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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

STAT270 Probability and Inference

First Semester
18 points

In first year, statistics courses emphasise the methods of statistics: which techniques and tests are applied in which situations. In this course, you will learn some of the theory and mathematics behind those methods. This is important because you will

Modern statistics is a dynamic and rapidly changing subject. A good grounding in mathematical statistics and probability theory is needed if you are going to keep up with the changes and advances in statistical practice.

Paper details

The mathematical requirements for this course are kept at first year level, i.e. MATH 160. No previous knowledge of probability (beyond that in STAT 110 and 115) is assumed. There will be lots of examples and practice problems.

Potential students

Any student who has taken either of the 100-level statistics papers and MATH 160 can take this paper. It is particularly useful for those majoring in mathematics, statistics, economics, finance and quantitative analysis, psychology, zoology, or any other field in which statistics is used.


MATH 160 and one of STAT 110, STAT 115, COMO 101, BSNS 112


STAT 261

Main topics

Required text

None. Course notes will be available on the Resources part of the STAT 270 webpage.


The following two texts are available as electronic e-books in the library:

A Modern Introduction to Probability and Statistics: Understanding Why and How by Dekking, Kraaikamp, Lopuhaa and Meester

Modern Mathematical Statistics with Applications by Devore and Berk

Additional reading:

Mathematical Statistics with Applications by Wackerly, Mendenhall and Scheaffer

An Introduction to Mathematical Statistics and its Applications by Larsen and Marx


Dr Austina Clark, Room 117

Associate Professor Ting Wang, Room 518


Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 9 am in Room 241, Science III


Wednesdays at 3-5pm in Laboratory B21, Science III

Internal Assessment

There will be 10 assignments, each of which contributes 6% of the internal assessment mark, and a mid-term test that contributes the remaining 40%.


There will be a three-hour exam

Final mark

Your final mark F in the paper will be calculated according to this formula:

F = (2E + 0.6A + 0.4T)/3


and all quantities are expressed as percentages.

Students must abide by the University’s Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity means being honest in your studying and assessments. It is the basis for ethical decision-making and behaviour in an academic context. Academic integrity is informed by the values of honesty, trust, responsibility, fairness, respect and courage.

Academic misconduct is seeking to gain for yourself, or assisting another person to gain, an academic advantage by deception or other unfair means. The most common form of academic misconduct is plagiarism.

Academic misconduct in relation to work submitted for assessment (including all course work, tests and examinations) is taken very seriously at the University of Otago.

All students have a responsibility to understand the requirements that apply to particular assessments and also to be aware of acceptable academic practice regarding the use of material prepared by others. Therefore it is important to be familiar with the rules surrounding academic misconduct at the University of Otago; they may be different from the rules in your previous place of study.

Any student involved in academic misconduct, whether intentional or arising through failure to take reasonable care, will be subject to the University’s Student Academic Misconduct Procedures which contain a range of penalties.

If you are ever in doubt concerning what may be acceptable academic practice in relation to assessment, you should clarify the situation with your lecturer before submitting the work or taking the test or examination involved.

Types of academic misconduct are as follows:


The University makes a distinction between unintentional plagiarism (Level One) and intentional plagiarism (Level Two).

  • Although not intended, unintentional plagiarism is covered by the Student Academic Misconduct Procedures. It is usually due to lack of care, naivety, and/or to a lack to understanding of acceptable academic behaviour. This kind of plagiarism can be easily avoided.
  • Intentional plagiarism is gaining academic advantage by copying or paraphrasing someone elses work and presenting it as your own, or helping someone else copy your work and present it as their own. It also includes self-plagiarism which is when you use your own work in a different paper or programme without indicating the source. Intentional plagiarism is treated very seriously by the University.

Unauthorised Collaboration

Unauthorised Collaboration occurs when you work with, or share work with, others on an assessment which is designed as a task for individuals and in which individual answers are required. This form does not include assessment tasks where students are required or permitted to present their results as collaborative work. Nor does it preclude collaborative effort in research or study for assignments, tests or examinations; but unless it is explicitly stated otherwise, each students answers should be in their own words. If you are not sure if collaboration is allowed, check with your lecturer..


Impersonation is getting someone else to participate in any assessment on your behalf, including having someone else sit any test or examination on your behalf.


Falsification is to falsify the results of your research; presenting as true or accurate material that you know to be false or inaccurate.

Use of Unauthorised Materials

Unless expressly permitted, notes, books, calculators, computers or any other material and equipment are not permitted into a test or examination. Make sure you read the examination rules carefully. If you are still not sure what you are allowed to take in, check with your lecturer.

Assisting Others to Commit Academic Misconduct

This includes impersonating another student in a test or examination; writing an assignment for another student; giving answers to another student in a test or examination by any direct or indirect means; and allowing another student to copy answers in a test, examination or any other assessment.

Further information

While we strive to keep details as accurate and up-to-date as possible, information given here should be regarded as provisional. Individual lecturers will confirm teaching and assessment methods.