Statistics Degrees

Statistics is an applied branch of math concerned with collecting, analyzing and interpreting raw (often numerical) data. Typically, these will create models and workable data sets for such areas as private industry, government planning and charity. It is about searching for solutions in available population or geographical data or for looking to see if there is a problem to deal with in the first place. There are two types of statistical analysis. The first is descriptive statistics. This type allows the user to summarize data based on a sample. They will then use an index such as standard deviation or mean average. The second type is inferential statistics. This allows people to draw conclusions from a large data set.

In the environmental sector, an example of descriptive statistics is census data - typically of zoological or botanical population distribution or dispersion. An example of inferential statistics is examining a generalized trend - such climatology's interest in the link between carbon emissions and ocean acidification. It looks at data to determine whether there is correlation or causation. This type of statistical analysis highlighted the trend between smoking and lung cancer in the 1950s.

Courses in Statistics

Statistics degrees are available at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. With the growing area of data science becoming increasingly important everywhere, the demand for statisticians is expected to increase exponentially. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects demand to increase in excess of 30% to 2026. A typical undergraduate degree in statistics will include some of the following courses:

  • Regression analysis
  • Designing statistical experiments, survey design
  • Introduction to theories such as probability, statistical analysis
  • Algebra, calculus and geometry
  • Forecasting
  • Increasingly, these degrees also include computational math and data science modules too

A master's degree will take student skills to the next level and involve more complex modules that cover:

  • Applied statistics and mathematical statistics
  • Statistical consulting
  • Stochastic processing
  • Designing an individualized research project
  • A master's thesis/dissertation

The degree programs are increasingly diversifying. You made find options in business statistics, biostatistics, and environmental statistics, applied probability and statistics and many other choices.

Statistics for Environmental Sciences

Statistics is core to many areas of environmental science, particularly in environmental monitoring and environmental data analysis. Both types of statistical science have permitted climate scientists to research and analyze such issues as documenting the present state of an ecology. This permits the examination and monitoring of changes that occur after the baseline. They also permit specific studies that will extrapolate likely impact(s) of natural or anthropogenic changes. Thirdly, they permit ongoing monitoring for recognizing environmental change. It is not just environmental statisticians who use statistics. Increasingly, the method and tools are being used for spatial datasets, applied in geographic information systems for greater manipulation and variation on how to display the results.

New Developments in Statistical Science

The science of statistics has been profoundly affected and for the better in the last few years following the arrival of Cloud technology. It's cheap, easy to use, powerful and allows the quick sharing of data across multiple devices. Both home and organizational users have access to Cloud. The ability to store enormous data sets will continue to facilitate better decision-making everywhere. The age of so-called Big Data is here and it's driving statistics as a science into a major player in all areas of our lives, not just in the sciences and government. IBM reported in 2016 that 90% of all data ever generated has been produced since 2012 and we're producing more of it. With applications in manufacturing, environment, health, logistics, planning, finance and insurance and in research, it's a secure industry.

Studying Statistics Degrees

Arizona State University

Tempe, AZ

The School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at ASU offers minors in statistics in the field of statistics and postgraduate degrees in. The school also offers theoretical and applied math, so students wishing to enter a career as a statistician have many options available. For those who do not want to do a full master's, there is an option of a postgraduate certificate at ASU.

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

This private research university is one of the highest ranked private institutes in the world, offering world-class math education. It provides programs of study in statistics at bachelor's degree level, minors for other programs, master's degrees and postgraduate certificates through Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. They also offer a joint program of math and economics at bachelor level.

Columbia University

Manhattan, NY

With a dedicated Department of Statistics, students at Columbia can rely on prestigious and high-quality education in this area. They offer one of the most diverse packages in statistics at the undergraduate level with programs for those coming from non-mathematical disciplines and for those without calculus. This is ideal for students who want to use statistics in their career but not work as statisticians. They provide degrees with computational math, master's and PhD programs too.

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

The Department of Statistical Science offers Bachelor of Arts in Statistical Science, Master of Professional and PhDs in statistics. This allows students the ability to use statistics as their main focus and not simply as a tool for a future role - ideal for finance roles. Students of Cornell will find many options open to them depending on their chosen course of study.

Duke University

Durham, NC

One of the country's top-ranked research universities, students have options for both majors and minors in statistical science at their dedicated department. There are also master's and PhD programs for those looking to further their studies. Each program covers theory and practice with a strong focus on computational statistics.

Fordham University

Bronx, NY

The school of mathematics offers a master of science degree in Applied Statistics and Decision Making, ideal for students graduating into almost any career role at the end of their studies. This program is heavily focused on business; in the environmental sector, it may be ideal for those wishing to work in environmental economics or accounting.

Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, GA

GIT offers just one program in statistics and that is at MS level. No undergraduate majors or minors exists. The remit of the statistics program comes under engineering in line with other math related programs within the school. Eligible students may be able to take their statistics MS into PhD study in Bioinformatics.

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

With a dedicated statistics department, this prestigious Ivy League university offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Their modules cover most conceivable applications from linear modeling to researching statistics to teaching statistics to students. Students may study online or on campus. Students who wish to combine their studies with another field (particularly useful for other sciences, business, planning) are welcome to apply.

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

Students who wish to study Applied Mathematics and Statistics will find few options better than JHU. They can also study the same program at master's level. A second master's exists in the form of a degree in Financial Mathematics. If it's a PhD the student seeks, then JHU also offers a choice to take your studies to doctorate level too.

New York University


Students in New York State will find options at different campuses. Stern Campus administers a dedicated BS in statistics. They strongly recommend students choose a secondary area of study. Steinhardt has several master's choices including MS in Applied Statistics and Applied Statistics for Social Research Science.

North Carolina State Online


One of several dedicated online universities offering full degree programs, NCSU provides access to several certificate programs in statistics including Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics and Data Management and the Graduate Certificate in Statistics Education. They also offer a full Master of Statistics degree both online and on-campus.

Northwest University

Kirkland, WA

While most universities offer specific areas of statistics or for specific industries such as social research or business, NWU offers BS and MS in Statistics. This provides students with the broadest possible spectrum of study in their career as a statistician. MS students will find the course can easily lead into the PhD program at NWU.

Penn State World Campus


One of the world's leading institutes for online education, Penn State offers a Master in Applied Statistics and a Graduate Certificate in the same subject but no BS or BA. Core modules for the MAS include Introduction to Probability Theory and Statistical Consulting whereas electives include SAS, Experimental Design and Sampling Theory and Methodology. The World Campus began in 1998 as one of the world's first fully online options for degree education. Though based in Pennsylvania, any eligible student from around the world may study with them.

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Stanford, one of the world's best universities, offers undergraduate minors and postgraduate degree courses. Students who wish to study statistics at undergraduate level should study Mathematical and Computational Science. At MS level, Stanford has offered Statistics since 2013. Other options include Data Science and Biostatistics training programs.

Texas A&M University

College Station, TX

The BS in statistics is a recent addition to their education programs; they also offer a minor for students wishing to combine statistics with another discipline. Allowing students the broadest possible choice for application of their skills in their career, they offer MS and PhDs in standard statistics too.

University of California


Berkeley, Los Angeles, Irvine, Fullerton and San Diego all offer various programs in statistics, ensuring every potential student in the state can study near them. Check each campus, as some only offer BS/BA degrees while others offer only postgraduate study. Most offer standard statistics too.

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL

University of Chicago offers no undergraduate degree in statistics, just an MS and PhD. The dedicated Department of Statistics is widely recognized as one of the best in the country. Students can rest assured they will receive some of the best quality teaching and research skills from the faculty.

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI

With choices in statistics, data science, informatics and applied statistics, this offers potential students the widest possible range of study options for this discipline. The choices at postgraduate level include MS and PhDs in applied statistics and those appealing specifically to the finance sector.

University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, NC

Through the dedicated Department of Statistics and Operation Research, UNC offers MS and PhD programs in statistics but no BS/BA. However, students who wish to pursue statistics as a career should consider their Mathematical Decision Sciences undergraduate degree. It deals heavily in probability and statistics.

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

This college offers undergraduate, MBA and PhD programs in statistics, providing a broad range of options for students to apply their education. Their undergraduate also allows some flexibility with covers Business Analytics Joint Concentration should the student prefer such a route. There is also an option of a minor if the student prefers another major.

University of Washington

Seattle, WA

The Bachelor of Science degree allows students to take a major or a minor in statistics. However, you will also have the choice to study a BS in ACMS (Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences) in conjunction with the Dept of Applied Math. Further study is available in the form of MS in Statistics.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

This college offers a prestigious BS, MS and PhD in statistics and has done since 1963. However, they strongly focus on broadening the subject to other disciplines. To that end, potential students to this college also have the choice to study of Data Science or Biostatistics, recognizing the trend for modern developments in statistical analysis.

Statistics - Related Degrees

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