Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians

The Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians, founded by Leslie Kish, is offered as part of the Summer Institute. The program combines university classes with practical application in research methods. It is especially useful for statisticians studying at other universities, which have few courses during the summer. The program is designed chiefly, but not exclusively, for statisticians from less developed countries who want to aim their careers at survey sampling in their own countries. We have graduates in over 100 countries.  The Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians start date is May 23, 2020.


The Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians is an eight-week program consisting of three courses: a course in methods (SurvMeth 625), a course on the analysis of complex sample survey data (SurvMeth 614), and a hands-on daily workshop (SurvMeth 616.)

Students participating in the Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians (SPSS) enroll in only these three courses and are considered Fellows in the Program. The methods and the analysis courses may be taken without being a Fellow. The workshop is reserved only for Sampling Program Fellows and cannot be taken alone.


Widespread demand exists for statisticians trained in both theory and practice of survey sampling.  The scarcity of these skills is most critical in less developed countries, where social and economic surveys are needed to plan, assess and interpret the rapid changes of developing countries.  Sample surveys are used to estimate natural resources; to estimate production and demand for goods; to assess human resources and problems; to obtain data on demography, health, and fertility; to measure community attitudes and development; and to evaluate the success of community projects and other social programs.  Skilled statisticians are needed to perform key functions in applying mathematical statistics to practical social problems.  Although experts from outside can and should help, the need must be met chiefly, and eventually, through proper training of local talent

What is Survey Sampling?

Survey sampling is a technical field that combines statistical theory with applications to complex practical problems. The ideal candidate holds an MA or BA degree, with high standing and special recommendations. The major field of study should have been in mathematics or statistics, perhaps combined with an applied field, such as physics, engineering, agronomy, demography, economics, or sociology. He or she works in a central statistical office, research institute, or university; has read in statistics and survey sampling; has done some practical work in statistics or survey sampling; and now wants to get advanced training that combines theory and practice. He or she is a motivated individual and is in a position to apply our sampling training to practical and important problems in his own country. The program is not designed for merely theoretical learning and academic advancement.

Leslie Kish International Fellowship

To apply for the Leslie Kish International Fellowship award, complete the following by February 15, 2020:

We will need all of the items listed above before your fellowship application will be fully considered.

Availability of Funds

We strongly encourage all fellowship applicants to seek out additional sources of funding in order to have the full financial support needed to participate in the Summer Institute. Because Program funds are limited, awardees may be offered support which will only cover Summer Institute course fees. Only in exceptional circumstances will awards include travel and stipend support. Leslie Kish International Fellowship recipients are required to apply for the Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians program and enroll in Analysis of Complex Survey Data, Methods of Survey Sampling, and Workshop in Survey Sampling Techniques.

Leslie Kish

Leslie Kish was Co-founder and Research Scientist Emeritus of the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, and Professor Emeritus of the Department of Sociology. In a professional career spanning more than six decades, he was a distinguished scientist, statistician, and professor, developing many important tools in survey sampling and stimulating research into a wide range of problems.

In 1961 Professor Kish founded the Sampling Program for Foreign Statisticians (the Sampling Program for Survey Statisticians today) devoted to training statisticians from developing countries, as well as others, in sound probability sampling methods for diverse complex survey research problems. The Sampling Program has trained more than 500 participants from over 100 countries since its inception. He was instrumental in the teaching and administration of this program for nearly 40 years.

When Professor Kish died in 2000, the Institute for Social Research established the Leslie Kish International Fellowship to recognize his scholarly achievements and devotion to teaching. Funds are used to support Summer Institute participants from outside the U.S. studying survey sampling.