The field of statistics is concerned with ways of understanding variability in measurements. It is the science and art of making informed decisions in the face of uncertainty. Statistical reasoning is fundamental to research in many scientific fields. For example, probabilistic models of learning are used in education and psychology, and time series and regression models guide research in engineering, chemistry, economics, biology, and medicine. Recent high-profile court cases have shown the importance of the use of probability and statistics in law, especially in the fields of forensic medicine and DNA fingerprinting. Statisticians have also been instrumental in developing methods by which observations are obtained in many disciplines. Examples include randomized clinical trials in medicine and complex sampling surveys in social and political science. Probability and statistics are basic to the actuarial sciences. When lists are compiled of the most important scientific theories and discoveries of the last century, a substantial number of these developments are seen to be inherently statistical in nature.
The Department of Statistics offers course work leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in statistics, a minor in applied statistics, and a combined five-year bachelor and master’s degree in statistics. The department also offers a wide array of introductory service courses for general undergraduate audiences that deal with statistical methods in applications (and which require only high school mathematics). A joint major in economics and statistics is also available. Interested students should consult the requirements listed under Economics . Students considering majoring in statistics should consult with a department advisor early in their studies, preferably during their freshman year. For more information on the major, other programs, and the Department of Statistics, visit www.stat.pitt.edu.