Data Science and Statistics


Bachelor of Science | College of Arts and Science

What is Data Science and Statistics?

Data science is an inter-disciplinary field that uses computer programs, statistics, probability, and analytics skills to extract knowledge and insights from structured and unstructured data. In the age of big data, strong analytical skills and the ability to manage and interpret big data are in high demand in many fields.

The study of statistics emphasizes careful problem analysis, precision of thought and expression, and the mathematical skills needed for work in many other areas. Statisticians are interested both in the theory and the applications within their disciplines. Applied statisticians use tools growing out of probability, modeling and computing to solve problems in science, industry, government, and other areas.

Data Scientists and statisticians may work in highly technical areas such as computer programming (e.g. as data scientists), or they may work in economics (e.g., marketing or risk analysts), in operations research, in insurance (as actuaries), or in any other field requiring sophisticated analytical skills. Some of these fields include sciences such as astronomy, chemistry, physics, engineering, biology, oceanography, meteorology, and ecology, or fields as diverse as linguistics, law, or business.

What are the features of Miami’s program?

Emphasis on teaching

The ratio of instructors to students is small and allows for an excellent one-on-one relationship. Typical intermediate to upper level classes for data science and statistics majors have 20 or fewer students. Students receive individual attention and get to know instructors. With Miami's focus on undergraduate education, senior faculty regularly teach introductory, intermediate as well as upper level courses. For guidance, you'll also be assigned an adviser in your first year.

A broad range of courses

With more than 200 undergraduate students majoring in data science, statistics, or mathematics & statistics, Miami can offer a broad range of courses in the areas of probability, modeling, computing, data visualization and data practice.

Special seminars

The department provides opportunities for faculty and students to work together in small groups. Included are seminars for first-year majors, study groups for actuarial exams, undergraduate research independent studies. Problem-solving skills are developed or sharpened in these courses or independent studies and prove useful in statistical research work, consulting in business and industry, or taking competitive exams.

Opportunities for research

Through the University Summer Scholars Program, an undergraduate program sponsored by the Office for the Advancement of Scholarship and Teaching, students are given the opportunity to do research with a faculty mentor. Students can also work with a faculty member doing independent studies. In many cases, this leads to a paper that can be presented at a regional or national student conference. The National Science Foundation also sponsors summer programs such as the Research Experiences for Undergraduates. A number of Miami's students majoring in mathematics and statistics have been accepted in such programs.

Statistics colloquia

Undergraduate data science and statistics majors are encouraged to attend departmental colloquia, which are held several times each semester. This gives students exposure to new ideas, applications, and famous scholars.

Alumni mentors

Our alumni have been actively serving the profession and community. Starting from 2019, we regularly invite alumni back to Oxford, having one on one discussions with undergraduate and graduate students to introduce their role as a data scientist or statistician in the company or institute. They also take a group of students to lunch and chat about their experiences in job seeking as well as opportunities in internship and full time employment.

What are the special admission requirements, if any?

There are no additional admission requirements for this program.

What courses would I take?

Miami's major in data science and statistics requires both theoretical and applied mathematics courses. During the first two years of study, most students majoring in statistics complete a sequence of calculus courses and a linear algebra course. With the help of an adviser, you select one or two additional courses that strengthen your preparation for upper-level studies.

The related hours requirement is a concentration of courses in an area of study that has a well-established relationship with mathematics and statistics. This requirement enhances your study of statistics and allows you to tailor the courses to your interests. There are specific tracks that you can follow in certain areas such as actuarial science and systems analysis. For other areas such as biological or social science, or decision science, you can design your program with departmental and adviser approval. The requirement also includes a course or demonstrated competency in computer programming.

What can I do with this major?

Our graduates are very successful in obtaining employment in such areas as data science, statistics, computing and information systems. Many important problems in government, private industry, health and environmental fields, and the academic world require sophisticated techniques for their solutions. The study of data science and statistics provides specific analytical and quantitative tools for dealing with these problems. Employers view graduates with a strong background in data science and statistics as good problem solvers. There is also a growing demand for graduates with broad statistical modeling training in addition to experience with computers. Often these graduates can quickly acquire the technical knowledge that is needed in many specialized fields on the job.

Job titles held by alumni with degrees in data science and statistics are many and varied, such as actuary, benefits consultant, financial analyst, statistician, internal auditor, data scientist, market researcher, biomathematician, operations analyst, systems engineer, software developer, management consultant, and numerical analyst.

Those who go on to graduate school find their bachelor's degree is an excellent base to pursue a master's or doctoral degree in data science, statistics, biostatistics, business analytics or other fields such as business administration, computer engineering, computer science, economics, law, public health, or medicine.

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Statistics
311 Upham Hall
Oxford, OH 45056