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Statistics

The Statistics major is designed to provide strong interdisciplinary knowledge of the application and theory of statistics with an emphasis on real data collection and analysis. The program emphasizes statistics both as a science unto itself and as a powerful service field, offering applications-based tools for disciplines such as mathematics, biology, environmental science, psychology, economics, and other social sciences.

As a statistics major, you will be exposed to concepts and tools for working with data and will gain hands-on experience and critical thinking skills by designing, collecting, and analyzing real data. These experiences will involve solving problems in a group environment thereby increasing your interpersonal skills as well your ability to do independent research, something that will boost your marketability in an increasingly competitive business environment.

While other departments do offer statistics courses for their target audiences, the major will provide a focus and cohesion of statistical application and theory that no other department offers

"Not only has the Statistics degree been an impressive line on my resume, but employers have been impressed by my ability to program in SAS and R also. Having used SAS in every statistics course at Elon, I felt prepared to enter into a career in statistics. While nerve wracking, of course, I've learned to trust my education and wow my employers with projects and tasks assigned to me. I continue to stay in touch with statistics professors throughout my career, and they have proven to be just as strong support systems as they were when I was still an undergraduate at Elon."

Keyona Osborne ’12
 

Research opportunities

The interdisciplinary structure of the program ensures that the different elements of major coursework and general studies requirements, including those pertaining to experiential learning, are seamlessly integrated.

As part of the capstone experience for the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts in Statistics, students will have the option of completing a statistics research project and/or an internship in statistics. Students will also have the opportunity to present their research findings at Elon’s annual Spring Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF), the department’s fall Senior Seminar Day, or at national conferences, such as the NC Symposium for Women in Mathematics and Statistics and the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. In Fall 2012, a student received the top award for her research presentation at the UNC-G Mathematics and Statistics Conference, and another student was accepted into the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Summer Undergraduate Research Forum.

All of these experiences will continue to expose you to the statistical issues of data production, management, modeling, and analysis, as well as the non-statistical issues of teamwork, decision-making, and communication, both written and oral. It will also give students an appreciation of the application of statistics to another field.

Wide-ranging curriculum

Recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of statistics, the program will allow students to concentrate in areas that highlight the use of statistics in other fields while pursuing a degree in statistics. Students can choose among the following concentrations: mathematical statistics, actuarial science, bio-statistics, environmental statistics, and statistical methods in social sciences.

As part of their studies, students will learn to articulate important aspects of statistical problem solving that “everyone knows” but seldom articulates. As they gain exposure to new statistical models and theory, they will begin to apply statistical tools to real-world cases and develop statistical thinking skills to later synthesize new ideas and information with existing ideas and information.

Upon graduation, students will have sufficient knowledge, understanding, and skill in statistical practice to undertake substantive work in statistics and to stay current in the field.  This work may be in the form of specialized graduate students in statistics or a related field with strong statistical emphasis.  Additionally, this work may be entry-level statistical work in business, government, or applied research.

Supportive, accomplished faculty

Students will have the support and expertise of four faculty members whose primary area of study is statistics.

Dr. Ayesha Delpish, the principal founder of Elon’s statistics program, joined the department in 2005. Her academic interests lie in hierarchical linear modeling, structural equation modeling, educational measurement and testing, and statistics education. She was the co-recipient in 2008 of Elon College’s Excellence in Service/Leadership award.

Dr. Kirstie Doehler, whose research focuses on survival analysis, equivalence testing, and statistics education. She also does statistical consulting and has been involved in Elon's Teaching and Learning Program. She joined the department in 2008.

Dr. Excel Qie Li,whose research focuses on developing hierarchical models, multiple comparisons in mixed models, Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation methodology, and unbalanced mixed models in missing data field. He is interested in collaborating statistics with other departments or majors. He joined the department in 2012.

Dr. Laura Taylor,who specializes in the combination of two areas of survival analysis – competing risks and recurrent events – that deal with failure time data, which is commonly observed in settings such as biomedical, engineering, and reliability. She joined the department in 2008.

“The Statistics program at Elon provided me with real-world experience in the application of and theory behind the most frequently encountered statistical tests. In addition, it introduced me to some of the more advanced concepts covered in graduate-level studies. My skills as a public speaker also improved immensely due to the constant interpretation and communication of results of analyses to professors, classmates, or even other statisticians required by the program. Even during the first few weeks of graduate school, I felt well-prepared for all of the scheduled material while other students were stressing out. Most of the statistical theory was just a review, as were the statistical programming courses.”

Ted Berkowitz ’13
Pursuing a Ph.D. in biostatistics at Duke University

Fellows program

Exceptional high school students planning to major in statistics could qualify for Elon College Fellows, a challenging program in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Honors Fellows program. Elon’s Fellows programs offer scholarships, special course offerings, study abroad grants and much more. View the Elon Fellows programs Website for more information.

After graduation

Statistics promotes quantitative critical thinking skills that serve students in the rest of their courses of studies at Elon and in their professional careers after graduation.

The concentrations are designed to expose students to topics that are not part of the traditional statistical curriculum and to provide some background in the terminology and thought processes of other disciplines as opposed to getting additional statistical content. In so doing, the concentrations allow students to be better prepared to work with researchers in those disciplines.

The Bachelor of Science curriculum is designed to support students who are interested in the major as a stand-alone degree, who intend to pursue graduate studies in statistics or in a related health field such as bio-statistics/epidemiology/public health, or who seek professional careers in actuary science. The Bachelor of Arts is designed to facilitate students interested in double-majoring in statistics-supported fields such as the social sciences, biology, or environmental science.

Graduate school is required for students interested in teaching at the college level and is recommended for anyone pursuing specialties in statistics

View the Department of Mathematics and Statistics Website.

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