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Master of Applied Statistics

Key facts

  • Available at Manawatū
  • Available via Distance Learning
  • Available for international students studying in NZ

Making sense of the world

The explosion of information and data available to the world has made those who can interpret it indispensable.

What is it like?

Find out more about entry requirements, fees and courses in the planning section.

The explosion in the amount of data available has made those who can interpret this most important asset indispensable.

The Master of Applied Statistics is a high-quality programme combining taught and research courses at postgraduate level. It is a 180 credit qualification able to be completed in 18 months full time.

Learn from experts

Your lecturers in the Master of Applied Statistics are experts in their field, leading international statistical research, with practical applications for worldwide issues. They are researching and applying their expertise in areas like computational techniques to understand and forecast the spread of diseases, and developing statistical models of poverty and malnutrition in third-world countries.

Practical relevance

As a Massey Master of Applied Statistics student you will learn the professional practice of statistics, and the quantitative skills to conduct robust statistical analyses that are effective in the real world.

You will gain competence in the use of statistical software, including the R package. You will graduate with the skills to draw appropriate conclusions from a statistical analysis and be able to communicate them to both a statistical or non-statistical audience.

A multi-disciplinary environment

When you study statistics at Massey, you’ll benefit from the multi-disciplinary environment, and world-leading faculty with expertise in all the sciences.

In-depth research project

You will be able to investigate a topic of interest to you, through the completion of an extended research project.

Why postgraduate study?

Postgraduate study is hard work but hugely rewarding and empowering. A master’s degree will push you towards deeper understanding and a more creative approach.

Not just more of the same

Postgraduate study is not just ‘more of the same’ undergraduate study. It takes you to a new level in knowledge and expertise especially in planning and undertaking research.

A good fit if you:

  • Have an undergrad major in statistics, or equivalent
  • Are excited by the prospect of further study and research in statistics
  • Enjoy team work with people from different subject areas
  • Are confident working with modern information technology
Catherine Lloyd-West
Master of Applied Statistics
Graduated in 2014
Statistician - AgResearch

“I would highly recommend the MApplStat to anyone interested in furthering their understanding of statistics and hoping for a career in (applied) statistics…”

After completing a Bachelor of Technology at Massey I worked for four years at New Zealand Steel near Waiuku in South Auckland doing production planning, production reporting and programming.

After spending 11 years out of the professional workforce, I was fortunate to re-start my career doing sensory statistics at Fonterra’s Research and Development Centre in Palmerston North. I spent several years working as a part-time sensory panellist tasting milk and cheese products.  This work was mostly routine statistical analyses, and I realised that to become involved in projects which involved more challenging statistics I would need to do further study.

As a result of guidance from Professor Martin Hazelton at Massey, I studied the Master of Applied Statistics (MApplStat) programme as a part-time student. I was fortunate that I was able to attend weekly classes in Palmerston North, as I enjoyed the interaction with the lecturers and other students.

I particularly enjoyed assignments which were more open-ended, some of which involved choosing a ‘real world’ data set and applying various statistical techniques to find which was most suitable.

I consider myself to be applied rather than theoretical, so I was very fortunate to then get a job at AgResearch in Palmerston North. It is great being part of a team of statisticians at the Grasslands site, and part of the larger statistics team across the four locations.  Some of the statisticians at AgResearch have worked there for 40 years! It is great being able to draw on their experience. My job involves design and analysis of experimental trials involving grasses, trees and animals, and my master’s research project has led me to become involved with the growing area of genomic selection research on forages such as ryegrass.


It’s a great time to be a statistician! The Wall Street Journal said in 2013 that “Data Crunchers [are] Now the Cool Kids on Campus”. ‘Big Data’ has opened up a huge range of career opportunities for those who are talented in working with figures. Statistics skills can be applied in almost any industry.
Some key industries include:

  • Business: economics, engineering, marketing, computer science, data mining, business analytics
  • Physical sciences: astronomy, chemistry, physics
  • Health and medicine: genetics, clinical trials, epidemiology, pharmacology
  • Government: census, law, national defence
  • Environment: agriculture, ecology, forestry, animal populations

The extra quantitative skills that you get from the statistics qualification can set you apart from other graduates when applying for jobs.

Sought after by employers

International trends are for employers to reward postgraduate study well, especially in larger enterprises. The skills you learn are increasingly recognised as setting you apart from other potential employees.

Earn more

A 2017 Ministry of Education publication The post-study earnings and destinations of young domestic graduates, found that in New Zealand:

  • Young master’s graduates earn more than one and a half times more than the national median (five years after study)
  • Earnings and employment rates increase with the level of qualification completed
  • Five years after completion, the median earnings of young master’s graduates are 15% higher than for those with a bachelor’s degree.

World-leading lecturers and supervisors

Massey’s statistics staff are internationally renowned for their research and teaching and learning methods. You will be working with recognised researchers and specialists, for example:

Professor Geoff Jones

Professor of Biostatistics Geoff Jones’ research interests are in biostatistics, particularly in the use of bayesian methods in epidemiology. His expertise in bayesian latent class analysis for diagnostic test evaluation is acknowledged internationally: he is a member of the OiE (World Organization for Animal Health) Collaborating Centre for Diagnostic Test Validation Science in the Asia-Pacific Region, and teaches workshops at international conferences. Recently he was one of three “international experts” advising the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization on the design and analysis of an investigation into the endemicity of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

He also has expertise in Small Area Estimation, particularly with regard to poverty, acquired through several research contracts with the World Bank and UN World Food Programme.

Prof Jones was the recipient of the Littlejohn Award for 2016. This is the premier research award of the New Zealand Statistical Association, recognizing “excellence in research, based on publications during the five calendar years preceding the date of the award”.

Dr Hazelton was also the recipient of the 2014 Littlejohn Research Award, the New Zealand Statistical Association's premier research award.

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