Frequently Asked Questions

Students considering the programs in the Department of Statistics at Western Michigan University commonly ask these questions.

How do I apply?

Go to graduate applications

When does the school year start?

Fall semester usually starts around Sept. 1. The second semester is called spring term, and starts the first week of January. There are two half-length semesters in the summer: summer I starts in early May and summer II starts in late June.

What is the application deadline?

April 1 (for international students): This is a deadline that the International Admissions and Services estimates will allow enough visa processing time for fall semester admissions. However, applications will be accepted continuously past the deadline.

For permanent residents of the U.S., WMU continuously accepts applications until the start of the semester.

What is the application deadline for teaching assistantships?

February 15. The Graduate Committee makes its first round of teaching assistantship awards for fall semester on this date. However, we will keep on accepting applications past this date for later rounds of decisions.

Can I apply for admission in spring semester (January)?

Yes, but there are fewer classes to take, since the first year sequence of courses starts in the fall.

My college major was not statistics. Can I get admitted?

Yes. Check out the program prerequisites for the master's in statistics.

I do not have a master's in statistics. Can I apply for the Ph.D. program?

Applicants usually enter the Ph.D. in statistics with a master's in statistics. If you do not have a master's degree, we recommend you apply for the Master of Science in statistics program and change to the Ph.D. program after one year of coursework.

What types of financial aid are available?

Teaching assistantships. Our assistants are typically assigned to teach two sections of elementary mathematics or statistics classes. We do not have non-teaching financial aid.

How many teaching assistant positions are available?

We usually have three to six positions available. Approximately half of the appointments go to international students.

What do you look for in a teaching assistant application?

First we verify that you have the prerequisite courses for your desired program. Then we look at your overall background (courses taken and grades). If you are a foreign applicant, we look for evidence that you speak English well enough to teach a class of English-speaking students. Examples of evidence are work experience in an English-speaking environment, or letters of reference that describe how well you speak English. If your application makes the short list of candidates, we will do a phone interview as a final check.

Is there a minimum GPA required for admission and financial aid?

Teaching assistant applicants need a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better (or their equivalent in your grading system). There is no minimum GPA for admission, but the prerequisite courses for the desired program should have been passed with grades of B or better.

Is the GRE required for admission?

Applications for master's in statistics do not need the GRE. The GRE general test is required for doctoral applications. Subject tests are not necessary.

Is there a minimum required TOEFL score? What other English language tests are acceptable?

A score of 500 (173 CBT/61iBT) is required for restricted enrollment (part-time English study and part-time academics during the first semester) or 550 (213 CBT/80 iBT) for unrestricted enrollment. See the list of acceptable English language tests.

I live in a country where English is a second language. Do I need to take the TOEFL?

Residents of some countries do not need to take the TOEFL. See the list of exempted countries.

I have been a student in the U.S. for the past two years. Do I need to take the TOEFL?

According to the IAS information page, "Applicants who have successfully completed either four years of upper secondary school or one year of full-time tertiary (university-level) education from a U.S. institution do not need to provide proof of English language proficiency." However, you are encouraged to contact IAS to get confirmation about your case.

Please contact us if you have additional questions.