May 1, 2009

Arts College Considers Adding Statistics Major

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A new statistical science major may be available for Arts and Science students in fall 2009, a college official said yesterday.
“I can not communicate specific information about major requirements [because the program is not yet official], [but] I can share that it is an interdisciplinary program designed to support students who wish to double major, and to encourage the learning of statistics in context,” Jennifer Wofford, assistant dean of educational programs at the Office of Computing and Informational Sciences, stated in an email.
Currently, the College of Arts and Sciences does not offer an undergraduate program in statistics. The only statistics program at Cornell currently is the Biometry and Statistics program in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the mathematics major with a concentration in statistics in Arts and Sciences. Since Arts and Sciences is home to many students whose programs could be enriched by double majoring in statistics —economics, government, psychology, physics — the undergraduate degree in statistics was proposed by affiliated faculty members in the Department of Statistical Science, and approved by the college of Arts and Sciences, according to Wofford. The program is currently under review by state officials, and it will be at least another two weeks until it will be formally approved, Wofford said.
“I feel very confident that the program will receive state approval,” Wofford said.
Since the program mainly relies on recycling relevant mathematics, statistics, and Biometry courses, the new program will not create further budgetary burdens, according to Wofford.
“Currently, statistics is one of the fastest growing careers, including all industry sectors (public, private, government) and across a breadth of fields,” Wofford said. “Statistics allows students to practice and deconstruct in meaningful context the art of interpretation, integral to many, many [careers],” she added.
Since the program is not yet approved, course listings are not yet available to the public. Interested students should contact Wofford personally for course planning, she said.