Welcome, first year students! Interested in Statistics and/or Data Science? Read on!
The Department of Statistics and Data Science 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 and data science 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 the AP and IB Exam Credit webpage for information on AP or IB credit.
Good Classes for First Year Students
There are several introductory courses that students should start with to get a sense of whether a Statistics or Data Science major/minor might be a good fit for them.
Introductory Statistics Courses
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 statistical programming (programming aimed at exploring and understanding data) using the 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.
Introduction to General Programming Courses
Programming skills and knowledge are essential for data science work and modern statistical work. All Statistics majors/minors and Data Science majors/minors are required to take either STAT 201 Introduction to Programming for Data Science (preferred) or COMP_SCI 110 Intro to Computer Programming.
The Statistics major, Statistics minor, and Data Science major all 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, Statistics minor, and 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.
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
Like Statistics, Data Science is a discipline that is focused on data and how best to use that data to understand the world around us and to make data-driven decisions. The key difference is that Data Science specializes in using large observational datasets with a goal that is quite often focused on producing a predictive model. Data Science work requires students to pull together knowledge and skills from several fields from both technical and practical perspectives. Accordingly our Data Science majors go through a 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.
- STAT 201 or COMP_SCI 110
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
For general information about Weinberg College, go to the main Weinberg College website.