Economics and Decision Sciences

Master of Science Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics is a multidisciplinary graduate degree program with a unique focus. The M.S. degree in Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics is a 30-semester hour (sh) curriculum designed to provide students with a firm foundation of statistical analysis and modeling commonly used in many fields, including education, science, technology, health care, government, business or social science research. Students in this program will be trained on industry-standard software packages and gain modern analytical skills. The need for skilled data professionals is growing. According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, the United States could face a shortage of as many as 190,000 workers with “deep analytical skills” by 2018. This program seeks to combine the course work of statistical decision making and analytic tools to meet the demand for skilled workers in the U.S. and Illinois job markets. With three Fortune 100 companies in the region—John Deere, Caterpillar, and State Farm— the degree program is designed to address strong regional needs and/ or a shortage of graduates in the fields of applied statistics and decision analytics.

Learning Objectives

Building on the recommendations of the American Statistical Association (ASA)’s professional panel of experts, graduates of the M.S. in Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics program will be able to:

  1. Apply advanced statistical methodologies; derive and understand basic theory underlying these methodologies; and formulate and model practical problems for solutions using these methodologies
  2. Produce relevant computer output using necessary and sufficient programming skills and standard statistical software (e.g., SAS, R, STATA, etc.) and interpret the results appropriately
  3. Communicate statistical concepts and analytical results clearly and appropriately to others
  4. Identify areas where ethical issues may arise in statistics

Why WIU?

  • Large enough to offer a wide variety of courses, yet small enough to provide individual attention
  • Faculty members who are genuinely interested in students’ intellectual development
  • Advising tailored to students’ personal needs and educational goals
  • Opportunities for interacting with students from other cultures and countries

Faculty Expertise

The faculty members in the WIU Department of Economics and Decision Sciences take an active and sincere interest in student success. Our faculty are also active in research, so students learn state-of-the-art skills and techniques. All faculty teaching graduate courses have PhDs in economics or statistics.

Career Opportunities

The need for skilled data professionals is real and growing. According to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, United States could face a shortage of as many as 190,000 workers with “deep analytical skills” by 2018. This program seeks to combine the course work of statistical decision making and analytic tools to meet the demand for skilled workers in the U.S. and Illinois job markets. With three Fortune 100 companies in the region—John Deere, Caterpillar, and State Farm—the degree program is designed to address strong regional needs and/or a shortage of graduates in the fields of applied statistics and decision analytics. Due to the shortage of skilled data and business analysts, the market demand is strong for graduates in this field.

Companies Hiring

  • American Medical Association
  • Bank of America
  • Boeing
  • Caterpillar
  • Chicago Board of Trade
  • Exxon
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Honeywell
  • Illinois Power
  • John Deere
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Newsweek
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Principal Financial Group
  • Tennessee Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Comptroller of the Currency
  • U.S. Treasury
  • Walmart
Master's program graduate in cap and gown

Please refer to the graduate catalog for detailed program information and course requirements.

Core Courses

DS 435G Applied Data Mining for Business Decision Making

This course provides an introduction to data mining methods for business applications. Students will learn the basics of data selection, preparation, statistical modeling, and analysis aimed at the identification of knowledge fulfilling organizational objectives.

DS 490G Statistical Software for Data Management and Decision Making

This course provides students with the basic concepts of statistical computing. Students will gain experience with statistical software packages, such as SAS or SPSS, and their applications. Methods of data preparation and validation, analysis, and reporting will be covered.

DS 521 Data Visualization

This course focuses on the process and methods of visualizing information for the purpose of communicating actionable findings in a decision-making context. Hands-on experience with software for sourcing, organizing, analyzing, comprehending, reducing and visualizing data, resulting in a clear message.

DS 523 Management Science Techniques and Business Analytics

Applications of management science tools and techniques for effective decision making with emphasis on model building. Topics include PERT/CPM, transportation models, linear, goal, integer and dynamic programming, and queuing theory.

DS 560 Categorical Data Analysis Using Logistic Regression

This course covers the most commonly used statistical methods for analyzing categorical data. Topics include the use of exact methods, generalized estimating equations, and conditional logistic regression. The statistical package SAS and the freeware package R will be used.

DS 580 Business Analytics and Forecasting

This course introduces analytical models and tools used for continuous iterative exploration and investigation of past business performance to gain insight and drive decision. Predictive modeling, forecasting, and design of experiments will be covered.

Directed Electives

ECON 506 Econometrics I

Elements of the theory and practice of econometrics: including univariate and multivariate single equation models, statistical problems such as multicollinearity, special techniques and applications, and an introduction to simultaneous equations models. Students will complete a project involving hypothesis formulation, data collection, analysis using statistical software, and written presentation of results.

PSY 551 Structural Equation Modeling for the Behavioral Sciences

Structural equation modeling (SEM) and related analytical approaches employed in the behavioral sciences will be explored, with an emphasis on interpretation. Multiple regression and factor analysis will be reviewed. Hands-on training with contemporary SEM software will be provided.

STAT 471G Introduction to Mathematical Statistics I

The mathematical foundations of probability and statistics, principles of probability, sampling, distributions, moments, and hypothesis testing.

STAT 478G Analysis of Variance

A study of analysis of variance and covariance with applications. Includes experimental design.

STAT 553 Applied Statistical Methods

Introduction to probability and statistics with a significant lean toward applications. Topics include probability, probability distributions, Central Limit Theorem, sampling distributions (t, F, Chi-Square), parameter estimation, hypothesis testing, nonparametric statistics, ANOVA, and linear regression.

Exit Options

  • DS 601 Thesis
  • DS 599 Internship and one additional elective
  • ECON 507 Econometrics II and one additional elective

Other Requirements

  • DS 602 Department Seminar, two semesters required
  • DS 604 Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics Assessment

Admission Requirements

For admission to the Master of Science in Applied statistics and Decision Analytics degree program, students should have a 3.0 cumulative GPA and undergraduate preparation in a relevant area, such as, mathematics, statistics, economics, quantitative or biological sciences, sociology, psychology, business, computer sciences, physics, engineering, education. Applicants for admission to the Master of Science degree program in Applied Statistics and Decision Analytics must satisfy the standards for admission to School of Graduate Studies at Western Illinois University.

Application for admission to the School of Graduate Studies must be made online at www.wiu.edu/grad/apply. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution that is accredited by the appropriate U.S. Department of Education regional accrediting agency. Applicants are required to provide proof of such degree by submitting an official degree transcript for each college or university previously attended directly to the School of Graduate Studies. Transcripts on file in the Office of the Registrar at WIU will be obtained by Graduate School personnel.

Admission to any graduate degree program at WIU is contingent upon successful completion of undergraduate coursework specified as a prerequisite. If an applicant is deficient in any or all of the minimum requirements for admission into program, such an applicant may be provisionally admitted into the program subject to the completion of all deficiencies before taking any required courses within the program. The applicants will be duly notified what deficiency courses they need to take at Western Illinois University before they will be allowed to enroll in any of the required courses in the program.

All applicants should have a 3.0 cumulative GPA, the deficiency courses that an applicant may be asked to complete include one year of calculus (Math 133/134 or Math 137/138), Introduction to Probability & Statistics (STAT 276/DS 303/DS 503) or equivalent. Students deficient in any of these areas will be required to take one or more courses to remove these deficiencies prior to enrolling in the courses that are part of the program’s core requirements. Students that do not meet the 3.0 GPA requirement are encouraged to take the GRE and submit the results to strengthen their respective application in the program. Students that wish to apply for an assistantship are also required to provide at least three letters of reference from individuals who can provide meaningful comments on the student’s professional and/or academic background and a statement of interest (not to exceed two pages in length).

Students whose native language is other than English must demonstrate written and spoken English language proficiency. Evaluation of English language proficiency will be based on the student’s scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL®). Students must meet institutionally mandated minimum TOEFL® scores as established by the WIU Center for International Studies.

Contact

Economics and Decision Sciences

Dr. Tara Westerhold, Interim Chair/Associate Professor
Email: TN-Westerhold@wiu.edu
Location: Stipes Hall 430
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1153
Fax: (309) 298-1020

Economics and Decision Sciences Graduate Program Advisor

Dr. Jessica Lin
Email: JL-Lin@wiu.edu
Location: Stipes Hall 424
Phone: (309) 298-1638

College of Business & Technology (CBT)

Dr. John A. Elfrink, Interim Dean
Email: JA-Elfrink@wiu.edu
CBT Email: cbt@wiu.edu
Location: Stipes Hall 101
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-2442
Fax: (309) 298-1039

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