Our list of Job Profiles can help you give you an idea of the kind of jobs available. Begin to look for job opportunities during your final year. Use the university’s careers service. Consider joining the Royal Statistical Society as a student member; this costs very little (free to final year students on accredited courses) and keep an eye on its jobs board. Full-time PhD and MSc students may be interested in becoming a full fellow member under the student concession rates. You will get the Society’s journal as well as the bimonthly RSS NEWS. Part-time students are always welcome as fellows at the usual subscription rate, as indeed are all people with an interest in our subject.
The internet has a wealth of resources for job searches. Register your CV on job sites such as Monster and Guardian Jobs. Graduate placements or schemes are also a good way to enter any career.
There is enormous demand for people with postgraduate qualifications in statistics. MSc degrees are highly marketable throughout industry, business and commerce. For example, there are very many opportunities in medical statistics, in medical research organisations and in the pharmaceutical industry in general. PhD students are also in great demand across the board. A PhD would in particular usually be necessary to pursue a career in university teaching and research. However, PhD students are also often snapped up by other organisations such as, just as examples, banks and financial institutions.
For postgraduate specific jobs, these websites may help:
There is a wide range of undergraduate courses involving statistics. There are many types of undergraduate courses such as:
- Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics
- Cyber Security & Comp Forensics with Statistics
- Games Technology and Statistics
- Geography and Medical Statistics
- Geography and Statistics
- Mathematical Sciences
- Mathematics and Computing
- Mathematics and Statistics
- Medical Statistics and Applied Economics
- Medical Stats & Applied Economics
- Statistics and Computing
- Statistics and Web Development
- Statistics with Business Management
Some courses provide the possibility of a year out in professional training by working for an employer in industry, business or commerce. These courses are usually known as ‘sandwich courses’ and are four years long altogether. In addition, some universities offer ‘enhanced courses’ that are four years long including an extra year where more advanced material is studied.
Some university courses have been formally accredited by the Royal Statistical Society. Check the list of accredited university courses changes from year to year.
Start your research a year before you wish to enrol at a course. Look at university prospectuses and brochures and attend general open days of the universities you are interested in.
To find a university, go to the UCAS.
You can search for courses on-line, by subjects or by universities or by geographical regions, on the UCAS web site. Your search will give you a list of courses, each with its own link to further web pages. You may also find that your school or college subscribes to some other national database services carrying this kind of information.
You can get prospectuses by post from the university or by visiting your local Careers section of a library. Information is usually also directly available on the university’s web site. Information is usually available about the university as a whole and about the courses offered by the faculties and departments within it. In many cases, departments have their own information handbooks; try looking for an individual department’s web site, or writing to the Admissions Tutor of the department in which you are interested and asking for a copy of the course brochure. And do not forget the Open University. This is unlikely to be relevant to school-leavers, but perhaps important to prospective mature students who may need to study part-time by distance learning. The Open University does not provide statistics courses going up to full degree level, but it does have excellent introductory and intermediate material in statistics. It also provides a great deal of mathematics material, including full degrees in mathematics; this material, even if not taken up to full degree level, might be very useful in providing the mathematics background likely to be necessary in supporting the study of statistics. Finally, there are professional examinations in statistics offered by the Royal Statistical Society aimed at mature students or those looking to improve their statistical skills at work. The Society does not provide courses leading to these examinations, but distance-learning material is available from the University of Southampton.
What to expect when studying statistics at university?
Teaching and Learning
Statistics like most science degrees will be typically taught through lectures with extensive practice assignments. You may be given a reading list prior to starting your course to help you prepare and during your course, however all required books should be available in your University Library.
Top Tip: As soon as you get your library card (usually this is your Student ID card too), reserve or take out the books a couple of weeks prior to when homework or assignments are due. This will ensure you have a copy of the book(s) when you most need it. Some books however are on short loan (from 1-5 days) and cannot be renewed. In this case, usually one or two copies are available in the library (and cannot be taken out) for you to use. Alternatively, you can purchase your own copies but this is costly so consider Student Notice boards for other students selling second-hand copies.
Lectures are further supported by regular small group tutorials in which solutions to problem sheets are discussed. This requires independent study and problem-solving through assignments in preparation for each tutorial. Some of the work will include output from statistical computing packages, and you will have practical classes in which you are taught how to use these.
Methods of Assessment
Most units or modules are assessed by taking an examination at the end of the semester. The more practical units of statistics or computing use a mixture of coursework and examinations, or coursework alone. Some of the assignments could also carry marks towards your overall assessment. These can be assessed individually and/or as a group.
Some universities hold all their examinations together at the end of the academic year. It is also common now for the year to be broken up into two semesters, with examinations at the end of each.
Many university courses also include project work. A project is your own individual work where you get to choose the subject related to the course to study in greater depth. The work is supervised by a member of staff such as a course tutor. Often these projects are in the final year, sometimes compulsory and sometimes optional to replace two lecture units/modules.
The professional skills the student gains from a placement can be invaluable. It can also be a foot-in-the-door to landing your first job when you complete your course. Placement degrees or “sandwich-courses” are available in 4-year format with a placement in Year 3, either at a European university or in industry.
Students who take industrial placements are usually offered jobs after graduation by their placement employers.