Our Approach

Our Master of Applied Statistics program was created in response to a growing need for trained statisticians and data scientists in government and industry. Our M.A.S. degree covers a wide range of topics and gives students a diverse range of skills that they can bring to the workplace upon graduation.

The on-campus M.A.S. program begins with a three week skills course that begins in early August, which provides students with math and computing skills that they will need in their coursework.  (The online students take these skills courses during the 12-week summer session.) This puts students on equal footing, so that our courses can begin on Day 1 with important skills and information that the students will need in order to work as a practicing statistician. We immerse our M.A.S. students in applied topics they will be able to use extensively in the workplace.  In less than a year, students gain a solid background in topics such as regression analysis, generalized regression, statistical learning and data mining, machine learning, experimental design and nested designs, statistical simulation and data visualization, data base management, industrial/organizational statistics (six sigma), Bayesian statistics, survey sampling, time series, nonparametric statistics, multivariate analysis, and quantitative reasoning skills. Computer applications are built into every course, so that students come out of the program with solid computing skills in statistical computing programs such as SAS, R, Minitab, JAGS and openBUGS. Students also complete a course which addresses the soft skills needed to work collaboratively with non-data scientists.

After students have completed all of their other courses, they complete a capstone consulting practicum/project. This project involves direct interaction with a client, formal definition of a study question(s), thorough analysis of the available data, and a formal report of the findings, including appropriate tables and graphs. Additionally, the students present the results of the analysis to the client and answer questions the client may have regarding the analysis. This project gives students the opportunity to experience solving a real world problem with a real client.

Courses in the M.A.S. program are taught by our regular faculty members.  CSU’s Department of Statistics is the only one of its kind in the Intermountain West and consistently ranks in the top 50 statistics departments nationally. We take great pride in the teaching and research accomplishments of our faculty. Many of our faculty have been the recipients of prestigious awards and are recognized internationally in their fields.

We welcome partnerships with industry and work with interested employers to facilitate recruitment of graduates from our program, both past and present. If you are interested in becoming a partner with our program, please contact Kirsten Eilertson at kirsten.eilertson@colostate.edu.

Department Expertise

The Department of Statistics at CSU enjoys an international reputation and consistently ranks in the top 50 statistics departments in the US. All of our faculty are active in research on statistical theory and methodology, which is complex, challenging, and extremely useful in important real world problems. Some of these problems come from our connections with nearby federal research agencies, including the US Forest Service, National Center for Atmospheric Research, National Institute for Standards and Technology, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of our faculty have been the recipients of prestigious awards and are recognized internationally in their fields.

Some areas of expertise for our faculty include:

  • Survey statistics
  • Nonparametric statistics
  • Environmental statistics
  • Sensitivity analysis
  • Bioinformatics
  • Machine learning
  • Spatial statistics
  • Extreme values
  • Network data analysis
  • Bayesian methodology
  • Model selection
  • Time series analysis
  • Statistical computing
  • Big data analytics

Past and Current Projects

During their final term, M.A.S. students learn about effective consulting practices and gain instruction in technical writing and communication prior to working on a consulting problem with an actual client. Students meet with their client, analyze real data, and prepare a formal technical report to present to the client.

Below are a few of the projects that have been completed in the past. Due to the confidential nature of some of the projects, company names are omitted:

  • A study of a workplace wellness program on health outcomes among blue-collar workers
  • A large-scale study of cattle mobility after transportation from feedlots to slaughterhouses
  • An analysis of plant metabolics data from a drought simulation experiment on native grasses in Colorado
  • An analysis of data on native plant health following application of pesticides to control invasive species in Saguaro National Park

Clients who have participated in the Capstone Consulting course include Elanco (a division of Eli Lilly and Company), United States Department of Agriculture, ChildSafe (a local non-profit organization), Jackson Lewis P.C. and University of Colorado Health.

Practicum or Project Sponsorship

The M.A..S program culminates with the Capstone Consulting Module, STAA556. The course runs for six weeks, from mid-May until the end of June. Students taking this course have completed courses in all 16 of the subject areas.

This is a team based learning experience in which student teams are assigned a genuine client-based project. The teams perform a principled and thorough statistical analysis of client data in response to some well-defined questions posed by the client. The results of the analysis are documented into a formal technical report which constitutes the main assignment of the course.

Confidentiality:  Specific information on projects (as well as data) will be held confidential. Any information released publicly will only be released with consent from the client.

What is required of the client/sponsor: The client/sponsor will need to meet with the student team to discuss the problem of interest and pose specific questions to be addressed. A second (intermediate) meeting may be requested for the purpose of clarifying information or presenting intermediate results. A final meeting will involve a formal presentation by the student team of the results of the study. The client will also be provided with a formal technical report.

We look forward to working with clients from all types of industry and government agencies. If you have a project that you believe can be completed in this manner, please contact Kirsten Eilertson (kirsten.eilertson@colostate.edu) with information regarding your project. There is no sponsorship fee. When you contact us, please provide (1) a complete description of the problem and a statement of the goal of the study, (2) a description of the data set to be analyzed, and (3) contact information for the person(s) responsible for the study.