Stat-MS Prep Track offers opportunities for Statistics majors to get a jump start on their future


The Stat-MS Prep Track at the University of Illinois is an opportunity for upperclassmen who are interested in pursuing a master's degree in statistics to get a head start on their coursework. The program is designed for students who are close to completing their undergraduate degree and have extra time in their schedules. By taking advantage of this spare time, students can begin their master's coursework while finishing up their undergraduate studies.

MS Director Darren Glosemeyer explained that the track allows students to take up to 12 hours of master's coursework, which can help them finish graduate school up to a semester early.

One of the primary benefits of the Stat-MS Prep Track is that students are not limited to taking undergraduate-level courses when completing their early coursework. Instead, they have the opportunity to work with advisors and the Graduate Office to enroll in master's-level courses that they are prepared for and that count towards a master's degree in statistics. This flexibility allows students to tailor their coursework to their interests and goals. After completing the Stat-MS Prep Track, students can apply for either the general statistics master's or the statistics master's with a concentration in analytics.

According to Jennifer Anderson-Bliss, the Statistics Undergraduate Advisor, the program provides students with a unique opportunity to explore a wider range of statistics fields beyond what is typically available exclusively for undergraduates. By saving time, students are afforded greater flexibility when they reach graduate school. This newfound flexibility means that students can potentially have more time to pursue internships or engage in other activities that may not have been feasible otherwise.

Andrew Stasell, a current student enrolled in the Stat-MS Prep Track, recently shared his thoughts on the program. When asked about what drew him to the track, Stasell cited the opportunity to start his graduate studies early, as well as the reduced tuition fees, “Just the fact that I only have to pay half the tuition for my grad program is huge. Also, you get an idea of the workload before you actually get to grad school.”

Additionally, he emphasized that the track allows students to gain a better understanding of the workload involved in graduate coursework prior to enrolling in a full-time program. “Some people take one course that’s graduate level and then from there they can decide ‘Okay, I don’t think I want to do grad school, but I’m glad I got to try it out.’ Or other people try it and they really like it.” Stasell believes that this aspect of the program is particularly valuable, as it enables students to test the waters and determine whether or not graduate school is the right fit for them.

During the interview, Stasell also reflected on how the Stat-MS Prep Track helped him solidify his future plans. Prior to discovering the program, Stasell had been pursuing a career in education. However, after realizing that this path was not the best fit for him, he felt unsure of what to do next. “I was going to be a math teacher. I was talking to my grandma and she said, ‘Andrew, you don’t want to be a teacher. I think you’re just doing it because it’s what you signed up for freshman year and you don’t want to quit.’ It was surprising, my grandma called me out! But she was right. [...] Well, senior year for me was all education credits, so then I didn’t know what to do. I got an email the next day from the Stats Department about their new prep track. It couldn’t have been more perfect. I feel bad for students who didn’t get to take advantage of it in years past, but I’m glad that we can take advantage of it now. I think it’s a great program, and I’m very lucky.”

The Stat-MS Prep Track provided him with a clear path forward, and Stasell is now grateful for the opportunity to pursue his interests in statistics.

For students who are interested in applying, the Stat-MS Prep Track is open to Statistics majors, Statistics and Computer Science majors, Statistics minors, and those double or triple majoring with Statistics. Specific requirements can be found on the program's website, and any questions can be directed to

All applicants must attend an informational session before applying. The currently scheduled sessions are March 7, 2023 at 4:00 PM and March 28, 2023 at 4:30 PM. Both sessions are in 2310 Everitt Laboratory.  


Elizabeth McNutt

Elizabeth McNutt is the staff writer for the Department of Statistics. If you have news to share, please contact the Statistics news group at