Graduate project/thesis

Going further, doing more

Students completing the M.S. in Applied Statistics program are required to take a total of six credits of either STAT 796: Graduate Project in Applied Statistics or STAT 799: Master’s Thesis. The six credits should be taken as three credits per semester for two semesters.

In the semester prior to enrollment in STAT 796, all students must meet with the M.S. Program Director to discuss project plans.

Students choosing to design their own project

Students doing statistics related internships or working with faculty members in other disciplines on data driven projects may be given permission to design their own project for STAT 796. These students will need to select a statistics faculty member in the M.S. Applied Statistics program as a project advisor and 2-3 other individuals to serve on their Graduate Project committee. The other committee members may be other faculty members at UWL or individuals from outside the universityCommittees should be selected within the first 4 weeks of the first semester enrolled in STAT 796 and students should e-mail the list of members to the M.S. Program DirectorThe overall project idea must be approved by the advisor before the student begins work on the project. Students designing their own project must then develop a proposal plan outlining their specific plans for their project and submit it to their committee for approval at least five weeks prior to final exams week during the first semester enrolled in STAT 796. Once approved, the student should share the proposal with the M.S. Program Director. Failure to complete the work needed to develop a plan proposal or failure to submit the proposal may result in a failing grade for the first semester of STAT 796. 

Students choosing to be assigned a project 

Students who do not want to design their project can be assigned a project to work on over the duration of the two semesters enrolled in STAT 796. These students will also be assigned to a project advisor, who will be a statistics faculty member in the M.S. Applied Statistics program. Students should then choose 2-3 other individuals to serve on their Graduate Project committee. The other committee members may be other faculty members at UWL or individuals from outside the university. Committees should be selected within the first 4 weeks of the first semester enrolled in STAT 796 and students should e-mail the list of members to the M.S. Program DirectorDuring the first semester enrolled in STAT 796, students will work independently (with mentorship from their project advisor) to learn new topics not already taken as part of their statistics coursework at UWL. Students will also be given access to a large data set and a list of research questions. Students will develop a proposal plan outlining how they intend to approach the research questions and analyze the data using the new topics they have explored. The proposal plan must be submitted to the project committee for approval at least five weeks prior to final exams week during the first semester enrolled in STAT 796. Once approved, the student should share the proposal with the M.S. Program Director. Failure to complete the work needed to develop a plan proposal or failure to submit the proposal may result in a failing grade for the first semester of STAT 796. 

In the second semester enrolled in STAT 796, all students will work on the data analysis outlined in their project proposal. While much of the work will be done independently, students are encouraged to meet regularly with their project advisor and share results with their committee to ensure they are on track with their project. 

All students completing a Graduate Project in Applied Statistics (whether designing their own project or using an assigned project) will need to develop a final written project report and do an oral presentation. Dates and deadlines related to submission of the final written report and scheduling of oral presentations are given below for the current academic year. Oral presentations will be attended by statistics faculty members and open to a public audience, should data security considerations allow for public sharing. The Graduate Project committee will use the written report and oral presentation to determine if a student has successfully completed the Graduate Project in Applied Statistics, thereby earning the credit for the second semester of STAT 796 needed for graduation from the M.S. program. 

Graduate Project Deadlines 

Friday, April 2, 2021 – Students planning to graduate in May must submit their Graduate Project final written report via e-mail to their committee by 4pm 

Friday, April 16 through Friday, April 23, 2021 – Graduate Project oral presentations will be scheduled 

Students electing to complete a thesis at UWL should be aware that their thesis will need to be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies after being approved by the student’s thesis committee. Additionally, all theses at UWL must comply with the committee makeup and formatting specifications laid out in the UWL University Thesis Guidelines 

Before enrolling in STAT 799 for the first time, students will choose a major advisor. The major advisor must be a statistics faculty member in the M.S. Applied Statistics program. 

During the first semester enrolled in STAT 799, students will need to form a thesis committee in consultation with their major advisor. The thesis committee will be composed of 3-4 members, of which one member is the student’s major advisor. In addition to the major advisor, at least one more member of the thesis committee must be a faculty member in the UWL Department of Mathematics and Statistics. It is also recommended that the committee contain one member from outside the UWL Department of Mathematics and Statistics. This could be a faculty member from another department at UWL or someone from outside the university. Note that all thesis committee members must hold Graduate Faculty Status at UWL. Individuals who are not statistics faculty members in the M.S. Applied Statistics program may not already hold Graduate Faculty Status. Students should consult with the M.S. Program Director early about their anticipated committee make up so that any approvals regarding Graduate Faculty Status can be taken care of in a timely manner. 

Once the thesis committee has been formed in consultation with the major advisor, students will develop a thesis proposal. This proposal should include the goals, project plan, time schedule, resource requirements, and other details pertinent to the thesis research project. The thesis proposal should be completed and approved by the thesis committee within the first 7 weeks of the initial semester enrolled in STAT 799. Once the committee has approved of the thesis proposal, it should be shared with the M.S. Program Director. 

During a student’s final semester, the project will culminate in a written thesis report that complies with the UWL University Thesis Guidelines and an oral presentation. The thesis report must be provided to the thesis committee at least four weeks before the intended graduation date and at least one week before the oral presentation. The student should consult with the M.S. Program Director and their committee regarding scheduling the oral presentation, with presentations typically held during the last two weeks of the semester prior to final exams weekThe oral presentation should be attended by the thesis committee and open to a public audience, should data security considerations allow for public sharing.  

Approval of the final thesis by both the thesis committee and the Director of Graduate Studies is required for graduation from the M.S. program for students in the Thesis option. Students should pay close attention to Graduate Studies Dates and Deadlines for deadlines relating to submission of the final thesis to the Graduate Studies Office.