What qualifications are typically required?
For MSc courses, you are normally expected to have an undergraduate degree, usually at least Second Class Honours.
If the course is an extension course, your undergraduate degree will probably need to be either in statistics itself or in a combination such as mathematics and statistics with a substantial statistics content including high-level material in the final year.
Conversion courses are somewhat different. Undergraduate degrees in statistics or in mathematics and statistics might well be suitable entry qualifications, but these courses are designed more for people whose undergraduate degrees did not contain so much statistics. Degrees in many of the practical sciences, in engineering or in some of the social sciences are likely to be suitable. If your undergraduate degree contained comparatively little statistics (or maybe even none at all), you might need to take some special course units at or before the start of the MSc itself so as to bring you "up to speed" with basic statistical material. This might also apply in respect of mathematical methods and techniques, which underpin all statistical theory.
You should be careful to discuss your background thoroughly with the MSc Course Director or Admissions Tutor, so as to be sure you will be in a position to understand and benefit from the material that will be presented. Be assured that the Course Director/Admissions Tutor will want to help you get the best from the course, and will be happy to answer any questions you have.
In the case of research programmes leading to a degree such as MPhil, the qualifications normally required are broadly similar to those for MSc courses, except that in this case you will be expected to have studied a substantial amount of statistics already within your undergraduate degree.
For PhD research programmes, perhaps the most important point is that it is not necessary to have an MSc degree (or an MPhil degree) first. The usual qualification is again a good undergraduate degree, in the general area of mathematical sciences and containing at least some statistics. There might be more detailed requirements in some cases because of the nature of the research that is going to be undertaken - for example, familiarity with a particular area of statistics, or of mathematics, might be needed. Here again you must be careful to discuss requirements carefully and in detail with the university in advance. You might also wish to take advantage of an extensive Graduate Training Programme which provides subsidised places on intensive residential courses aimed at first and second year PhD students. The courses cover various special areas and are intended to help strengthen participants' theoretical understanding. Information on the Graduate Training Programme is available on our website.
Finally in this section, we certainly must not overlook the position of mature students - that is, people who might not have any of the usual academic qualifications (or any at all!) but who have relevant practical professional experience. Universities often welcome such students because of their commitment and enthusiasm. If you are in this position, do not hesitate to contact universities that appear to be of interest and see if they can help. Our section aimed at people looking for a career change will give you further general information.