Greetings From The Statistics Department Chair
Welcome to the Mizzou Department of Statistics! It is an exciting time to be a Tiger, with a new administration across all levels of the University. The University, College, and Department have many new initiatives to promote teaching, research, and service in a climate that embraces diversity and mutual respect. In the Statistics Department, we continue to develop and modify our curriculum to keep up with the changing times in the “data science revolution.” It has long been a strength of this Department that we have adapted our curriculum to provide the most modern and relevant classes for our students, while continuing to provide the strong mathematical foundations that are required to enable life-long learning in Statistics. We also will seek to provide new options for student involvement in committees, contests, discussion groups, as well as social interactions. We are lucky in this department to have a group of students and internationally renowned faculty with varied backgrounds and research interests - this provides so much opportunity to expand our horizons!
What is Statistics?
At its core, Statistics is the science of data, variability, and uncertainty. Indeed, a central principle of statistical inference is that there is always a component of randomness in data, and if properly accounted for, this allows researchers to formulate questions in terms of underlying processes in a way to quantify uncertainty in their answers. This then allows researchers to distinguish between causation and correlation, and provides a formal mechanism for precise inference, prediction, and classification. Statistics can tell us how much safer it is to fly than drive, the odds of winning the lottery, our life expectancy, who is likely to win the next election, who should our favorite sports team choose in the next draft, and can assist with individualized dose adjustments, drug development, toxicity and side effects consideration, and quantification of the benefit-risk ratios of the designed treatment protocol. In all of these cases, uncertainty quantification allows scientists and analysts to develop models and algorithms that exhibit predictable and reproducible behavior – uncertainty matters!
Good News! Statistics also tells us there is a growing demand for statisticians!
Because of its importance as a scientific method, the demand for trained statisticians has grown in education, medicine, government, business and industry as well as in the biological, social and physical sciences. The Department of Statistics at MU is committed to train undergraduate and graduate students to meet this demand and develop careers in teaching and research.
Statistics is somewhat unique in that we are inherently a collaborative discipline, and in the Department here at Mizzou, we are motivated to develop new methodology and theory to solve real-world problems in the presence of data and uncertainty. Our faculty are recognized internationally for their contribution to statistical theory, methodology, and applications. Few small departments have as many distinguished faculty members as Mizzou’s Statistics Department! In addition, our research matters in that it inherently translational and has provided immediate benefit to research groups in a number of different disciplines. These accomplishments put our faculty at the frontier of modern statistics, which is being shaped by collaborative research of teams of scientists using computer-intensive statistical methodology.
Currently, our general departmental strengths include: Bayesian Statistics, Dependent Data (time, space, spatio-temporal, longitudinal, functional, multivariate), Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Computational Statistics, Environmental Statistics, Statistical Deep Learning, Statistical Machine Learning.
Majoring in Statistics at Mizzou
The Department offers the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, and Ph.D. in Statistics. Our ever-growing undergraduate and graduate program now comprises over 50 and 135 students, respectively!
The collaborative nature of research and teaching in the department constantly brings students and faculty members together in class and in the computer labs. They know each other by first names, and they see each other so regularly that questions rarely wait long for answers.
Is a career in statistics right for you? Speak with one of our admissions advisors and find out.
- Dr. Larry Ries, Director of Undergraduate Studies.
- Dr. Lori Thombs, Director of Graduate Admissions.
Please feel free to contact me or any of my colleagues for further information on our department! If you have trouble or need further assistance with our website, please don't hesitate to contact the department at (573) 882-6376, or VanNiceA@missouri.edu.