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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Undergraduate studies

The Statistics programme at Otago teaches the art and science of learning from data. Our students come from all disciplines and develop skills in designing research studies, visualising and analysing complex data, and interpreting and assessing claims based on data.

We live in a society where data are everywhere. Data are collected in research studies as well as being accumulated as part of our everyday lives: health data, google, facebook, volcanic activity, cell phone use, to name just a few. We’re faced with a barrage of “information” from the media and internet telling us how to live our lifes, much of it conflicting. Statistics can help make sense of the information.

Statistics and Data Science

Statistics and data science are closely related disciplines – both are about learning from data. Statisticians and data scientists collaborate with people in a broad range of fields across the sciences, commerce and art. They have the necessary skills to do meaningful things with data – be it a small study of a rare endanged animal species, or huge volumes of data from google. These statistical and analytical skills are highly sought after in the workplace – virtually everyone these days has data and is looking for help to make sense of it!

Statistics is a scientific discipline that considers the best ways to learn from data in the presence of variation and uncertainty. At the undergraduate level, we teach courses that cover the application of statistics to a wide range of scientific disciplines, and courses that provide an understanding of how and why the methods work.

Data science is a field at the intersection between computer science, information science and statistics. When data sets are large and complex, it can be difficult to store and access the data. Good programming skills are required to work with the data and the application of statistical methods requires considerable computing effort. Compared with the Statistics degree, the Data Science degree at Otago requires fewer Statistics courses and includes papers offered by Information Science and Computer Science.

At Otago, an undergraduate degree in Data Science is taught collaboratively by the Departments of Statistics, Information Science and Computer Science.

Find out more about studying Data Science here.


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