Getting Started in the Statistics Major

We are delighted that you are considering a major in statistics! The information below will help you get started thinking about which courses to take first (even if you don't decide to major). You don't need to have taken any advanced courses in high school to be a statistics major - just make sure you follow our placement advice so that you start in the right place. If you are interested in learning more about the statistics major, we recommend you talk with a statistics professor. We are all happy to discuss the course requirements with you, and we can advise you on appropriate pathways through the major given your experience and interests.

Once you have decided to declare the major, begin the process by filling out and submitting the departmental declaration form.  After submitting that form, you will be contacted by the Department Chair. The last step in the process of declaring the Statistics major is to submit a Declaration of Major form to the Registrar's office.

Note that the recommendations for courses below hold for potential majors and non-majors alike.

Your First Statistics Course

The default Introductory Statistics course offered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics is STAT 135 - Introduction to Statistics via Modeling, but the recommendation may be adjusted based on a student's experience with statistics and/or their Mathematics Placement. Here are example placements:

  • No experience with statistics and a Mathematics Placement of MATH 105, 111i, or 111?
    • STAT 111 - Introduction to Statistics
  • No experience with statistics and a Mathematics Placement of MATH 121 or higher?
    • STAT 135 - Introduction to Statistics via Modeling
  • AP Statistics score of 3 or 4 (regardless of Mathematics Placement)?
    • STAT 135 - Introduction to Statistics via Modeling
  • AP Statistics score of 5 (regardless of Mathematics Placement)?
    • Placed out of introductory statistics (STAT 111, 135, and 136); may take STAT 230 - Intermediate Statistics or another 200-level statistics course with an intro stats requirement
  • IB (HL) with the Statistics Option with a score of 6 or 7 (regardless of Mathematics Placement)?
    • Placed out of introductory statistics (STAT 111, 135, and 136); may take STAT 230 - Intermediate Statistics or another 200-level statistics course with an intro stats requirement

STAT 136 (Exploring Mental Health Inequities via Statistics) is an alternative to STAT 135. STAT 136 may be considered by students with a placement of STAT 135.

Additional Notes

  1. A student can only take ONE of STAT 111, STAT 135 or STAT 136 for credit.
  2. Any student interested in majoring in Statistics and/or Mathematics should enroll in STAT 135 or 136 rather than STAT 111.
  3. Any student initially placing into STAT 111 will have their Statistics Placement updated to STAT 135 upon completion of MATH 105 and 106 or MATH 111 at Amherst College (or an equivalent course elsewhere).
  4. It is not expected that a student enrolled in STAT 111, STAT 135, STAT 136, or STAT 230 will have any prior experience with statistical software.

Preparation for Additional Courses

Any student who completes STAT 111, PSYC 122, or who has placed out of introductory statistics (STAT 111, STAT 135, or STAT 136), and intends to pursue additional courses in statistics with an introductory statistics pre-requisite (such as STAT 230, STAT 231, and STAT 240) should:

  1. Review the material in an "Introduction to Multiple Regression" chapter; this material is covered in STAT 135 and STAT 136 and is assumed background in STAT 230 and statistical electives.
  2. See Preparation for a Statistics Courses.
  3. Contact the instructor of the course in which they hope to enroll before registering.

Before Declaring

Students intending to major in Statistics are expected to complete Intermediate Statistics (STAT 230) prior to declaring. We also strongly encourage you to explore the major with an appropriate elective before declaring as well. Recent electives that only require introductory statistics include Nonparametric Statistics (STAT 225) and Multivariate Data Analysis (STAT 240).