Majoring in Statistics

The career counselors were recently paid a visit by Dr. Jane Harvill, Associate Professor of Statistical Science at Baylor.  She wowed us with stories of six figure salaries, telecommuting, and a broad range of employers where statisticians can work.  Here are some things to keep in mind if you are interested in applying your mathematical skills to help people make decisions.

First of all, the undergraduate major in statistics is appropriate for those who are strong in math.  That does not simply mean that you prefer math over English.  Statistics majors must take three calculus courses and linear algebra.  This major might especially appeal to students who enjoyed AP Statistics in high school.

Second, the list of fields in which statistics are used is endless, and many students choose to double major.  There is also a statistics minor available.  Dr. Harvill told us that statisticians work in government, quality control, market research, the pharmaceutical industry, academics, law, and the insurance and credit card industries…just to name a few.  Students majoring in biology, chemistry, astrophysics, sociology, and economics might find a statistics major or minor to be a nice complement to their studies.

Students with a bachelor’s degree in statistics can apply for jobs as technicians, but students are encouraged to pursue a master’s degree in statistics.  Two more years of school can lead to significantly higher salaries.  As an example, Dr. Harvill told us that technicians may earn a starting salary of $50,000 per year.  However, statisticians with master’s degrees may have six figure salaries.

Interested in learning more?  You can visit the Department of Statistical Science on the web.

35 thoughts on “Majoring in Statistics”

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