Master of Science (MSc)

Meet Yifan Li, MSc alum in Statistics

“During my Master’s program, I was able to prepare the related knowledge, explore different areas and discover my research interests. It lays out the foundation for me to further proceed in PhD.”

Why did you come to Western for your graduate degree?
There are two reasons. First, there was a “3+1+1” joint program between Western and my undergraduate university. I happened to have some interest to work with a professor at Western, so I decided to join this program. I came to Western in my senior year as an exchange student, and then proceeded to my Master's program.

Describe your research.
In general, my research is to develop a new collection of theoretical tools to better understand and handle model-level uncertainty in statistical methodology. Model uncertainty is a long existing concern in statistics, financial modeling, risk management and actuarial science. It is essentially difficult to handle within the classical probability. Our current focus is to start from a generalization of the classical probability system through the lens of nonlinear expectation. Then we can understand the model uncertainty from a bottom-up view.

Have you worked as a research or teaching assistant?
My RA work mostly involves research with my supervisors. It has been very helpful in preparing the core part of my future research. As a TA, I have gained a lot from leading tutorials. It has been a great opportunity to develop my teaching skills, particularly in how to explain concepts intuitively to students. Through the tutorials, I have been able to form my teaching philosophy, which has been beneficial in preparing for course teaching during my PhD study. Additionally, through the combination of RA and TA, I gradually formed good habits in workflow and time management.

What are you most passionate about?
The beauty of math and the profound impact brought by math; the underlying logic or principles behind a powerful algorithm or a “mysterious” phenomenon; the nature of the universe (both deterministic and uncertain aspect); how to better do the balance between the “theoretical world” and “real world”; among other things.

What is it about your grad program that enables you to thrive?
I think there are two key components – the atmosphere and community. The atmosphere in our department is open, flexible, and immersive. We have enough freedom in terms of the course study. I have even audited several courses outside our department just to explore various areas and broaden my mind. I have also benefited a lot from the discussions with professors during office hours. For the community, the staff and professors in our department are passionate and supportive. During my Master’s program, I got contacted by a professor from my undergraduate university who was visiting Fields institute at that time. My supervisor immediately invited him to give a colloquium talk in our department, and we had an important discussion regarding our research. Our department provided strong support to make this proceed smoothly.

Program Websites

Program Contact

Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Western University
Western Science Centre Rm 262
London, Ontario N6A 5B7

t. 519-661-2098
f. 519-661-3813

Our department's Master’s program encompasses three fields: Statistical Theory, Actuarial Science and Financial Modelling. Students in the Statistical Theory field will study probability, inference, statistical computing and data analysis in depth. Students in the Actuarial Science field will learn about survival analysis, risk, ruin, mortality and their connections with finance. Students in the Financial Modelling field will learn the theory and application of deterministic and stochastic models used in the banking industry.

Program Length

  • 3 Terms (Project-based)
  • 6 Terms (Thesis-based)

Program Design

  • Full-time study
  • Project based or thesis-based

Funding Information

Applicants are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships (if eligible):

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fee schedules (per term) are posted on the Office of the Registrar's website at

Graduate Student Affordability Calculator

Use this helpful tool to estimate how much money you will need to pay for your tuition, fees, housing, food, and other necessities for a 12-month (three term) academic year.

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate degree from a recognized institution with sufficient background in Statistics, Actuarial Sciences and/or Financial Modelling.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language by a satisfactory achievement within the last two years in one of the following:

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). iBT (internet-Based Test): The minimum acceptable score is 86, with no individual score below 20. PdT (Paper-delivered Test): The minimum acceptable total score is 65, with no individual score below 20. Please note that some programs require a higher minimum and/or band score. [Western's TOEFL ID is 0984].
  • The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS Academic).The minimum acceptable score is 6.5 out of 9. The IELTS is offered in 6 test centres in the US and 3 in Canada.
  • The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL Assessment). The minimum acceptable score is 60. The CAEL Assessment is offered in several countries throughout the world as well as Canada.
  • Western English Language Centre. The requirement is successful completion of the High-Advanced level.
  • Fanshawe College’s ESL Program. The requirement is graduation from Level 10, English for Academic Purposes, with a minimum 80% in all components.

Application Deadline

  • February 15 - International Applicants
  • July 1 - Domestic Applicants

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Completed applications are reviewed on a continuous basis. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Fields of Research

  • Actuarial Science
  • Financial Modelling
  • Statistics