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College of Science


Statistics is the mathematical and computational study of data and chance. It is a methodological discipline; statisticians often work closely with people in other fields to design production of data and experiments, analyze data and draw conclusions from data.

The Department of Statistics offers two plans of study leading to the Bachelor of Science degree:

1. Applied statistics option — prepares students for careers in applied statistics, statistical programming and other areas that require broad knowledge of statistical ideas and techniques.

2. Mathematical statistics option — prepares students for graduate work in both applied and mathematical statistics or a quantitative field; can lead to a double major in statistics and mathematics.

Students who complete the mathematical statistics option can arrange to obtain the M.S. in Applied Statistics degree in one additional calendar year of study.

Students majoring in another discipline may also choose to pursue a minor in statistics.

Students interested in becoming actuaries should consider the interdisciplinary program in actuarial science jointly administered by the Department of Statistics and the Department of Mathematics. Students who complete a major in actuarial science will also, as a subset of these requirements, already fulfill the requirement for an applied statistics major. Most actuarial science majors also obtain a management minor.

The department also participates in the Professional Practice Program.

Statistics is one of the few major disciplines in which having expertise can have a significant effect in fields as diverse as analytics, bioinformatics and medicine, finance and insurance, management and marketing, agriculture and forestry, economics and education, as well as communications and software design, to name a few.

Statisticians develop methods for collecting and interpreting data gathered in science, government, business and industry, and academia, to aid in the planning, decision making and research crucial to modern society. Statisticians use computers as a tool for analyzing complex or massive data sets and solving mathematical problems. They use statistical methods to discover relationships between disease state and differences in the DNA sequences among individuals; predict election results, population growth or the behavior of financial instruments; establish insurance or quality control standards; determine new drug effectiveness through clinical trials; or estimate the number of animals remaining in a vanishing species.

Statisticians with advanced degrees develop and evaluate statistical methods along with the mathematical and computational theories supporting these methods.

The most recent information about the statistics plans of study and opportunities is available at thedepartment website.