The MSS program provides exceptional flexibility in completing exercises tailored to individual student interests. As part of the MSS completion requirements, students can choose from three distinct options to showcase their comprehension and mastery of statistical methods, their practical application, and computational skills.
- Master's Thesis: The Master's Thesis option allows students to delve deep into a specific research topic within statistics. It involves conducting original research, analyzing data, and presenting findings in a comprehensive written document. Students must demonstrate their ability to apply statistical techniques and methodologies to address a research question or problem. The Master's Thesis serves as a culmination of the student's academic journey, showcasing their expertise and contribution to the field. This option is often preferred by Master's students aspiring to gain research experience in statistics and pursue a Ph.D.
- Master's Portfolio: The Master's Portfolio option allows students to showcase a select project that reflects their proficiency in statistical analysis and its practical application. This option allows students to highlight their ability to utilize statistical methods and tools effectively. The Portfolio of Work demonstrates the breadth and depth of the student's statistical knowledge and their ability to communicate and interpret data-driven insights.
- Master's Capstone: The Master's Capstone option enables students to integrate their learning across the program and apply it to real-world problems or scenarios. Students undertaking the Master's Capstone engage in a comprehensive project that requires them to utilize statistical methods, develop solutions, and make informed recommendations. This option encourages collaborative work and may involve interdisciplinary teams. The Master's Capstone is a culminating experience demonstrating the student's ability to apply statistical techniques to address complex challenges and produce practical outcomes. It is a preferred choice for students without prior work experience who wish to gain exposure to teamwork and collaborate with real clients to solve real-world problems.
The oral completion exam is administered by a three-person committee appointed by the Master's director. A Master's committee includes three faculty members :
- At least two members must be full-time primary faculty in Statistical Science, 1 of whom will be the committee chair.
- The third member can be a faculty member from Statistical Science or another Duke department related to the student's thesis topic.
- The Department assigns the committee for the Portfolio of Work and Capstone Project, while the committee for a Master's Thesis will be formed by the student, with the approval of the Master's director.