We would like to illustrate a few pathways through the major in statistics. These are examples, and your own path through the major should be constructed based on your background and placement, interests, and with the assistance of the statistics faculty. We strongly recommend that the mathematics core courses (Math 111, Math 121, and Math 271/272) and introductory and intermediate statistics courses (Stat 135 and Stat 230) be completed before the end of the sophomore year. Prospective statistics majors are expected to take Stat 230 before declaring their major. We also recommend majors have Stat 231 before taking the senior capstone, Stat 495.

Statistics majors must take 2 elective courses in statistics and two courses in computer science to satisfy the computing requirement for the major. Students interested in honors or graduate work in statistics have additional suggested coursework below.

No prior mathematics or statistics preparation upon arrival at Amherst College

Interested in a statistics major but have no prior mathematics or statistics preparation? No problem! This pathway starts with introductory courses in the first year, before building to advanced courses. You should take introductory statistics early and take at least one statistics course your second year to see if statistics is really for you. 

Year 1: MATH111, MATH121, COSC111, STAT135
Year 2: STAT230,  MATH272, STAT elective, COSC 112
Year 3: STAT360, STAT370
Year 4: STAT495, STAT elective

Placement out of Introductory Statistics, Stat 111/135

If you have placed out of introductory statistics, then you have the option to start with statistics electives in your first year at Amherst. We still recommend completing the introductory mathematics and computer science courses early on during your time at Amherst.

Year 1: MATH111, MATH121, COSC111, STAT230
Year 2: MATH272, STAT elective, COSC 112
Year 3: STAT360, STAT370
Year 4: STAT495, STAT elective

Advanced Placement in Mathematics

Some students enter with a mathematics placement in courses beyond Math 111. To demonstrate a pathway for these students, we consider a student who has an entering placement of Math 211. A possible pathway for such a student is:

Year 1: COSC111, STAT135
Year 2: STAT230,  MATH272, STAT elective, COSC 112
Year 3: STAT360, STAT370
Year 4: STAT495, STAT elective

A Late Start to the Major (no prior preparation)

If you arrive late at a statistics major, you should carefully plan your completion of the major, paying particular attention to the requirements for enrolling in the senior seminar capstone, Stat 495. We would like to demonstrate that it is possible to complete the major, even if you take a year off from statistics/mathematics. Thus we share this pathway, which imagines a year off as the first year.

Year 1:
Year 2: STAT135, MATH111, MATH121, COSC 111
Year 3: STAT230, STAT360, STAT370, MATH 272, COSC 112
Year 4: STAT495, STAT elective, STAT elective

Study Away

A similar pathway is possible for a student who wishes to study away and not take statistics courses awy (though a number of institutions have a rich set of statistics offerings, see our Study Away page for more information). If you wish to take statistics courses away, please note that you will need to petition for your courses to count towards the major in advance of taking them. If you plan to study away, you should carefully plan your completion of the major, paying particular attention to the requirements for enrolling in the senior seminar capstone, Stat 495. This may mean completing Stat 360 and Stat 370 during your sophomore year.

Year 1: MATH111, MATH121, COSC111, STAT135
Year 2: STAT230, STAT360, MATH272, STAT370, COSC 112
Year 3:
Year 4: STAT495, STAT elective, STAT elective

Transfer Students (some prior preparation)

If you transfer to Amherst and plan to major in statistics, you should carefully plan your completion of the major, paying particular attention to the requirements for enrolling in the senior seminar capstone, Stat 495. This example pathway assumes that you are an incoming junior student who has already completed Math 111, Math 121, and Stat 135.

Year 3: STAT230, STAT360, STAT370, COSC 111, COSC 112
Year 4: STAT495, STAT elective, STAT elective, MATH 272

Students who wish to pursue a thesis in Statistics

A thesis in statistics is available to students with particular interest in the subject and who have qualified as outlined in Honors in Statistics. A possible pathway through the major for such a student with no prior preparation is:

Year 1: MATH111, MATH121, COSC111, STAT135
Year 2: STAT230,  COSC112, STAT elective
Year 3: STAT360, STAT370, MATH272, qualify for honors
Year 4: STAT495, STAT elective, 2 thesis courses

Students who wish to pursue doctoral degrees in Statistics

For students considering a doctoral degree in Statistics, a background in Real Analysis is recommended. We recommend two semesters of Analysis for such students. A possible pathway through the major that includes these two semesters of Analysis, Multivariable Calculus, and additional STAT electives (indicated with *) is:

Year 1: MATH111, MATH121, COSC111, STAT135
Year 2: MATH211, STAT230,  MATH272, COSC112, STAT elective
Year 3: STAT360, STAT370, MATH355*, STAT elective
Year 4: STAT495, MATH450*, STAT elective*

Note that MATH450 is currently offered only every other year at Amherst. However, comparable courses may be found at UMass and elsewhere in the Valley.