Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Statistics - MSc, PhD


These programmes offers the opportunity to begin or consolidate your research career under the guidance of internationally renowned researchers and professionals in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science (SMSAS).



Research interests are diverse and include: Bayesian statistics; bioinformatics; biometry; ecological statistics; epidemic modelling; medical statistics; nonparametric statistics and semi-parametric modelling; risk and queueing theory; shape statistics.

Statistics at Kent provides:

  • a programme that gives you the opportunity to develop practical, mathematical and computing skills in statistics, while working on challenging and important problems relevant to a broad range of potential employers
  • teaching and supervision by staff who are research-active, with established reputations and who are accessible, supportive and genuinely interested in your work
  • advanced and accessible computing and other facilities
  • a congenial work atmosphere with pleasant surroundings, where you can socialise and discuss issues with a community of other students.

About the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science (SMSAS)

The School has a strong reputation for world-class research and a well-established system of support and training, with a high level of contact between staff and research students. Postgraduate students develop analytical, communication and research skills. Developing computational skills and applying them to mathematical problems forms a significant part of the postgraduate training in the School. We encourage all postgraduate statistics students to take part in statistics seminars and to help in tutorial classes.

The Statistics Group is forward-thinking, with varied research, and received high rankings in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 for research power and quality.

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science was ranked 25th in the UK for research power and 100% or our research was judged to be of international quality.

An impressive 92% of our research-active staff submitted to the REF and the School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.

Course structure

The research interests of the group are in line with the mainstream of statistics, with emphasis on both theoretical and applied subjects.

There are strong connections with a number of prestigious research universities such as Texas A&M University, the University of Texas, the University of Otago, the University of Sydney and other research institutions at home and abroad.

The group regularly receives research grants. The EPSRC has awarded two major grants, which support the National Centre for Statistical Ecology (NCSE), a joint venture between several institutions. A BBSRC grant supports stochastic modelling in bioscience.


Students often go into careers as professional statisticians in industry, government, research and teaching but our programmes also prepare you for careers in other fields requiring a strong statistical background. You have the opportunity to attend careers talks from professional statisticians working in industry and to attend networking meetings with employers.

Our graduates have started careers in diverse areas such as the pharmaceutical industry, financial services and sports betting.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

Kent’s Computing Service central facility runs Windows. Within the School, postgraduate students can use a range of UNIX servers and workstations. Packages available include R, SAS, MATLAB, SPSS and MINITAB.

Dynamic publishing culture

Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Annals of Statistics; Biometrics; Biometrika; Journal of Royal Society, Series B; Statistics and Computing. Details of recently published books can be found within our staff research interests.

Professional recognition

The taught programmes in Statistics and Statistics with Finance provide exemption from the professional examinations of the Royal Statistical Society and qualification for Graduate Statistician status.

Researcher Development Programme

Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.

Entry requirements

A first or 2.1 in a relevant subject.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country. 

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

Research areas

Biometry and ecological statistics

Specific interests are in biometry, cluster analysis, stochastic population processes, analysis of discrete data, analysis of quantal assay data, overdispersion, and we enjoy good links within the University, including the School of Biosciences and the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology. A recent major joint research project involves modelling the behaviour of yeast prions and builds upon previous work in this area. We also work in collaboration with many external institutions.

Bayesian statistics

Current work includes non-parametric Bayes, inference robustness, modelling with non-normal distributions, model uncertainty, variable selection and functional data analysis.

Bioinformatics, statistical genetics and medical statistics

Research covers bioinformatics (eg DNA microarray data), involving collaboration with the School of Biosciences. Other interests include population genetics, clinical trials and survival analysis.

Nonparametric statistics

Research focuses on empirical likelihood, high-dimensional data analysis, nonlinear dynamic analysis, semi-parametric modelling, survival analysis, risk insurance, functional data analysis, spatial data analysis, longitudinal data analysis, feature selection and wavelets.

Staff research interests

Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.

Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

Dr Diana Cole: Senior Lecturer in Statistics

Branching processes in biology; cell division models; ecological statistics; generalised linear mixed models; identifiability.; parameter redundancy.

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Dr Alfred Kume: Senior Lecturer in Statistics

Shape analysis; directional statistics; image analysis.

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Dr Alexa Laurence: Lecturer in Statistics

Medical statistics and applied statistics.

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Dr Fabrizio Leisen: Senior Lecturer in Statistics

Bayesian nonparametrics; MCMC, Urn models; Markov and Levy processes; Move-to-Front and Move-to-Root allocation rules.

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Dr Owen Lyne: Lecturer in Statistics

Stochastic epidemic models; applied probability; simulation; statistical inference; goodness of fit; branching processes; martingales; medical education.

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Dr Rachel McCrea: Research Associate

Integrated population modelling of dependent data structures.

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Professor Byron Morgan: Professor of Applied Statistics

Biometry; cluster analysis; stochastic population processes; psychological applications of statistics; multivariate analysis; simulation; analysis of quantal assay data; medical statistics; ecological statistics; overdispersion; estimation using transforms. 

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Professor Martin S Ridout: Professor of Applied Statistics

Analysis of discrete data in biology; generalised linear models; overdispersion; stochastic models; transform methods.

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Professor Jian Zhang: Professor of Statistics

Semi and non-parametric statistical modelling; statistical genetics with medical applications; Bayesian modelling; mixture models; neuroimaging.

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Dr Xue Wang: Lecturer in Statistics

Bayesian nonparametric methods; copula function with its applications in finance; wavelet estimation methods.

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The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

Statistics - MSc by Research at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £4260 £15200
Part-time £2130 £7600
Statistics - PhD at Canterbury:
UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £4260 £15200
Part-time £2130 £7600

For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 


Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both: