First, we should say that serious recruitment to the profession of statistician is quite often at postgraduate level. It is of course possible to work as a statistician without a postgraduate qualification, and there are many opportunities to enter a statistical career with an undergraduate degree or even as a school leaver. But if your undergraduate degree contained only a limited amount of statistics, then postgraduate study provides a way of gaining a full professional training in the subject. Even students who have studied a substantial amount of statistics at undergraduate level often find that postgraduate training gives very helpful further grounding for later work. The additional qualification can also sometimes give an edge in the job market. Furthermore, there are some job opportunities, particularly where an element of research is involved, where a postgraduate qualification will be expected.
There are two broad types of postgraduate qualifications - those that are achieved through a taught course and those that are achieved through a programme of research.
Taught courses usually lead to a Master of Science (MSc) degree. Programmes of research usually lead towards the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), though there are also research programmes that are shorter or less intensive that lead to a degree that is often called MPhil. Other degree titles are also occasionally used. These types of qualifications are described below.
To be eligible for admission to study for a postgraduate qualification, you would normally be expected to have an undergraduate degree in statistics and/or mathematics. However, some opportunities are also available for people with undergraduate degrees in other subjects. Details are given in the separate sections below.