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Department of Statistics

Majoring in Statistics

Undergraduate Statistics Major Information

Degree Requirements

There are two options under the B.S. in Statistics degree program: the General Major and the Major with Emphasis in Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics.  The Major with Emphasis in Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics is designed for students planning a career as an actuary.

Each of these options requires 120 approved credit hours as listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Note that certain courses must be passed with a grade of at least C in the first two attempts.

Employment After Graduation

Statisticians are in great demand and work in various settings. Salaries and working conditions are excellent. Statisticians evaluate the safety and efficacy of new drugs for pharmaceutical companies. Insurance companies use statisticians to estimate the risks of life, health care, and casualty events. Conducting the Federal census and estimating the inflation rate are two of many tasks done by government statisticians. Industrial statisticians design experiments to improve manufacturing processes and to maintain quality. Market research firms use statisticians to improve the efficiency of their mass mailing campaigns. Statisticians develop credit scoring algorithms for financial service companies. Educational testing companies use statisticians to measure the validity of standardized test questions. And these are only some of the places statisticians work.

The University's Career Center provides job search assistance. You should visit the Career Center early in your next to last semester.


Upon becoming a statistics major, you will initially be advised by either a First-Year Advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences, or in the case of upperclassmen, by the Undergraduate Director. After this initial advisement, you will be assigned a faculty advisor. You will need to meet with your advisor during the advisement period in the Fall and Spring Semesters to discuss your current courses and to plan for future semesters. You will not be allowed to register for courses until you have been advised. Feel free to meet with your advisor at other times if you have questions or are having problems.

If you do not know who your advisor is, send an e-mail to the Undergraduate Director.

Changing Major to Statistics

Note that students transferring to USC from another institution or wishing to change their major to statistics must complete either MATH 141 or STAT 515 with a grade of B or better before being allowed to declare a major in statistics.  If you are interested in changing your major to statistics or adding a statistics major, please send an e-mail to the Undergraduate Director.

Senior Check

Early in your next to last semester, you should meet with your advisor to complete a major program card. This card lists the courses you have taken or will take to complete your major and cognate (or minor) requirements. After completing the major program card, call the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Office (777-2505) to schedule a Senior Check Appointment. You will need to take the major program card to your Senior Check Appointment. The Senior Check verifies the remaining course requirements needed for graduation.


Double Majors and Minors

It is possible to major in statistics and and to have a second major or a minor in many other fields at USC. A second major or a minor replaces the cognate requirement for the B.S. in Statistics degree. Students considering a second major or a minor should make their advisor aware of this fact as soon as possible.

For double majors, all degree requirements for each major must be satisfied. (Only one of STAT 509 or STAT 515 may be used for major or minor credit.) There is a substantial overlap between Statistics general (pre-major) requirements and requirements for Mathematics majors, and so a double major may be most attractive in that areas.

A minor consists of 18 hours of advanced courses specified by the department or college offering the minor.

Consult the Undergraduate Bulletin or a faculty advisor for more details on minors and double majors.


Student Organizations

Two student organizations, the Statistics Club and Mu Sigma Rho, the national statistics honor society, provide social and professional interaction among students, faculty, and visiting statistics professionals.

Departmental Awards

The Department of Statistics honors statistics majors each year at the University's Awards Day. The Mu Sigma Rho Award recognizes a statistics major for outstanding academic achievement. The Stephen D. Durham Award recognizes outstanding academic performance by a senior statistics major. The Excellent in Academics Award is given to a sophomore or junior statistics major. The John D. Spurrier Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding freshman statistics major.  The Department's Undergraduate Advisory Committee selects the winners of these awards with input from the Department's faculty.

Undergraduate Bulletin

The Undergraduate Bulletin lists degree requirements, course descriptions, academic regulations, and other important information.

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