Founded in 1949, the Department of Statistics at Virginia Tech is the third oldest in the nation. Our program specializes in training students in statistical theory balanced with extensive applications including practical experience via our collaboration and consulting program. Over 790 master's degrees and 330 doctorates have been awarded by the department. The 18-month master's degree program is a model of the time-efficient education of statisticians. The doctoral program includes specialized tracks in traditional statistics, industrial statistics, computational statistics, bioinformatics, and environmetrics.
The department employs 25 full-time faculty to direct approximately 80-95 full-time graduate students. Research areas include bioinformatics, Bayesian theory, design of experiments, environmental risk analysis, nonparametric regression, biomathematics, statistical inference, statistical quality control and improvement, response surface methodology, analysis of directional data, reliability theory, statistical genetics, spatial statistics, functional data analysis, computational statistics, and mixed linear and nonlinear models.
To expose students to contemporary topics and to facilitate departmental research, graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty jointly participate in a series of research and topical seminars. Teaching and research skills are presented to graduate students through a variety of workshops. The department employs a mentoring system where faculty mentor graduate students who, in turn, mentor undergraduate students.
Graduate students are encouraged to participate in internships at companies and industries for the summer (three month internships) or for extended periods of time (up to seven months for Ph.D. students). Course credit is available for a properly monitored and mentored internship experience (STAT 5754 for three to six credits). See Internship in Statistics for more details.
Students in cooperation with faculty members, become involved in on-campus collaboration and consulting activities. M.S. students are required to participate in statistical consulting for at least one semester and Ph.D. students for at least three semesters. The department has several laboratories housing state-of-the-art Linux and PC networks. Students have access to these for collaboration, consulting, course work, and research. Students gain extensive experience with modern statistical software for experimental design, data management and analysis, and computer programming for statistical purposes.
Graduates of the Department of Statistics are now with leading industries, government, and with some of the larger colleges and universities throughout the country and the world. The demand of industry, government, and universities for qualified statisticians exceeds supply, a trend which is expected to continue. In the 2002 Job Related Almanac, statistician is named one of the “ten best jobs” since, “pay is great, the hours are regular, autonomy is high, and job stress minimum.” In recent years, 100% of our graduate students obtain employment in statistics upon completion of their degrees.