Major Explorations: Statistics

The statistics curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students preparing for postgraduate work in statistics or allied careers, as well as to provide the insights of statistics to other students whose area of specialization lies outside statistics.

Statistics majors at Amherst take introductory and intermediate courses in statistics and data science, with upper-level required courses in probability and theoretical statistics, as they work to satisfy the learning goals for the major. There is a wide range of elective statistics courses available to fulfill the major. Majors engage in some coursework in Mathematics (calculus) and Computer Science to help complete the major. Some Statistics majors choose to write a thesis in Statistics and graduate with departmental honors in Statistics. The department also has Prizes and Awards available to students at various steps of their Statistics major.

For Non-Majors and New Students

Non-majors and new students may find answers to some of their questions on our dedicated page for those topics. Another good starting page is our Placement page.

Major Requirements

The statistics major requires students to complete a total of 12 courses, including some calculus and computer science courses. For details, you should check out our detailed major requirements. Students may place out of some courses, particularly the introductory calculus sequence and introductory statistics.

Comprehensive Evaluation

All Statistics majors will enroll in the capstone course STAT 495 (Advanced Data Analysis). Successful completion of this course satisfies the comprehensive evaluation in Statistics. 

Honors Program

For a degree with Honors, a student must have demonstrated the ability to pursue independent work fruitfully and exhibit a strong motivation to engage in research. To apply to the Honors Program, students must have an average grade of B+ or higher in Statistics 230, 231, 360, and 370. Students are admitted to the Honors Program on the basis of a thesis proposal, which must be accepted by the department. More information about the Honors Program, including course requirements, can be found on the Department website.

If a student is accepted to the Honors Program, they will finalize a topic in consultation with the Statistics faculty. After intensive study of this topic, the candidate will write a report in the form of a thesis which should be original in its presentation of material, if not in content. In addition, the candidate will report to the departmental colloquium on her or his thesis work during the senior year.

Study Away

It is easy to combine the statistics major with a semester or year spent away from campus, but planning is needed to satisfy the requirements for the senior seminar in Statistics.  See Study Away.