Resources for Statistics Undergraduate Minors

A minor in statistics is designed to encourage students studying in another discipline to gain a deeper understanding of statistics than might be gained from just one or two introductory courses. Colleges and universities are encouraged to set up minors in statistics so that, depending on the situation, students either have an opportunity for focused study in statistics without completing the major or they have some opportunity if the college or university has no statistics major.

We recommend that colleges and universities follow their own school guidelines with respect to the number and types of courses required and the name of the group of courses (e.g., concentration, minor, or track). It is particularly beneficial for a first course to be available to freshmen (or at least sophomore) students and for additional courses to be available immediately after. Students who have an opportunity to explore their interest in statistics fairly early in their college career will be more likely to find time for additional courses. What follows is the description of a minor as we understand it.

The number of courses required for a minor may vary, typically from five to seven, depending on individual institutions. As students will be undertaking the coursework for this minor in addition to requirements for a major in another area, the recommended requirements focus on courses in statistics, without including other courses in mathematics or computer science. Although some of the possible statistics electives might have mathematical prerequisites, a student should be able to complete a statistics minor without taking a calculus course. Students should use professional statistical software in their coursework. Note that courses from several departments might be allowed to count toward a statistics minor, although care must be taken so the content of each course differs substantially from the others.

By a concentration, track, or program in statistics, we mean a collection of courses within the student's major department (such as mathematics) that demonstrates a special focus in the field of statistics. We assume additional courses from the discipline would be used to complete the major.

Curriculum Guidelines for a Minor/Concentration in Statistics

1. Core Statistics Topics (2 courses)

A sequence of two courses (for example, an introductory statistics course and an applied regression course) structured to cover the core topics of data production, inference, and applied modeling should be included. These topics and possible courses are described more fully in the position papers on majors in BS and BA programs. Courses in a student's major discipline that overlap substantially with either course in the core sequence may be substituted.

2. Electives (3 to 5 courses)

Courses include any that would qualify as electives for the major in statistics, probability, and, in the case of minors, courses in other disciplines (e.g., econometrics) that have a substantial statistical component distinct from the introductory material in the core sequence.

Examples of Statistics Undergraduate Minors/Concentrations/Tracks/Programs

Position Papers