We’re excited that you are interested in exploring our curriculum in Statistics.

Students Interested in Non-Majors Courses:

  • For students interested in the insights of statistics but whose area of specialization is likely to lie outside statistics, we suggest you consider our introductory statistics courses – STAT 111, STAT 135 (has a pre-requisite of some calculus experience, though it does not use calculus), or STAT 136.
  • STAT 231 – Data Science – is appropriate for students with some statistics and computer science experience (pre-requisites of STAT 135 and COSC 111).
  • STAT 108 (Statistical Ethics and Institutions) has no prerequisites, and is aimed at non-stat majors.
  • Beyond those courses, we encourage you to take any course whose requirement you've met, whether you're a major or not.
  • Most students start in one of the introductory courses (STAT 111, 135, or 136), or in a 200-level course such as STAT 230 – Intermediate Statistics or STAT 231, depending on their placement (link).
  • Many of our other courses (especially 200-level electives) require only introductory statistics as a prerequisite and are appropriate for students relatively early in their study of statistics. Electives explore sub-areas of statistics.
  • Non-majors with the necessary prerequisites also take our 300 and 400 level courses.
  • The majority of our courses count towards the major; electives below the 200-level do not count towards the major in statistics.

Transfer Students Interested in Majoring in Statistics:

Transfer students intending to major in statistics are typically assigned an advisor in the Department upon acceptance to Amherst. While the Registrar's Office determines which courses are transferred, together with your advisor, you will look carefully at the coursework you've already done to determine which courses will meet requirements for the major and then make a plan for how best to succeed moving forward in the major. For any questions related to majoring in Statistics, please contact the department chair.

Students Interested in Majoring in Statistics:

Be sure to visit our About the Statistics Major page!

Majors in Statistics need to complete introductory and intermediate statistics (STAT 111/135/136, with STAT 135 or STAT 136 strongly recommended, and STAT 230) before declaring. Coursework in Mathematics and Computer Science is also required (MATH 111, MATH 121, and at least one COSC course). You’ll want to be certain your initial placement in both Mathematics and Statistics is correct. If you have questions regarding placement, please contact Danielle Benedetto () for Math and Kat Correia (kcorreia@amherst.edu) for Statistics.

You should also consult our Getting Started in the Major webpage for lots of information on how to start off on these courses and pathways through the Statistics major.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions from first-year students:

If I want the option to major in Statistics, what’s the best thing for me to do this semester?

There are several ways to navigate the statistics courses necessary for a statistics major. Begin by looking at your Amherst College Math placement and Statistics placement. If you have questions about your placement, contact Danielle Benedetto () for Mathematics and Kat Correia (kcorreia@amherst.edu) for Statistics. Having your placement will give you a starting point in the major. If you have placed out of some courses, that may open up elective courses for you to consider, for example.

In consultation with your advisor, you should tailor your own path to give you the best opportunity for success in these courses so that you can move on to advanced courses with confidence. As you choose a path forward, consider the following:

  • your previous preparation in mathematics and statistics
  • requirements for courses, and other majors you might be interested in, including the pre-medical track
  • your other curricular/extracurricular commitments for the coming semesters to decide if there are semesters you might more easily double up on courses for the major
  • plans for study away due to the upper-level course sequence of STAT 360/370/495
  • your ultimate career interests or general areas of interest

How does placement in Statistics work?

Amherst does not grant College credit for AP courses. It is possible to place out of, i.e. to be exempted from taking, introductory statistics, introductory computer science (be in touch with Computer Science), and some introductory mathematics courses (e.g. calculus). 

Your mathematics placement and any previous experience with statistics (such as an AP Statistics score) determine your statistics placement. For more details, see our placement page.

We work very hard on placement to be sure that every student starts in the curriculum at a course appropriate for them. We do not advise students to start “lower” than their placement. For example, if you have placed out of STAT 135 or STAT 136 due to an AP 5 on the Statistics exam, we do not recommend taking STAT 135 or STAT 136 to start instead. If you have questions about your placement, contact the statistics placement advisor, Kat Correia (kcorreia@amherst.edu).