What is Statistics?

Statistics is the mathematical science dealing with the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of masses of numerical data. How does a business determine if an available site for a new restaurant is a potentially successful location?

How does the health authority assess statistical evidence for the effectiveness of a new vaccine? How does an insurance company determine the risk level of a new proposal?

Statisticians open the door to such decision making in the face of uncertainty for business, government, and science. They provide the needed expertise for the design and analysis of complex surveys on health, consumer and business issues. They are also involved in the design and analysis of experiments and research studies, enabling knowledge discovery in various fields of application.

Biostatistics is the application of statistics to questions about human health. Because the factors that affect human health are various, biostatistics is an umbrella term that encompasses statistical research in several subject matter areas. These areas include pharmacology, medicine, biotechnology, biology, genetics, and public health.

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The Department of Statistics and Applied Probability, established in 1998, currently has some 30 faculty members who are accomplished scholars with diverse research interests in statistics and probability. We are the only university department in Singapore to offer degree programmes in Statistics.

At the undergraduate level, we offer B.Sc. and B.Sc. (Hons.) degree programmes with a primary major in Statistics; Honours students majoring in Statistics have the option to specialize in Biostatistics or in Finance and Business Statistics. The interdisciplinary nature of Statistics is reflected in our curriculum. Statistics students also read modules in Mathematics and Computer Science, which respectively provide the theoretical foundation and the computational tools. Students may also pursue Statistics as a second major (alongside another primary major) under the framework of a double major programme. We also offer a minor programme in Statistics, which is an excellent opportunity for students in other majors to enhance the analytical skill and statistical reasoning in dealing with information related to their majors.


B.Sc. & B.Sc. (Hons) major in Statistics
This programme is designed to provide a sound knowledge of statistics, it prepares students for careers in business, industry, and government, and for graduate study in statistics.


B.Sc. (Hons) major in Statistics with Specialisation in Data Science
This programme is designed to equip students with computing concepts and skills that will enable them to take on emerging challenges in the collection, storage and analysis of large amounts of data in virtually every field.


B.Sc. (Hons) major in Statistics with Specialisation in Finance and Business Statistics
The programme provides students training in various statistical techniques for the area of investment and financial analysis, insurance, marketing research, and management. It helps to prepare students for careers in the business and finance sectors, as well as for further graduate study in finance and business statistics.

Entry requirement for B.Sc. programmes: Good pass in a mathematics subject at the GCE 'A' Level Examination or equivalent.

At the graduate level, we offer research programmes leading to the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees, as well as coursework programmes leading to the M.Sc. degree.


Career Opportunities

Statistics is a universal discipline, finding application in all areas of Science, Engineering, and Commerce. There are increasing employment opportunities for professionally-trained Statisticians across the developed world. In a ranking done by the Jobs Rated Almanac, the cumulative score in six core factors (environment, income, outlook, physical demands, security, and stress) placed the Statistician as the ninth best job.

Graduates from our Statistics programmes have been able to gain employment in the following industries or sectors: government, manufacturing, financial, pharmaceutical, IT, marketing research, and private consulting.

For an up-to-date comprehensive listing of career opportunities, please refer to http://www.stat.nus.edu.sg/alu_careers.htm.


Student Awards

Saw Swee Hock Gold Medal - Awarded to the most outstanding student with First Class Honours in Statistics

Lijen Industrial Development Medal - Awarded to the Honours year student with the best academic exercise/project in the discipline





Chen Rentong, Saw Swee Hock Gold Medal recipient of 2014/2015

"During my studies at the Faculty of Science (FoS), my liking for statistics gradually turned into passion, and I find myself enjoying what I am learning. Students are taught various analytical methods, in addition to the generic modules taught in NUS. During the course of my studies at NUS, I have discovered that its teaching method suits me."


Chen Yirong, Saw Swee Hock Gold Medal recipient of 2012/2013

"The undergraduate curriculum has indeed introduced me to a wide gamut of subjects which has broadened my horizon on the different aspects of Statistics"  


Xie Yanxi, B.Sc. (Hons.) in Statistics, 2009

"The undergraduate curriculum has indeed introduced me to a wide gamut of subjects which has broadened my horizon on the different aspects of Statistics"
~ Kwan Pei Fen, Lee Kuan Yew and Saw Swee Hock Gold Medal Award Winner B.Sc (Honours), 2004 


Chong Yan-Ci Elizabeth, B.Sc. (Hons.) in Statistics, 2007

Someone once said: Statistics may be defined as a body of methods for making wise decisions in the face of uncertainty. How true it is! In my years spent as a student with the Department, I have learnt how to analyse numbers and to search for patterns that can help to make sense of these numbers. The wide range of modules offered allows me to explore the wide real-life applications of statistics. I learn something new in every module.


Dr Pang Zhen, PhD 2006
Assistant Professor
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

With the knowledge and training I received here, I am fully confident that I can do well.  In the future, I hope to take up an academic position in Statistics. All in all, I would highly recommend the higher education programs in the department.


Mr. Eric Sandosham, M.Sc 2002
Director, Decision Management
Citibank Singapore Limited
Winner of Outstanding Alumni Award 2006

The introduction of the part-time MSc program in Statistics was a boon for working individuals like myself; it allowed me to pursue my passion in deepening my scientific knowledge while continuing to make a decent living. The course gave me an appreciation of the breadth of statistical inquiry and application, and was a critical component in setting me down the path of career success.


Professor David Siegmund
Saw Swee Hock Professor of Statistics, 2005

Although the Department of Statistics and Applied Probability was founded only in 1998, its faculty, through their educational programs, collaborative research, and consulting activities, play an important, dynamic role in the university. In addition to research in fundamentals of statistical inference and probability theory, the applied interests of the faculty involve economics/finance, biomedical sciences, and engineering. Especially in view of their youth and their role in educating future leaders of Singaporean society, it is rewarding to participate in the development of the Department. I have always learned something new and interesting during my brief visits in Singapore as external examiner and to attend scientific conferences. I look forward to a longer visit as the Saw Swee Hock Professor, when I expect to learn in more detail from the faculty about their interests and hope to contribute some ideas to research programs in biostatistics and statistical genetics that overlap mine.

"Someone once said, "Statistics may be defined as 'a body of methods for making wise decisions in the face of uncertainty'". How true it is. In my years spent as a student with the Department, I have learnt how to analyse numbers and to search for patterns that can help to make sense of these numbers. The wide range of modules offered allows me to explore the wide real-life applications of statistics. I learn something new in every module!"


Loke Chok Kang, B.Sc. (Hons.) in Statistics, 2005

The world is becoming increasingly quantitative and many business decisions are starting to depend more on numerical information as I learnt from my internships in the Subordinate Courts and CISCO, introduced by the Department. These organizations make the best use of their data to enable them to make better decisions and therefore compete more effectively in the market. There might be a misunderstanding that statistics is just a manipulation of numbers. In fact, statistics is actually the processing of data which are not just numbers but numbers that carry information about a specific setting and which need to be interpreted in that setting. I no longer just accept the data that I see in the news, and have learnt to be more critical towards these data and able to draw more practical conclusions from the data. In a nutshell, statistics make sense of numbers.


Mr. Cheung Yin Bun, M.Sc 2003
Senior Lecturer in Medical Statistics
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

I'm most impressed by the Categorical Data Analysis and Multivariate Data Analysis modules. The concepts and methods were clearly presented, the examples were interesting, and the teaching quality was very good.


Mr. Nathaniel Noriel, M.Sc. 2003

I had been working as an Operations Research Analyst at the Land Transport Authority for one and half years when I joined the part-time Master of Science in Statistics by coursework program in July 2001. I found the part-time schedule to be quite manageable. Interestingly, that arrangement also allowed me to apply many of the techniques that I had learned almost immediately to my work. I didn't have to wait until graduation before I could put my expanded professional toolkit to good use!

I already had a fair amount of previous training in statistics arising from my BSc (Honours) in Mathematics and Economics (Warwick) and from my MSc in Operational Research and Management Science (Edinburgh) degrees. Nevertheless, I applied to do the course as I felt I needed to enhance my statistical training even further both in terms of comprehensiveness as well as in-depth understanding by studying statistics as a mathematical science.

The quality of teaching in the program definitely did not disappoint, and was quite up-to-date. The NUS program is not meant for people who just want to know how to use particular software. I am glad that it has satisfied my need to understand the technical details of how certain statistical methodologies work, as well as their strengths and limitations. As a professional data analyst, I need to be confident that I fully understand the underlying basis and level of reliability of every model that I develop in the course of my work. I also need to convincingly communicate statistical concepts to colleagues at various levels, because encouragingly one finds that fewer people are content with just accepting 'black-boxes' nowadays.

Overall, I would highly recommend NUS M Sc in Statistics (by coursework)to anyone who would like to have a more solid understanding of how statistical methods can provide added-value to their workplace and/or research.