Master of Science in Statistical Data Analysis

Quality assurance

People who dare to think about the challenges of tomorrow, that is what we aim for. That is why education at our university is firmly anchored in six major objectives.

  1. Think broadly. Thinking as broadly as possible and offering the opportunity to question oneself. Not only Dare to Think, but also dare to change the way of thinking.
  2. Keep researching. Research is the foundation of our education. Ghent University keeps linking its way of educating to the dynamics of science.
  3. Support Talent. Everyone starts with equal opportunities. Every students gets the opportunity to develop their talents, regardless of gender, cultural or social background.
  4. Build with us. Students, staff, the government and the corporate world all get the chance to contribute to the contents and form of our high quality education. Ghent University is known for its particularly active students in student participation, of which we are very proud.
  5. Push boundaries. We want to prepare our students internationally and interculturally. We give them the opportunity to gain experience across borders. We also open our doors for students from all over the world and welcome teachers and academic staff from abroad.
  6. Choose quality. Constant quality assurance and improvement is an integral part of our culture and we communicate about it openly. We are proud of the level of our university.

Ghent University sees the quality of education as an internal self-evaluation process, in which faculties and programs compare the goals they have set themselves to the achieved results and adjust the policy accordingly. The portfolios constitute an important link in this process. The achieved results are based on quantitative and qualitative information from relevant stakeholders (students, teachers, professional field, international experts, alumni, etc.).The ‘peer learning visits’, the yearly quality meeting and the Education Quality Office (‘OKB’) make sure the PDCA cycle is closed at various policy levels and help to keep the improvement policy sharp.

A detailed description of how Ghent University is constantly paying attention to quality assurance and quality culture can be found in the Ghent University Conduct of Educational Quality Assurance (ERGO).

 

Quality of this study programme

This quality assurance system provides information on the assets, the strengths and the points for improvement for every study programme. A summary for this study programme can be found below:

 

Assets of the study programme

  1. Requirements: Our one-year programme is open to holders of any Master’s degree in a(n) empirical science discipline and builds on students’ scientific attitude by adding a strong statistical layer.
  2. Freedom of choice: We give our students considerable latitude to put together their study programme according to their own background and field(s) of interest.
  3. Bridging theory and practice: We focus on understanding and applying statistical concepts and bridging the world of statistics with empirical sciences. Our students are trained in modern statistical methods with a strong emphasis on applications.
  4. Multidisciplinarity: We train scientists to become responsible and professional statisticians who can work in multidisciplinary teams and who are equipped with creative problem-solving skills, a firm basis of statistical thinking and knowledge of modern statistical methods and their applications.
  5. Multitalented graduates: Students who successfully finish our programme have acquired an advanced level of statistical knowledge and data analytical skills. They are ready to contribute as independent experts to a multidisciplinary team that designs, performs, analyses and reports applied scientific research.

   

Quality assurance: strengths

  1. Our professorial staff consists of motivated lecturers who combine their passion for teaching with excellent research records. All of our staff is engaged in international networks.
  2. Our programme is supported by a multidisciplinary team of lecturers from 7 different faculties and offers a wide range of optional courses. It is this multidisciplinarity that makes our programme so attractive for students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds.
  3. Our programme regularly interacts with the industry and with leading research institutes. Both parties are actively involved in the shaping of our programme.
  4. Our programme focuses on understanding and applying statistical concepts, with many hands-on sessions, and authentic homework and project assignments which makes that our graduates are well prepared for national and international jobs in the private sector as well as in government and in academia.
  5. Our professorial staff and our study programme committee guarantee a continued attention to quality assurance.

 

Quality assurance: focus points with action plan

  1. Communication: we strive to further improve communication with candidate students about the programme’s expectations (positive job outlook, study load, and entrance level of mathematics, programming and communication skills,…), by improving the MaStat website and other communication channels and make them more accessible to candidate students, and by setting up a communication channel between candidate students and alumni..
  2. Study load: some students experience the programme as heavy. The (project)assignments present an ongoing demand on students’ time and on their learning efforts. Particularly our part-time students (combining work with study) and students who are not optimally prepared for this advanced Master’s degree programme, experience a heavy workload. However, after graduation, alumni hardly ever repeat the complaint and they agree that the many hands-on assignments are an essential part of a very effective teaching method. We want to face up to these challenges by improving our communication with candidate students and employers of part-time students, by confining and distributing the study load or study pressure more evenly and by tightening our entrance criteria to ensure that incoming students meet with the necessary. prerequisites.
  3. Study efficiency: more of our students should graduate. Our programme still welcomes too many students with a poor preparatory education. Quite a number of students do not finish their Master’s thesis because they find a job before completing the programme. Some students drop out because they experience the workload as too heavy (e.g. in combination with their fulltime job and personal life). Therefore, we want to improve our communication with candidate students, to confine and distribute the study load or study pressure more evenly, tighten our entrance criteria to ensure that incoming students meet with the necessary prerequisites and actively encourage our students to start their thesis work earlier.

 

An extended analysis of the education policy and programme quality assurance can be found in this report.