If you are thinking about majoring in statistics, you should talk to a statistics professor (Profs. Bailey, Correia, Donges, Horton, Liao, Matheson, and Wagaman). In the meantime, this page provides an outline of the requirements for a major. (The catalog is the official word on these matters, so read it, too.) If you are trying to pick a statistics course in order to explore the topic, please see our suggestions for choosing a statistics course.
As you proceed through the major or are trying to decide if you can complete it, check out the following overview of the major:
as well as our checklist (you can make a copy of the Google form in your own Google Drive or download a PDF version):
You might also want to check out our example pathways through the statistics major. Please note that prospective majors are expected to take STAT 230 before declaring the statistics major.
Students who wish to declare the major should begin the process by filling out and submitting the departmental declaration form here. Please familiarize yourself with: the Statistics Major Checklist and planning sheet on the back for a potential path through the major (available as a Google form above). After submitting the departmental declaration form, you will be contacted by the Statistics Chair (Prof. David Cox). The last step in the process of declaring the Statistics major is submitting a Declaration of Major form to the Registrar's office.
Course Requirements for the Major in Statistics
The statistics major requires 12 total courses, in several areas, as follows:
Required Math Background Courses
- Introduction to the Calculus (MATH 111)
- Intermediate Calculus (MATH 121)
Required (Core) Statistics Courses
- Introduction to Statistics (STAT 111, 135, or 136, STAT 135 or 136 strongly recommended)
- Intermediate Statistics (STAT 230)
- Data Science (STAT 231)
- Probability (STAT 360, typically offered only in the Fall semester)
- Theoretical Statistics (STAT 370, typically offered only in the Spring semester)
- Advanced Data Analysis (STAT 495) - capstone course
Statistics majors may not apply* a Pass grade from an FGO or pass/fail option to any of the core courses required for the statistics major: STAT 111/135/136, 230, 231, 360, 370, or 495 (exceptions by petition to the department).
*For the 2020-21 academic year only, Mathematics and Statistics students may apply a Pass grade from an FGO or pass/fail option to any course taken in 2020-21 required for the Math or Stat majors (including core courses) with the following restrictions: no more than one Pass grade may be applied to the Math or Stat major per term (Fall 20, January 21, Spring 21), and at most two total Pass grades from Fall 20, January 21, or Spring 21, can be applied to the Math or Stat major.
*For the Spring 2020 semester only, Mathematics and Statistics students may apply a Pass grade from an FGO or pass/fail option to any course taken in Spring 2020 required for the Math or Stat majors (including core courses).
Statistics majors must take at least 4 courses from among groups A, B, and C below. The combination of courses counted towards the Statistics major must be one of the following:
- 3 courses from group (A), and 1 course from group (B);
- 2 courses from group (A), and 2 courses from group (B);
- 2 courses from group (A), 1 course from group (B), and 1 course from group (C);
- 1 course from group (A), 2 courses from group (B), and 1 course from group (C).
- (A) Statistics courses numbered 200 or above (statistical breadth);
- (B) Computer Science courses: COSC 111, COSC 112, COSC 211, COSC 311 (computing requirement);
- (C) A course numbered 200 or above that has been approved by the department as part of a student's declared domain application, or a course from the following list of pre-approved courses that supplement the statistics curriculum:
BIOL/CHEM 250, COSC 254, COSC 257, COSC 355, MATH 271, MATH 272, MATH 355, MATH 365.
Statistics majors are strongly encouraged to ensure that their course of study includes depth in a domain application (e.g., astronomy, environmental studies, political science, psychology, or sociology). Majors are encouraged to discuss with their academic advisor which courses might be approved as part of a domain application as described in group (C). Note that for double majors, MATH 111, MATH 121, and at most one other course (usually MATH/STAT 360) can be counted towards both the Mathematics and Statistics majors. Aside from this permitted overlap, statistics, mathematics or computer science courses counted towards the statistics major may not also be counted towards the mathematics major.
For All Majors - Information on Placing Out and Petitions
Depending on the background, statistics majors may place out of several of these courses. Students who have placed out of calculus, introductory statistics, or introductory computer science are excused from taking those courses. Statistics majors may place out of up to three courses without having to replace those courses. Students placing out of more than three courses must replace all but three of those courses with additional courses approved by the Department to complete the major.
To gain approval for an alternate or a replacement elective, students must file a petition for the Department to consider. To submit a petition, email your advisor or the chair of the Department with relevant information about the course to be considered, for example, a syllabus from a recent semester of the course or a link to the course description.
Students planning to attend graduate school in statistics are strongly advised to take MATH 211 (Multivariable Calculus), MATH 271 or 272 (Linear Algebra), MATH 355 (Introduction to Analysis), and MATH 450 (Measure Theory and Integration), and additional courses with a focus on computation and algorithmic thinking. Please see the pathway through the major for graduate school for additional suggestions on courses of study to prepare for graduate school in statistics.
Double Majoring in Mathematics and Statistics
Double majors in mathematics and statistics must complete a total of 20 courses. MATH 111, MATH 121, and at most one other course (usually MATH/STAT 360) can be counted towards both majors. Aside from this permitted overlap, statistics courses or computer science courses counted towards the statistics major may not also be counted towards the mathematics major. Double majors should fill out both major checklists and are encouraged to consult with faculty in the Department to verify that they have satisfied all requirements.
Other Aspects of the Statistics Major
- Departmental Colloquium: All students majoring in Statistics are expected to attend Statistics colloquia during their junior and senior years.
- Domain Application: In conjunction with their advisor, statistics majors are encouraged to ensure that their course of study includes depth in a domain application(e.g., sociology, psychology, or environmental science).
- 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.
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