The Minor in Statistics at Salem College

The minor in statistics is intended to prepare students for more advanced study in statistics at the graduate level, for graduate programs in other disciplines that rely heavily on statistical analysis, and for professions in many emerging and exciting interdisciplinary areas. Depending upon the student’s interests and plans, the minor in statistics should be complemented by courses from other relevant disciplines. Students interested in a minor in statistics are encouraged to seek advising from the Department of Mathematics faculty early in their time at Salem to ensure that the proper sequence of prerequisites and supplementary courses is pursued. 

The program has been designed with great flexibility so that a student, after consultation with a mathematics faculty member, may choose the appropriate elective(s) to satisfy the requirements for the minor and to prepare her for the career or post-graduate program of her choice. When designing the program, we paid close attention to the standards set by and recommendations of the Society of Actuaries and the American Statistical Association in the development of new courses and in the construction of the minor requirements. 

Even those not interested in pursuing a minor in statistics may find one or more of the courses below gives them an advantage when applying to graduate school, for internships, for summer research programs, or employment.

Your Program

The minor in statistics requires 5 courses:

Required Core Courses:

   MATH 122: Probability (pre-requisite: MATH 101)

   MATH 132: Mathematical Statistics (pre-requisite: MATH 122)

   MATH 142: Statistical Methods with R (pre-requisite: MATH 100)

   MATH 242: Nonparametric Statistical Methods (pre-requisites: MATH 070 or MATH 100 plus either BIOL 205, BUAD 240, ECON 320, MATH 132, PSYC 101, or SOCI 215) 

One course chosen from:

   MATH 110: Linear Algebra (pre-requisite: MATH 101)

   MATH 140: Numerical Analysis (pre-requisites: MATH 102 and CPSC 140), or

   MATH 162: Mathematics of Finance (pre-requisite: MATH 102).

Note that students who have an appropriate score on the AP Statistics examination currently receive credit for PSYC 101, so such students who complete either MATH 070 or 100 in their first year at Salem will be able to take MATH 242 early in their academic program. However, note that completion of MATH 070 does not prepare a student for MATH 101. Therefore, if you are planning to pursue the minor in statistics, it is best to have completed MATH 100: Calculus I and MATH 101: Calculus II within your first three semesters at Salem.

Also note that, according to policies adopted by Salem College faculty, no more than three courses can be submitted for both a major and a minor. In addition, academic policy stipulates that students who wish to pursue minors in both statistics and mathematics may not submit MATH 122, 132, 140, 142, 162 or 242 for the completion of the minor in mathematics.

Your Unique Goals, Your Unique Future: A Program with Flexibility

A career as an actuary is consistently rated as one of the top careers in the USA, based on salary, opportunity for advancement, and stress-level. For a student interested in pursuing a career or graduate work in Actuarial Science, we recommend that she choose the MATH 162: Mathematics of Finance option for the minor and that she take as many Economics and Finance courses as possible. MATH 110: Linear algebra is also strongly recommended for any such student.

The 21st Century has brought us many new fields that blend mathematics, statistics, biology, chemistry, economics, and computer science or computer information systems. There are many exciting careers waiting for students who have a love for any or all of those areas and the number of jobs available in many of these areas is expected to grow substantially over the next 10 years.  If you are interested in pursuing graduate work in Bioinformatics, Biostatistics, Econometrics, Epidemiology, Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Public Policy, Education Advocacy, or any similar interdisciplinary field, we recommend that you choose the MATH 110: Linear Algebra option for the minor. Some graduate programs in these areas also require additional courses in mathematics, statistics or computer science; interested students should consult the requirements for such programs when planning their academic program at Salem.

If you believe that a career as a statistician is in your future, a major in mathematics with a minor in statistics is the recommended option, though not the only option. You will be better prepared for graduate work in statistics if you have familiarity with linear algebra, real analysis and numerical analysis. So, if you fall into this category, you could pursue a minor in both statistics and mathematics, at the very minimum, to prepare for graduate school or an entry level position as a statistician.

Even if you are not interested in pursuing the minor in statistics, selecting some of these courses to complement your undergraduate programs will be beneficial when you apply for internships, graduate school, or employment. If you are interested in pursuing graduate work in Communication, Education, Marketing, Political Science, Psychology, or Sociology, we recommend that you take MATH 242: Nonparametric Statistical Methods, even if you are not pursuing the statistics minor, as this is a topic that is sometimes required of graduate students in those areas. Having experience with the topic as an undergraduate will give you a distinct advantage in graduate school in many disciplines.

In addition, MATH 142: Statistical Methods with R will introduce you to statistical computing, which is a marketable skill when applying for internships, summer research programs, employment and graduate school. The R environment is recognized world-wide as one of the most accurate and adaptable statistical computing options available. R is available in the LC lab on campus and on some computers in Gramley Library. You can also download it for free from the R Project–it is platform independent, meaning that work you complete on a UNIX, Linux, PC or Mac will be accessible to anyone using another platform. We currently have an R Resources for Statistical Computing Page and a separate R Resource collection on the Salem College Moodle system–we are updating it all the time.

Your Resources

Students have access to a wealth of resources to support their pursuit of these courses or the entire minor. The Salem College Moodle site, accessible by logging in at MySalem, includes a set of resources for the R programming environment, along with the QUEST Center for quantitative enrichment, science and technology. Some professional organizations and institutes also maintain web sites that have a wealth of information you may find useful. Here is a brief list of some of them:

Of course, our departmental faculty, Professors Debbie Harrell (, Wade Mattox ( and Paula Grafton Young (, are always available to support and advise.