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5 Fields that Require a Mastery of Statistics

  • Actuarial Science
  • Academic Research
  • Clinical Research
  • Engineering
  • Finance

Probability theory enables anyone to make predictions about the behavior of complex systems using algebra, calculus, and statistics, and a master’s in statistics can open the door to a lucrative career making predictions about events that significantly affect the economy, such as weather patterns and market dynamics. Obtaining a master’s degree in statistical science requires a deep appreciation of mathematics, self-discipline and a commitment to finish a two-year graduate program. After obtaining a master’s degree, you will have expertise in statistical probability and predictive modeling, and your job prospects will improve dramatically.


1. Actuarial Science

Actuaries are statisticians who use their valuable skills to determine the precise amount of risk taken on by an insurance company when a customer signs a policy. Probability theory and statistical calculations are used to find the exact cost of a policy and advise insurance customers about the risks and rewards of taking out a particular policy. With a master’s degree in statistical science, an actuary can find a high-paying position with an insurance or accounting firm specializing in risk mitigation. The career opportunities are limitless with experience and advanced education.

2. Academic Research

Research in the academic domain requires statistical expertise for the portions of studies that describe and analyze results. The need for statistical skills is not limited to the mathematical and scientific disciplines although it is less common in the humanities and liberal arts. Statistical calculations help to illustrate the importance of the findings of a study and make the case to other researchers that the study’s findings are legitimate. Most research positions require a doctoral degree, but some positions are available for master’s degree holders.

3. Clinical Research

Clinical research may be funded by grants and endowments to a university or by the revenue of a private corporation. Private research is typically conducted during the development phase of a new product. Companies need precise information about the performance or characteristics of a product before putting it on the market. Statistical expertise is required for this profession because it involves carefully measuring products and processes along every available dimension.

4. Engineering

All engineering professions rely on statistical formulas to one degree or another. Subfields of engineering that rely most heavily on statistical methods are based on physics and natural science while those that use statistical methods the least are based on discrete mathematics and computer science. Researchers and developers in the field of computer science increasingly use statistical probability to program machine learning algorithms. Statistical mathematics are used often in software development, but they’re used more often in the physical sciences.

5. Finance

The world of finance has a great need for people with statistical expertise. From stock trading to investment banking, financial professions are dependent on the precision and predictive power of statistical models. Statistical mathematics are used to determine whether an investment is worth the cost and how much profit can be generated from it, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. A master’s degree is sufficient for most statistical jobs in finance, but some specialized positions require extensive expertise that comes from decades of teaching predictive mathematics at a university level.

Quantitative skills are always in high demand because they require a love of mathematics that few people possess. Expertise in statistical mathematics is an excellent skill to have when seeking a high-paying job at a private company or research institution. If you have a strong passion for mathematics, natural science or statistics, you may want to consider pursuing a master’s in statistics.

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