Progress Report/Annual Plan, which summarises progress and identifies any difficulties or changes to the previous research plan and outlines the intended research to be undertaken over the next twelve months. The Progress Report and the Annual Plan form the basis for the Annual Review.

Please refer to Research Student Milestones for further details. 

Thesis Submission and Examination

The culmination of the MPhil is a written thesis which, upon completion, is submitted for examination. The thesis is examined by experts in the relevant field. Information on the process of thesis submission and examination can be found here: Submitting a thesis.


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Updated:   27 July 2020 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team