Newsletter for the Section on Statistical Education
Volume 3, Number 1 (Winter 1997)
Recently, I approached the Dean and the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in our College about instituting a statistics requirement for all of our undergraduate majors. It was suggested that I try to find out what universities with similar colleges (arts and sciences, sciences, liberal arts and science, etc.) have such a requirement. I sent a request for information on such requirements to the e-mail alias list for the ASA Academic Program Representatives (firstname.lastname@example.org), which has approximately 105 statistics programs represented. Eventually, 46 responses were received concerning statistics requirements at the respective institutions. The results of this informal survey were quite mixed, with only five institutions having a college-wide requirement among colleges other than business administration. Further, only five institutions have a statistics requirement for all or almost all undergraduate students. Listed below are five general categories for the responses received.
Therefore, it is not widely accepted that statistics should be a mandatory part of a core undergraduate curriculum, even for science students. In order for college graduates to be statistically literate going into the next century, perhaps it is time for statisticians nationwide to strive for the addition of a statistics requirement for all undergraduate students. It is as important for educated people to understand basic statistical thinking as it is to be mathematically and computer literate, or to have a knowledge of a foreign language and possess good communication skills.
A similar question on quantitative requirements was earlier posed to a group of "isolated statisticians" by Allan Rossman of Dickinson College. A report on the results of that query can be obtained from him. He may be contacted at the Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science, Dickinson College, P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle PA 17013-2896; email@example.com.
Institutions with colleges requiring Statistics: Clemson-Engr.& Sci.; VCU-Hum. & Sci.; Purdue-Liberal Arts; Carnegie Mellon-Hum.& Soc.Sci.; Guelph-Engr., others (Requiring at least one statistics course: Mathematics, biological science, most physical and social sciences programs); US Coast Guard Acad.; Tennessee-Business; Connecticut-Business; and South Carolina-Journalism.
"Statistics" is one choice for college quantitative requirement: New Mexico-Arts & Sci.; Georgia-Arts & Sci.; Iowa-Liberal Arts; California, Davis-Arts & Sci.; Oklahoma State-Arts & Sci.; Michigan-Lit.,Arts & Sci.; Vermont-Arts & Sci.; Gonzaga U.-Arts & Sci.; Minnesota; and George Washington-Arts and Sci.
Institutions with a university-wide Statistics requirement: Harvard, Pomona, Ohio State (Required university-wide except engineering, physics, chemistry, and astronomy), Wyoming, and Old Dominion.
Statistics is one choice for university "quantitative" requirement: Clemson, Colorado State, Missouri-Columbia, Pennsylvania State, Florida, Kentucky, Iowa State, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, California Poly, Michigan State, Idaho, California-Riverside, East Tennessee State, American, Kansas State, Nebraska-Lincoln, South Carolina, Wisconsin-Madison, Brigham Young, and Connecticut.
No university-wide or college-wide Statistics requirement: Rice, Central Michigan, Oregon State, Bowling Green State, and Delaware.
For further information contact:
Dept. of Statistics
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208
Fax: (803) 777-4048