With the rapid growth of Internet of Things, the demand for statistical science graduates has been increasing steadily.
At the School of Statistics of University of Minnesota, faculty and students work with collaborators across the campus and around the globe, including research groups and local companies. Photograph courtesy University of Minnesota
Statistical science is usually defined as the science of learning from data, and of measuring, controlling and communicating uncertainty. It provides the necessary guidance for new scientific and societal advances, and informs crucial decision-making. In this digital age, statisticians have more data than ever before to drive new and innovative areas of study. According to a Forbes magazine article, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day, and that pace is only accelerating with the rapid growth of the Internet of Things all over the globe.
Statistics programs focus on theories and methods of data collection, tabulation, analysis and interpretation. Graduates typically pursue careers in business, academics, industry, government, medicine, publishing, scientific research and many more diverse fields. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for a statistician in the United States was $92,600 (Rs. 64 lakh approximately) in May 2018.
With data-driven analytics and statistical analysis becoming increasingly important in all global industries, the programs of the School of Statistics of University of Minnesota (UMN) and the department of statistical science of Baylor University in Texas are options Indian students can consider.
Old and established
Founded in 1851, UMN is a public research university located in Minneapolis. It welcomes over 7,000 students from about 130 countries. Its faculty and students work with collaborators across the campus and around the globe to create meaning from vast amounts of new information. This research requires not only existing statistical models and methodologies, but also creating and developing models, methods and software to address new and evolving challenges.
“Our courses are taught by internationally distinguished faculty,” says Matthew Dangel, administrator at the UMN School of Statistics, “including many elected fellows of major statistical organizations such as the American Statistical Association, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics and the International Statistical Institute. Many faculty members are or have been editors of major journals. Several professors are the recipients of awards for excellence in teaching.” He adds that the school also provides opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and professional development through the university’s Institute for Research in Statistics and its Applications (IRSA). “Students are encouraged to work as research assistants for IRSA’s Statistical Consulting Center, where they receive hands-on experience in solving challenges for real-world clients,” says Dangel. “Furthermore, students gain access to IRSA’s conferences, workshops and short courses, where their knowledge of statistics and data science is applied across disciplines to address critical challenges of the 21st century.” Dangel adds that statistics graduates pursue successful careers in fields like business, academics, industry, government, medicine, publishing and scientific research.
New and innovative
Baylor University is a private university and has a total enrollment of over 17,000 students, including those from 91 countries. Although the university first administered Ph.D. and Master of Arts (now Master of Science) degrees in statistics in 1991, the undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in statistics was initiated in 2005. Since then, the program has had an increasing number of students express interest in the major. A minor in statistics has been added to provide an attractive option to students entering graduate school or exploring professional career opportunities.
The department provides quality statistics instruction at all levels, to help discover and disseminate statistical knowledge and develop scholars, skilled professionals and leaders, sensitive to the needs of society.
“We are a program that focuses on both theory and methodology, with a strong emphasis on modern computational methods,” says Jeanne Hill, senior lecturer of statistical science and undergraduate program director. “The mission of Baylor University is to educate men and women for worldwide leadership and service.”
Jason Chiang is a freelance writer based in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.