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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Undergraduate Statistics

Statistics is a discipline concerned with understanding patterns and relationships in data in the presence of variation and uncertainty. How do we discover the “truth” or signal hidden in the noise?

In the statistics programme you will learn:

  • how to design research studies and collect reliable data;
  • how to build thoughtful statistical models which allow us to understand the key features in a complex system;
  • how to use the statistical models to answer research questions;
  • how to produce informative and engaging graphical representations of data;
  • the mathematical underpinnings of statistics; and
  • the computation skills necessary to do all these things.

Statisticians collaborate with people in a broad range of fields across the sciences, commerce and art. In the Otago group statisticians collaborate with people who study ecology, zoology, genetics, medical sciences, epidemics, health, clinical medicine, geology, chemistry, food science, sports science and physics. The research questions that our collaborators ask motivate new developments in statistical methods. Our statistics teaching is informed by expertise in both statistical methods and the application of those methods to real world situations.

The Department offers several pathways for studying statistics. Many students take a single paper in statistics, others include statistics in their degree as either a major or minor subject. We encourage all students majoring in statistics to also take papers in another field of interest to them, be it arts, science or commerce. Having knowledge of an area of application is extremely useful, and data are virtually everywhere!

Undergraduate Statistics Degrees

These sections outline the requirements for completing an ordinary or Honours degree in Statistics. If you have any questions about statistics papers or course structure, please contact the relevant Director of Studies.

  • A major in Statistics
  • A minor in Statistics
  • Honours in Statistics
  • Diplomas available as alternatives to Honours

A Major in Statistics

A degree with a Major in Statistics can normally be completed in three years, by satisfying what is called a Major Subject Requirement. Depending on your other interests, you may choose to complete a Major in Statistics through a Bachelor of Science (BSc) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA).

You may also complete a double major in statistics and another subject, such as Mathematics, Computer Science, or any field of interest to you. To get a double major, one must fulfil the requirements of each major. Some students can accomplish this in 3 years, but it generally takes longer. Depending on your choice of second major you can complete the double major in a BSc, a BA, Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc), or a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc).

A Minor in Statistics or Mathematical Statistics

A statistics minor will suit many students who wish to develop statistical skills alongside another major. There are two options. The Statistics minor is offered for students who wish to develop skills in the application of statistical modelling in the field of their major; this minor will suit students enrolled in a wide variety of majors. The Mathematical Statistics minor is offered for students with strong mathematical foundations who are interested in the more theoretical aspects of statistics; this will suit students enrolled in majors which are more mathematical, such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Economics, or Finance.

The requirements for both minors are given here

Honours in Statistics

You can enhance your degree in Statistics by taking an extra year of courses, to obtain either a Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons)) or a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA{Hons}).

See the Honours page

Postgraduate diplomas

If you have an ordinary degree then you may consider taking one of our postgraduate diplomas in Statistics:

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Statistics (PGDipApStat)
  • Diploma for Graduates (DipGrad)

More details