The Department of Statistics is a nexus for statistical activity on Indiana University's Bloomington campus.
The B.S. in Statistics provides students with an education in the science of data and data analysis, including statistical theory, computational methods, and practical applications. It teaches students to think critically about quantitative methodologies and prepares them for careers that involve analyzing data from real-life problems. It also prepares students appropriately to pursue graduate studies in statistics and other disciplines.
The program introduces statistics as the science of data. Data are numbers with a context; the particular context that gave rise to the numbers is important. In addition to the knowledge of mathematics, you learn about the scientific disciplines that generate data of interest to understand and explain the observational studies or the statistical experiments in question. For example, statisticians calculate probabilities for DNA paternity tests; design clinical trials to study the effectiveness of new medications; study economic time series data, such as gross domestic product from developing countries in Africa; and develop statistical models of responses from fMRI psychological experiments.
Statistics has a coherent body of theory, which students of the field master. The statistics major requires ten core courses that focus on basic mathematics, mathematics for statistics, and statistics. You also take a minimum of three elective courses that concern the theory or practice of quantitative methodology, as well as a course in computer programming.
The department offers a variety of courses intended to accommodate a variety of backgrounds and interests. Several courses introduce elementary statistical methods, including courses specifically designed for business students and for students studying the life sciences. More advanced courses provide solid introductions to important methodologies, such as applied linear models and Bayesian theory and data analysis. The curriculum includes both applied courses, dedicated to practical methods for exploring and analyzing data, and theoretical courses, dedicated to the fundamental principles that underlie statistical methodology.
Your starting points with the Statistics major are basic mathematics courses:
• MATH-M 211 Calculus I
• MATH-M 212 Calculus II
• STAT-S 320 Introduction to Statistics
Those three courses provide you with the background knowledge needed for the other seven foundational courses:
• MATH-M 301 Linear Algebra and Applications or MATH-M 303 Linear Algebra for Undergraduates
• MATH-M 311 Calculus III
• MATH-M 463 Introduction to Probability Theory
• STAT-S 420 Introduction to Statistical Theory
• STAT-S 431 Applied Linear Models I
• STAT-S 432 Applied Linear Models II
• STAT-X 498 Statistical Consulting
You should take MATH-M 211 and MATH-M 212 in your first year, and STAT-S 320 in the spring semester of your first or second year.
Tracks and concentrations
While there are not any formal concentrations offered by the Department of Statistics, you can take additional upper level courses to further develop skills needed for specific careers and graduate programs. Contact your academic advisor to discuss these options.
Upper level coursework
The statistics major allows you to personalize the upper level curriculum with specialization in related courses. You are required to take three concentration electives in Statistics at the 400-level. Courses are available in areas such as data analysis, Bayesian theory, applied linear models, covariance structure analysis, time series analysis, and multilevel models. Consult with your academic advisor and faculty to discuss the best courses to suit your interests.
You are required to take STAT-X 498 Statistical Consulting, which is regarded as a capstone course by the department. The class is led by a consultant who works at the Indiana Statistical Consulting Center (ISCC). Through the course and your interactions with professional consultants, you will develop effective consulting skills, including the ability to conduct consulting sessions, engage in collaborative problem-solving, use professional resources, and prepare verbal and written reports. Interactions with clients will be coordinated by the ISCC.
Commonly pursued majors, minors and certificates
With the help of your academic advisor, you may be able to combine several areas of interest with additional majors, minors, or certificates.
There are over 90 areas of study in the College of Arts and Sciences, any of which you could potentially add as an additional major, minor, or certificate.
Statistics students often complement their major with coursework in Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics, and natural science departments.
Statistics majors also commonly pursue minors or dual degrees offered by outside programs such as the Kelley School of Business and the School of Informatics and Computing. You should be aware that pursuing a minor or a second degree from an outside program can impact your timeline. A maximum of 20 outside hours are eligible to count toward the total hours required for the B.S. in Statistics. Discuss your options and goals with your academic advisor.
- Enhance your major
Working with faculty
When pursuing a Statistics B.S. degree, you have the opportunity to work with faculty who have expertise and experience in the field. Take advantage of office hours to talk with your instructors about your performance in class, the content of readings and assignments, and how the course helps you work toward your goals.
As your interests develop, you might want to take STAT-X 490 Readings in Statistics. Talk with the Directors of Undergraduate Studies about this possibility. Such a project provides you with an excellent writing sample to include with your graduate school applications and/or professional portfolio.
You are required to take STAT-X 498 Statistical Consulting. The class is led by a consultant who works at the Indiana Statistical Consulting Center (ISCC). Through the course and your interactions with professional consultants, you will develop effective consulting skills, including the ability to conduct of consulting sessions, engage in collaborative problem-solving, use professional resources, and prepare verbal and written reports. Interactions with clients will be coordinated by the ISCC.
Undergraduate scholarships and awards
You may be eligible for a variety of scholarships and awards. These include:
- Boren Awards for International Study
- Carnegie Junior Fellows Program
- Cindy Simon Skjodt Study Abroad Scholarship
- Foreign Language and Areas Studies Fellowships
- Hutton International Experiences Program
- Office of Overseas Study Scholarships
- Service-Learning Student Travel Scholarship
- Sally Kissinger Wilt Merit Scholarship
Internships offer you a chance to develop both technical and transferable skills while making vital professional contacts with others in the field. Many students begin exploring internship opportunities, including overseas study programs with internships, as early as their freshman year.
Learn more about internships, including the possibility of receiving credit, through the Walter Center for Career Achievement, where you will find many resources for both domestic and international internships.
Foreign language study
As one of the premier institutions in the U.S. for the study of languages, IU Bloomington offers courses and resources in over 70 languages.
To fulfill the Foreign Language requirement for the Statistics B.S. degree, you must earn at least 3 credit hours at or above the second-year level of a single foreign language. However, you might consider establishing proficiency in a single foreign language through the second semester of the second year of college-level course work to fulfill the IUB GenEd World Languages and Cultures requirement. Also, if you decide to pursue a B.A. degree concurrently with the B.S. degree, you will need to establish that level of proficiency to fulfill the Foreign Language requirement for the B.A. degree.
Here is a sampling of language study resources available to students at IU Bloomington:
- Arabic Flagship Program
- Center for Language Technology and Instructional Enrichment
- Chinese Flagship Center
- Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships
- IU Summer Language Workshop
- Language Tables
- Project GO
- Turkish Flagship Center
In an increasingly globalized world, study abroad is an important part of your undergraduate education. Many programs offer courses that can count toward your major and degree requirements, allowing you to stay on your desired timeline for graduation. Here are just some of the many options from which you can choose:
- Adelaide, Australia
- London-London School of Economics and Political Science, England
- Santiago, Chile
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Legon, Ghana
- Christchurch, New Zealand
- Aix-en-Provence, France
- Bologna, Italy
- Freiburg, Germany
- Madrid, Spain
- Lima, Peru
Getting involved with student groups grants you opportunities to further develop your leadership, communication, organizational, and teamwork skills.
As a statistics major, you might be especially interested in getting involved with the Math Club, which meets each Wednesday evening to discuss and learn about mathematics, host speakers, play mathematical games, and plan other related activities such as competing in the annual Putnam Competition and Indiana College Math Competition.
If you are interested in the actuarial profession, you could check out the Actuarial Club.
Statistics majors are also welcome to join the Economics Club. The club provides a community for all students interested in economics and related fields. They hold regular meetings to discuss topics in economics and organize special events to promote interest in and understanding of economic issues. Members participate in networking trips and community engagement.
The Women in STEM Living-Learning Center at IUB is home to a group of undergraduate women of all levels who are driven to achieve in the fields of science, technology, informatics, and mathematics (STIM).
Explore beINvolved to connect with any of the 750+ student organizations that already exist, or to start a new one.
There are numerous opportunities for volunteer engagement, allowing you to give back to the local community while gaining leadership experience and developing useful job skills such as communication, event planning, and teamwork .
Sign up to receive weekly e-mail messages from the Bloomington Volunteer Network to learn about local opportunities and organizations.
Use the Indiana University Library system to search for Associations Unlimited, an online directory of associations, professional societies, non-profit organizations, and much more.
If you are interested in becoming a statistician, check out the American Statistical Association.
- Build your skills
Through the major
The major in Statistics provides you with a set of analytical tools that amplify skills in other domains and are useful in and of themselves. As a statistics major you will learn to:
- Perform data science techniques used in business and in the social, life, and physical sciences
- Distinguish between competing approaches to solving statistical problems
- Use statistical software to analyze big data sets
- Apply ideas from probability and statistics to everyday life
- Understand the importance of appropriate data and analysis and the dangers of using inappropriate data or models
- Employ work habits that lead to accurate, reproducible work
- Create graphics that help audiences comprehend data and statistical results
- Communicate succinctly the key statistical ideas used in your work and the work of others
Through a College of Arts and Sciences degree
Your coursework provides many opportunities to develop the following abilities, as identified by the 11 Goals of the College of Arts and Sciences:
- Achieve the genuine literacy required to read, listen, speak and write clearly and persuasively
- Learn to think critically and creatively
- Develop intellectual flexibility and breadth of mind
- Discover ethical perspectives
- Cultivate a critically informed appreciation of literature and the arts
- Practice and apply scientific methods
- Learn to reason quantitatively
- Develop historical consciousness
- Investigate and study the international community
- Develop and practice communication skills in public settings and in the study of at least one foreign language
- Pursue in-depth knowledge of at least one subject
Skills desired by employers
Each year, the National Association of Colleges and Employers asks employers what skills and qualities they are looking for in recent college graduates.
The following abilities are sought in the job market across many employment sectors:
- Communicate effectively with persons both inside and outside the organization
- Work in a team structure
- Make decisions and solve problems
- Plan, organize, and prioritize work
- Obtain and process relevant information
- Analyze quantitative data
- Create and/or edit written reports
- Obtain technical knowledge related to the job
- Proficiency with computer software programs
- Ability to persuade or influence others
As you explore various career fields, you should pay attention to specific job descriptions and requirements. If there are areas where your skills or knowledge are lacking, talk with your academic advisor and career coaches about how you can improve in those areas while you are at Indiana University.
Your academic advisor and career coach can also help you find ways to strengthen and deepen the knowledge you already have, becoming more prepared for whatever path you select after your college career.
- Launch your career
Plan your search
A good starting point for exploring your career options is an appointment with the career coach for the Natural and Mathematical Sciences Division. The Walter Center for Career Achievement offers job search resources, career courses, job fairs, information about internships and full-time jobs, and help with social media networking through professional organizations. Get advice about how to write your resume, ask for letters of recommendation from faculty and workplace supervisors, and prepare for job interviews, too.
Use the IU Career Guides to determine if the path you are considering aligns with your short- and long-term goals. These offer information about each field's educational preparation, employment opportunities, insider tips, industry-related interview questions, and more.
You might want to take career courses to help you maximize your time at IU. Statistics majors should consider taking ASCS-Q 299 College to Career III: Market Yourself for the Job and Internship Search. In the course, students learn how to craft a targeted resume, use their cover letter as a tool, prepare for successful interviews, locate and build a professional network, and prepare for a smooth transition from college to postgraduate life.
The job market
Vast technological improvements in data collection have fueled a strong need for statisticians who can analyze and make meaning of the information gathered. Private and public organizations alike are interested in how data can improve the effectiveness of their operations.
The employment outlook is positive for students with a degree in Statistics. Students with the Statistics B.S. degree take their knowledge into a variety of career fields. They are well prepared to work in science, technology, finance, business, medicine, insurance, education, and social sciences sectors.
Graduates with the Statistics B.S. have become researchers, actuaries, financial analyst, account managers, budget analysts, auditors, meteorologists, purchasers, epidemiologists, venture capitalists, market research analysts, and educators.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers career information about hundreds of occupations.
Post-graduate short-term experiences
The beginning of your post-graduate career might be an ideal time to explore an international internship or other short-term experience through organizations such as these:
- American Mathematical Society
- American Statistical Association
- Breakthrough Institute
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Federal Reserve
- Mayo Clinic
- National Institutes of Health
- National Center for Atmospheric Research
- Peace Corps
- Society of Actuaries
Using these and other resources, your career coach can help you craft a unique post-graduate short-term experience, whether in the United States or abroad.
Fellowships for post-graduate study
Fellowships are temporary opportunities to conduct research, work in a field, or fund your education. Most opportunities can be found through universities, non-profits, and government organizations.
Good resources for finding fellowship opportunities include:
- American Mathematical Society
- American Statistical Association
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Federal Reserve
- Fulbright Programs
Graduate and professional study
When applying to graduate or professional schools, you will need letters of recommendation from faculty members who are familiar with your work. Make a practice of attending office hours early in your academic career to get to know your professors and discuss your options for advanced study in the field.
Students who pursue graduate studies in Statistical Sciences typically enter high level analyst positions in the public or private sector or seek employment at academic institutions that emphasize teaching, research, or both.
A Statistics B.S. degree will prepare you for entry into a graduate program in all areas of Statistical Science. Statistics B.S. graduates have pursued graduate degrees in Statistics, Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics, Psychology, Business, Education, and Public Policy, among others.
Here are statistics-related graduate programs offered at IUB:
- Data Science
- Computer Science
- Information Systems
- M.S. in Education
- Public Policy
The IU College of Arts and Sciences organizes Alumni and Friends events. Check out the IU College Luminaries program, which connects students with the College's most influential, successful, and inspiring alumni.
Join and use the IU Alumni Association to remain in touch, network directly, and let others know where your path takes you.
Is it for you?
The Department of Statistics attracts students from a variety of backgrounds and interests. They typically have some of the following qualities:
- Interest in solving problems using the big data sets central to modern business and science
- Values versatile skills that can be used in a variety of jobs after graduation
- Aptitude in mathematics
- Enjoys reading about statistics in popular media
- Desire to learn to use data to accurately predict and forecast
- Appreciation of the ability to explain statistical results to wide audiences
Contact the academic advisor for statistics and schedule an appointment to explore your options. Complete information about the requirements of the major can be found in the College of Arts and Sciences Bulletin.
- Department website
- Advisor email address