Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate in Statistics

The Graduate Certificate in Statistics is ideal if you don't have all the background knowledge for a masters degree in statistics. This part-time distance learning programme runs from late September until early June. Students who perform well on the programme can progress on to the MSc in Statistics. 


To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's online application form for alternative routes and programmes.

Alternative Routes and Programmes
Online Application Form


If you have any questions about this course, contact our postgraduate admissions office.


You can also visit us throughout the year:
Postgraduate open days, visit afternoons and online chats

Deadline for 2019 entry: Friday 16 August

Applications must be supported by two references, including an academic reference if possible. Transcripts and other necessary documentations must also be submitted before the deadline.

Meet our students

We asked some of the students on our Graduate Certificate in Statistics course to share their experiences.

Student stories

About the course

This nine month part-time distance learning course covers the relevant first year undergraduate mathematics, and the relevant first and second year probability and statistical theory. You only have to be in Sheffield for exams in June.

You will be given directed reading and exercises from standard text books. There may also be tailored course material available online. University of Sheffield lecturers will give you feedback and comments on your work, and they'll be available to discuss it with you. Around 20% of your assessment will be based on coursework, with the rest based on your final exams.

Follow the link below to see an example of how course material is delivered.

Graduate Certificate in Statistics: Example content

There are no formal lectures or video-casts but module tutors can help with any questions. Each module has an online forum for discussions. In general, you'll need to dedicate around 20 hours a week to your studies.

An average mark of approximately 65% will usually allow you to progress onto the MSc Statistics, provided you meet the University's English language requirements.

MSc Statistics courses

Preparing for the course

Below are three of the core texts for A Level mathematics. Next to each one chapters covering material you should be familiar with before you start the Graduate Certificate. If you are unfamiliar with any of these topics you should work on them material before you start the course. The titles are from the 'AS and A Level Modular Mathematics' series of the Edexcel exam board:

  • Core1 (ISBN 978-0-435519-10-0) - 1: Algebra and functions; 2: Quadratic functions; 3.1-3.3 Equations and inequalities
  • Core2 (ISBN 978-0-435519-11-7) - 8: Graphs of trigonometric functions
  • Core3 (ISBN 978-0-435519-09-4) - 3: The exponential and log functions

If you want to read some material before you start we recommend you look at some of these sections, which will be covered in the first half of your course:

  • Core1 (ISBN 978-0-435519-10-0) - 3.4 & 3.5: Equations and inequalities; 6: Sequences and series; 7: Differentiation; 8: Integration
  • Core2 (ISBN 978-0-435519-11-7) - 5: The binomial expansion; 7: Geometric sequences and series; 9: Differentiation; 11: Integration
  • Core3 (ISBN 978-0-435519-09-4) - 2: Functions; 8: Differentiation
  • Core4 (ISBN 978-0-435519-07-0) - 5: Vectors; 6: Integration
  • Statistics1 (ISBN 978-0-435519-12-4) - All
  • Statistics1 (ISBN 978-0-435519-13-1) - All
Entry requirements

For this course, we usually ask for a second class (2:1 or 2:2) degree in mathematics  quantitative subject (eg, biochemistry, biomedical science, computer science, economics, medicine, engineering) and a good A Level pass in mathematics, or equivalent. Email if you have any questions about entry requirements.

English Language Requirements

If you have not already studied in a country where English is the majority language, it is likely that you will need to have an English language qualification. We usually ask for:

  • International English Language Testing Service (IELTS): Overall grade of 6.5 with 6.0 in each component

You can find out whether you need to have an English language qualification, and which other English language qualifications we accept, on the University's webpages for international students.

English language requirements

The English Language Teaching Centre offers English language courses for students who are preparing to study at the University of Sheffield.

English Language Teaching Centre

Fees and funding

Up-to-date fees and funding opportunities can be found on the University of Sheffield's webpages for postgraduate students. These may include scholarships for home and international students.

Tuition fees at the University of Sheffield

Common questions

Can I register for the Graduate Certificate if I will also be completing another university degree course at the same time?
No. You are only allowed to be registered for one degree course at any one time.

Is there a residential or full-time version of the Graduate Certificate?
No. We only offer a part-time distance-learning version of the course.

I have a third class mathematics degree with a substantial statistics component. If I pass the Graduate Certificate will I be able to progress onto one of the the MSc courses?
University of Sheffield requirements are that to enter a Masters degree people must have at least a second class honours degree. A good pass in the Certificate is not automatically a substitute for that. The position might be different if there are other factors such as strong support from academic referees who can comment on your original degree and/or extensive relevant post graduation experience in employment. These are things that can only be judged after seeing a full application.

I don't have A Level mathematics (or equivalent). Can I still take the Graduate Certificate?
Usually we ask for at least a grade B in A Level mathematics and preferably a little beyond especially if you are planning to progress to one of the MSc courses. If you don't have A Level mathematics you will need to take it first.

I graduated many years ago so I am not sure how to get an academic reference.
Ideally we would like a reference from someone who can comment on your quantitative skills. If you have a job requiring quantitative skills, then this could be someone in your company for example.

Current modules

The modules listed below are examples from the current academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. 

Compulsory modules:

Mathematical Methods for Statistics

Module leader: Dr Julia Rees

The module introduces the mathematical concepts and methods needed for such a masters course and gives training in their use. It covers ideas and techniques from real analysis and linear algebra, including multiple integration and differentiation and matrix algebra and the theory of quadratic forms.

Probability and Probability Distributions

Module leader: Dr Keith Harris

The module introduces the concepts of probability theory and distribution theory needed for such a masters course, and gives training in their use. It covers the laws of probability and of conditional probability, the concepts of random variables and random vectors and their distributions, and the methodology for calculating with them. It also discusses Laws of Large Numbers and Central Limit phenomena.

Basic Statistics

Module leader: Dr Sammy Rashid

The module introduces the basic concepts of statistical inference and of rational decision-making under uncertainty, and it demonstrates how they may be applied in a wide range of practical circumstances. Implementation of the methodology with appropriate software forms an integral part of the unit.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.