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What’s the Difference Between an M.S. in Applied Statistics and an M.S. in Applied Mathematics?

Posted on: 07/10/2020

With industries across the world developing a greater understanding of how data can motivate and benefit them, a master’s in applied mathematics or a master’s in applied statistics can be a catalyst for major career growth. While both degrees are focused on the synthesis and analysis of data, the careers of those with master’s in applied math and statistics vary in how they utilize that information.

Careers in mathematics and statistics are expected to increase approximately 34 percent over the next few years, making them both promising fields with higher-than-average growth through 2026. Below is a look at how degrees in applied mathematics and applied statistics differ, and the opportunities available to those interested in each field.


Comparison of an M.S. in Applied Statistics vs. Applied Mathematics

M.S. in Applied Statistics Careers M.S. in Applied Mathematics Careers
Focus on preparing and leveraging data to address real-world problems Focus on applying mathematical principles and theories to address real-world problems
Coursework emphasizing the statistical analysis of data Coursework emphasizing mathematical theory and computation
Preparation for careers in areas such as analytics, survey research and data science Preparation for careers in areas such as economics, research analysis and software development
Salary range of $60k to more than $100k Salary range of $60k to more than $100k

Master’s in Applied Mathematics

applied statistics vs applied mathematics
People interested in the careers that facilitate real-world applications of mined data would be well suited to acquiring a master’s in applied mathematics. For example, researchers have used probability to study treatment seeking behavior among those suffering from drug use disorders.

The curriculum for a masters in applied mathematics typically includes coursework in functional analysis, data mining, and combinatorics. In addition, focused research in an area of interest allows students to shape their education to align with their desired careers in mathematics. Foundational applied mathematics courses typically encourage the development of skills that allow students to leverage mathematical theories and principles to solve real-world challenges.

Applied mathematics careers include economist, software engineer and computer programmer. These positions carry a salary expectation of $60K to $100k per year, depending on the specific role.


Master’s in Applied Statistics

Like a degree in applied mathematics, an M.S. in Applied Statistics focuses on addressing real-world problems. However, the approach taken is slightly different. Applied statistics degree programs will have a stronger focus on managing and preparing data for use in business, research and other organizations. Individuals with a passion for ensuring the accuracy, statistical relevance and appropriate application of data to business problems are well-suited for an M.S. in Applied Statistics degree.

In addition to coursework that emphasizes statistical analysis of data, the classes taken while pursuing a master’s degree in statistics may include courses focusing on biostatistics, finance, marketing and other industry-specific applications. Applied statistics courses also often provide hands-on experience with popular analytics software packages such as SAS as well as database management systems like Microsoft Access.

Applied statistics careers include positions in areas such as data analytics, data science, risk analysis and survey research. These positions may be either public, private or government based. Masters in applied statistics salary expectations range from $60k per year to more than $100k, depending on the individual’s specific background and years of experience.


About University of Delaware’s online M.S. in Applied Statistics

The University of Delaware offers a 100% online M.S. in Applied Statistics (ASTAT) for data professionals interested in earning an advanced degree without interrupting the rest of their careers.

University of Delaware’s ASTAT master’s program provides students with opportunities to develop and apply their skills to current, real-world problems. Distance learners benefit from close relationships the University of Delaware maintains with large, locally based companies in numerous sectors, including the financial services, healthcare, chemical, pharmaceutical, technology and farming industries.

Our statistics courses also offer hands-on experience with popular statistical software packages such as SAS, enabling students to develop advanced proficiency in skills they will need to evolve their careers.

Expert statisticians from these and other organizations were recruited to develop and instruct case-study based courses specifically for the online ASTAT. These full-time faculty members aptly prepare students for jobs with a median base salary of $80,000.


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