Welcome, first year students! Interested in Statistics and/or Data Science? Read on!
The Department of Statistics offers a Major in Statistics, a Minor in Statistics, a Major in Data Science, and a Minor in Data Science. In addition to these, the department also offers a Combined BA/MS in Statistics program where qualified students can earn a BA/BS and an MS in Statistics in 5 years.
The department’s faculty have research interests which include the application of statistical methods in education, social policy, forensics, law, sports, finance, medicine, genetic research, pharmaceutical research, machine learning, and data management.
AP or IB Exam Credit
Please see https://www.weinberg.northwestern.edu/undergraduate/first-year-transfer/first-year/placement-and-credit/ap-and-ib-exams/ for information on AP or IB credit.
Good Classes for First Year Students
The introductory statistics courses are STAT 202 Introduction to Statistics & Data Science and STAT 210 Introduction to Probability and Statistics. You may only take one of these for credit. This includes if you have received AP Exam credit for one of them as this counts as having taken the course.
STAT 202 is encouraged for any student interested in majoring or minoring in Statistics or Data Science in part because STAT 202 includes an introduction to the statistical programming language R.
STAT 210 is a requirement for the Economics majors and thus has a slightly different emphasis than STAT 202; STAT 210 instead spends more time covering the basic elements of mathematical probability.
If you are thinking about majoring in Economics, you should take STAT 210; otherwise, either course provides a good introduction to statistical methods. We also suggest checking the requirements of other majors/minors you might be considering as some may require an introductory statistics course and may specify which course is preferred.
The Statistics major, minor, and the Data Science major require a sequence of calculus and linear algebra. You can find the standard required courses on the requirements page for the Statistics major, Statistics minor, and the Data Science major. The Mathematics department offers many sequences that are equivalent to the ones listed on the requirements pages and you should take the sequence that is appropriate for your background. See the Mathematics department's First-Year Focus page for more information about calculus placement.
The Math courses are pre- or co-requisites for the STAT 320 Statistical Theory and Methods courses required for the Statistics major, minor, and the Data Science major. Ideally, the STAT 320 courses are taken in the sophomore year. This is especially important for Statistics majors and minors as it is prerequisite for many of the more advanced courses in statistics.
Computer Science Courses
Programming skills and knowledge and are essential for data science work and can be very useful for statistical work. Data Science majors are required to take either COMP_SCI 110 (preferred) or COMP_SCI 111. Although not required, we highly recommend all Statistics majors, Statistics minors, and Data Science minors take either COMP_SCI 110 Intro to Computer Programing (preferred) or COMP_SCI 111 Fundamentals of Computer Programming.
In 2022-2023 the department will also be offering a trial course STAT 201 Intro to Programming for Data Science for First Year students interested in either the Data Science major or minor. This course may be taken as a replacement for the introductory programming requirement for the Data Science major.
The Statistics Major and Minor
Major in Statistics
Statistics is the scientific discipline that deals with the collection, organization, analysis, display, and interpretation of data. A major in Statistics is a good choice for students with strong math skills together with interests ranging from research in the biological, social and physical sciences to applications in law, medicine, government decision-making, finance, accounting, engineering, and actuarial work. Many Statistics majors have a second major in some field in which statistical methods are used.
Statistics Majors take both statistics courses and related mathematics courses.
Read more about majoring in Statistics
Minor in Statistics
Much like the major in Statistics, the minor in Statistics is a good choice for students with strong math skills together with interests ranging from research in the biological, social and physical sciences to applications in law, medicine, government decision-making, finance, accounting, engineering, and actuarial work. Unlike the major, the minor does not include the development of a broader set of statistical approaches, tools, and knowledge for a wider range of application. The minor equips students with standard statistical knowledge and tools while also setting them up to be able to self-learn new techniques and methods.
Statistics minors take both statistics courses and prerequisite mathematics courses.
Read more about minoring in Statistics
The Data Science Major and Minor
Major in Data Science
Starting this Fall 2022, the department will offer a major in Data Science designed to train more specialized data scientists through a more rigorous and comprehensive curriculum that integrates mathematics, statistics, computer science and other domain science courses.
Prior to declaring the major in Data Science, students are required to complete 3 courses that provide the student with experience in the fundamental components of Data Science:
- STAT 202 or STAT 210 or STAT 232 (may be fulfilled by receiving AP credit for STAT 210)
- One of the MATH courses required for the major (MATH 220-1, 2 or MATH 230-1 or MATH 240 or their equivalent courses) taken at Northwestern. Which MATH course a student will take as their first MATH course at Northwestern depends on their placement as determined by AP/IB credit and the Mathematics Department as well as the MATH sequence requirements of any other majors/minors the student intends to pursue. Please see https://www.math.northwestern.edu/undergraduate/first-year-focus/index.html for more guidance on MATH courses.
- COMP_SCI 110 or COMP_SCI 111 (or STAT 201* - option for First Year students only)
For more details, please see Declaring a Major in Data Science
Minor in Data Science
The department offers a minor in Data Science designed to provide training in data science complementary to student’s major focus with an emphasis on data analytics and visualization.
The assignment of students to a Data Science Minor Cohort and declaration of the minor happens annually in spring quarter. Incoming first year students interested in the minor should join the Data Science Minor Declaration Interest List in Fall quarter of their first year.
Learn more about the Minor in Data Science, the cohorts, the declaration process, and the Data Science Minor Declaration Interest List here
Information about the Statistics major and minor and the Data Science major and minor and their declaration processes is available on our website. If you have further questions, you can contact us at email@example.com
For general information about Weinberg College, go to the main Weinberg College website.
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