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.

Master of Arts in Statistics

The Dual AM Degree in Statistics is offered only to students enrolled in a Ph.D. program other than Statistics at Penn. Please note, students can only pursue ONE research master’s degree en route to their Ph.D. Penn Law, Medicine, Dental, or Vet school students will not be permitted to enroll in the program. Prior to enrolling in coursework for the degree, approvals are needed from the Faculty Director for the Dual Masters in Statistics, the Vice Dean of the Wharton Doctoral Program, as well as the PhD Coordinator of the student’s home school and the Vice Dean of the student’s home school. Please see additional information and required forms here: Dual Masters Degree in Statistics 2020-2021

The requirements are completion of the following:

(1) Six 500 level or 900 level Statistics Department courses.

(2) Four additional approved Penn courses with statistical content. These can be Statistics Department courses or courses from other departments.

Note: Approval of the student’s list of 10 courses for (1) and (2) is subject to approval of the Advisor for the Dual Master’s in Statistics.  **A minimum grade of B- or better is required for each course. Effective 1/16/2017.

(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 Department who has agreed to serve as an adviser for the project.

Academic Director for the Dual Master’s in Statistics: Professor Linda Zhao (; 215-898-8228.