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First-Year Focus

Welcome, first year students! Interested in Statistics? Read on!

Why study statistics?

Statistics is the scientific discipline that deals with the collection, organization, analysis, display, and interpretation of data. Statisticians work in many areas, ranging from research in the biological, social and physical sciences to applications in law, medicine, government decision-making, finance, accounting, engineering, and actuarial work. A major in Statistics is a good choice for students with strong math skills together with interests in one of these areas and many Statistics majors have a second major in some field in which statistical methods are used.


The department is distinguished by the faculty’s strong interest in the application of statistics. Professor Larry Hedges works on the application of statistical methods to education policy; he was nominated recently by President Obama to serve on the National Board of Education Sciences. Professor Bruce Spencer has worked with the Census Bureau on how to estimate population and on how to evaluate the accuracy of such estimates; he has also developed methods for assessing the accuracy of verdicts in jury trials. Professor Sandy Zabell is interested in forensic DNA identification and in other legal applications of statistics. Professor Jiping Wang has developed statistical methods for analyzing genomic and genetic data.

AP Exam Credit

Please see for information on AP credit

Good Classes for First Years

The introductory statistics courses are Statistics 202 and Statistics 210; you may only take one of these for credit. Statistics 210 is a requirement for the Economics majors and thus has a slightly different emphasis than Statistics 202. If you are thinking about majoring in Economics, you should take Statistics 210; otherwise, either course provides a good introduction to statistical methods.

Math Courses

The Statistics major requires a five-course sequence of calculus and linear algebra, such as Math 220, 224, 230, 234, and 240. However, the Math department offers many other equivalent sequences and you should take the sequence that is appropriate for your background. See Placement in Calculus and non-Calculus Courses from the Math department for detailed information about calculus placement.

Statistics Courses for Majors

Statistics 320-1, 2, 3 is a year-long sequence on statistical theory and methodology and it is the prerequisite for more advanced courses in statistics; 320-1 is offered in the fall, followed by 320-2 in the winter and 320-3 in the spring. Students taking 320-1 need to have taken, or being taking at the same time, Math 234 (or the equivalent). Math 240 is a prerequisite for 320-3. Ideally, the Statistics 320 sequence is taken in the sophomore year.


Further information about the Statistics major and minor is available on our website. If you have further questions, you can contact

Director of Undergraduate Studies for StatisticsProfessor Sandy Zabell 

Department Chair, Professor Larry Hedges

For general information about Weinberg College, go to the main Weinberg College website.

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