Master’s Degree Requirements

Within Your Department

  • Students who want to apply for a Masters Degree as an “alternate” degree and continue on for the PhD should check the Information on AM or MS Degrees above and must have approval from the Ph.D. Coordinator before applying for a Masters degree.
  • Students may not apply for a Masters degree if they have not taken a Qualifying or Prelim exam; completed a minimum of 8 CU’s of Coursework and a major research paper requirement.
  • The Ph.D. degree and the AM/MS Masters’ Degrees are NOT Professional MBA degrees. The Ph.D., AM or MS are academic research degrees.
  • You cannot get an MBA degree while you are enrolled in a Ph.D. degree program.
  • The requirements for obtaining a Masters Degree vary by department. *Check with your Department PhD Coordinator.
  • A substantial research paper approved by the Graduate Group is a mandatory requirement for the Research Masters Degree and cannot be waived.
  • For international students, if you decide to leave the program prior to completing the PhD, your OPT clock starts from the date you received your last degree.   If you received a Master’s en route to the PhD then your OPT clock starts from the date your Master’s degree was conferred.

Dual Degree in Statistics and Data Sciences

The Dual AM Degree in Statistics and Data Sciences is offered only to students enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Penn. Students pursuing more than one research master’s degree en route to their Ph.D. should note: While some courses can count towards both a PhD and research master’s degree, no courses can count towards three or more degree programs at Penn. Penn Law, Medicine (Professional), Dental, or Vet school students will not be permitted to enroll in the program. The Master’s degree cannot be granted after the PhD is awarded.


The Degree Requirements
(1) Six credit units of 5000 level or 9000 level Statistics and Data Sciences Department courses.

(2) Four additional credit units of approved Penn courses with statistical content. These can be Statistics and Data Sciences Department courses or courses from other departments.*A minimum grade of B- or better is required for each course.

(3) An approved master’s thesis. The master’s thesis is a research paper that makes substantial use of statistics and is not part of a student’s dissertation (though it can be related to the dissertation work) or material you completed for a course (though it can build on a paper completed for a course). The thesis can be original research or can be a literature review of some area of statistics related to a student’s research. The thesis must be approved by a standing faculty member in the Statistics and Data Sciences Department who has agreed to serve as an adviser for the project.

(4) Certification of Doctoral Qualifying Exam


To Apply for the Program:
(1) Complete the Application to the Dual Degree – Master of Arts in Statistics and Data Sciences. The form must be signed by your home department faculty chair/coordinator, your home department/school’s graduate dean, and the Academic Director for the Stat Master’s.

  • Consult with your home department on any policies your program may have regarding external Master’s degree
  • Failure to submit the Application to the Dual Degree Form n the early stages of the program may results in your courses not counting towards your degree.

(2) Send complete Application to the Wharton Doctoral Program Office ( to obtain a signature from the Vice Dean. You will not be permitted into the program until you receive approval from all listed above.


To Apply for the Degree:

Upon completion of the degree requirements, complete the following forms and email them to Gidget Murray, Director of Wharton Doctoral Programs (


Please note the following:

  • The University does not allow students to triple count courses for multiple degrees (i.e. you cannot count a course toward your Statistics Masters, home department Masters, and home PhD)
  • Transfer credits and undergraduate level courses will not count towards the STAT AM


Any questions can be sent to Gidget Murray ( or 215-898-2619) or Linda Zhao (
Dual Master’s Degree in Statistics and Data Sciences