Statistics Major Approved

The Faculty voted to approve a Major in Statistics. See the report and the editorial in the Williams Record.

Description of the Major in Statistics:

The major in Statistics is designed to meet three goals: to introduce some of the central ideas of information and data science, to develop problem-solving ability by teaching students to combine creative thinking with rigorous reasoning, and to develop interdisciplinary skills by applying statistics to an application area of interest.

REQUIREMENTS (ten courses plus colloquium)

Mathematics (2 courses)

MATH 150 or 151 Multivariable Calculus or equivalent high school course

MATH 250 Linear Algebra

Except in unusual circumstances, students planning to major in statistics should complete the calculus sequence (MATH 130, 140, 150/151) before the end of the sophomore year, at the latest.

Computer Science (1 course)

CSCI 134 Intro to Computer Science or CSCI 136  Data Structures and Advanced Programming or some other course in the Computer Science Department with prior approval of the Math/Stat  department

Core Courses (3 Courses)

STAT 201 Statistics and Data Analysis

STAT 346 Regression and Forecasting

STAT 360 Inferential Statistics or MATH/STAT 341 Probability Theory

Application Area (1 Course)

To insure some familiarity with a field where statistical ideas are useful, a student must take a 200 or higher level course in Anthropology, Astronomy, Bioinfomatics, Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Economics, Environmental Studies/Policies/Science, Geosciences, Justice & Law, Physics, Political Science, Public Health, Psychology, or Sociology. A student counting such a course towards another major or concentration may substitute a 200 or higher level course in the Math/Stat curriculum to complete the 10-course major. A student may propose to fulfill this requirement with a course from an area not on this list by explaining their interest in the course and the relevance of the subject to statistical reasoning.

Continuation (2 Courses)

Any two courses among the 300 or 400 level courses in Statistics or other applied courses in the department with prior approval.

Capstone Course (1 Course)

The Senior Major Course is a 400-level course in statistics taken in the senior year. Although the specific methodological emphasis of the course may vary from year to year, it is designed to provide an opportunity to integrate statistical knowledge with the individual student’s application area. An in-depth project with both a written report and an oral presentation are typically part of the capstone course.

Colloquium Requirement

Participation as a senior in the Statistics Colloquium series, in which all senior majors present a talk on a statistical topic of their choice.


In some cases, an appropriate course from another department may be substituted for one of the electives, with prior permission of the Mathematics and Statistics Department. At least eight courses must be taken in mathematics and statistics at Williams. These can, with prior permission, include courses taken away. Students with transfer credit should contact the department about special arrangements.