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) or at national conferences, such as the NC Symposium for Women in Mathematics and Statistics and the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. In Fall 2014, a student received the top award for her research presentation at the UNC-G Mathematics and Statistics Conference, and two students were accepted into the Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics. From 2011 to 2015, several Elon Statistics majors have participated in a Summer Institute for Training in Biostatistics program.

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. 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. Statistics majors from Elon University have pursued graduate studies at North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, Duke University, Vanderbilt University, Georgetown University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Michigan State University, Stevens Institute of Technology, Barry University, and the University of Manchester.

Supportive, accomplished faculty

Students will have the support and expertise of six 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. Kirsten Doehler has taught many different statistics courses, including Elon University’s first offering of Applied Nonparametric Statistics (STS 256), Statistical Computing (STS 327), Statistical Theory (STS 342), and Statistics Practicum (STS 460).  She is active in teaching study abroad courses and regularly advises students in statistical research and internship experiences. Since joining Elon in 2008, Dr. Doehler has published numerous papers, many which have been published in statistics education research journals such as the Journal of Statistics Education, Statistics Education Research Journal, and Teaching Statistics.  She has presented her research at various conferences, including the 2017 International Conference on Teaching Statistics held in Kyoto, Japan.  During her term as Statistics Program Coordinator, Dr. Doehler led the charge to make significant updates and improvements to the statistics major, including the launch of the Data Analytics concentration in 2017.

Dr. Andi Metts, who has a background in Public Health.  She holds degrees in Biostatistics and Epidemiology.  Dr. Metts has been at Elon since 1998.

Dr. Laura Taylor joined the department in 2008.  She regularly mentors students on research topics of their choice – ranging from simulated-based theoretical projects, modeling of television game show data, comparisons of photographic filtering methods, and evaluating data visualization tools for factors that measure happiness.  Dr. Taylor has expertise in coding in SAS and R.  She co-mentors the Mathematics and Statistics Club and advises Elon’s chapter of the statistics honor society, Mu Sigma Rho.

Dr. Ryne VanKrevelen, whose research interests are primarily sabermetrics (statistical analysis of baseball) and statistics education. He also enjoys collaborating with others both inside and outside of the department. He joined the department in 2015.

Dr. Mark Weaver joined the department in 2018 after working for more than 17 years in and around Research Triangle Park, NC, as a research biostatistician. His primary research interests include the design and analysis of randomized and cluster-randomized trials, longitudinal data analysis, and linear models, and he continues to collaborate on health-related research studies.

Dr. Nicholas Bussberg joined the department in 2020. With a background in Environmental Science and Statistics, his research interests fall broadly in the field of environmental statistics, with specific focus in spatial/spatio-temporal statistics and marine ecology. He is also interested in reproducibility in science and how to create efficient and effective workflows for research. He enjoys collaborating with people from a variety of areas, including those outside of environmental disciplines.

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.