CSU East Bay

Statistics Department

When Two Majors Are Better Than One


The B.S. in Statistics as a Second Major

The Department of Statistics at Cal State East Bay offers an undergraduate program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree. Here, we show how it may be to your advantage to pair the B.S. degree in Statistics with a major in another area of study, such as Economics, Biology, Psychology, Political Science, Sociology, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, or Computer Science, to name only a few. To make the explanation easy, we will call your other field of study your “first” major and statistics your “second” major.

Some advantages of such a “double-barreled” program are that it:

Select the highlighted heading introducing each section just below for a more complete discussion further on.

Feasible.

Both majors can be completed in about the same time as one, often within the 180-unit requirement for graduation. [That's the standard minimum unit requirement for all undergraduates. If you are one of the “traditional” students who plans to finish in four years (12 quarters), you will need to take a full load that averages about 15 units a quarter.]

Sample Programs.

Outlines of sample programs with Psychology and Mathematics as the first majors are shown. Contact the Statistics Office for advice on how to adapt these prototype double-major programs to your own circumstances, or to work out a program for a different first major.

Synergistic.

The material in each major complements the other, giving you a better understanding of both. Statistics has an applied side and a theoretical side. Neither can be fully appreciated without understanding how Statistics is actually used in the real world. On the other hand, as the social, biological, administrative, and physical sciences rely increasingly on statistical methods to make further advances, a knowledge of Statistics is required for a full understanding of these areas. Majors in Mathematics and Computer Science will gain an understanding of the importance of these areas as a basis for statistical theory and methods, and will gain practical experience in the application of statistical and other mathematical methods to real-world situations.

Career-Oriented.

Whether you plan to get a job or go on to graduate study after you leave CSU East Bay, your training in statistics will give you an important edge in the positions you seek and in your ability to succeed in them.




Additional Notes about Feasibility

For a complete description of our undergraduate program in Statistics, please refer to the Catalog description of the Statistics B.S. Degree or to our departmental brochure on the program.

But for a quick overview of Statistics as a second major, it is enough to know that the Statistics Major has a rather small unit requirement and that many of those units can be counted toward both your first and second majors.

Outline of Statistics Degree Requirements. The unit requirement within the major is unusually low—only 72-78 units (depending on your background when you enter). In brief, this usually amounts to:

Double-Duty Courses. The five courses (20 units) from a field of application, mentioned just above, can be taken from your first major, and so they count toward both majors. Furthermore, it is likely that your first major either requires or recommends several Statistics courses that can also be counted toward both majors. Contact the Statistics Department office (510-885-3435) for advice on planning your double major.

Note: If you complete a double major in which your first major leads to a degree other than B.S. (for example, B.A. in Sociology), only one degree—your choice—will be awarded. However, your transcript will show that you completed requirements for both majors.

Sample Programs

Because students arrive at Cal State East Bay with different backgrounds and interests, you will need to consult with advisors in both your first major and Statistics to work out the double major program that is best for you. The tables below show four examples for students under the 2006-2008 Catalog. Consult the Catalog under Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics, Psychology, and Statistics official program requirements and for titles, descriptions, and prerequisites of the courses listed in these tables. Also, check with your first major advisor to ensure that the courses are available in the quarters suggested.

Examples of Programs Double-Majors with Statistics
Double Major: Economics (Stat. Econ. option) and Statistics
Upper Division examples
Italics indicates class counts towards Econ. major
Underline indicates class counts towards Stat. major
Year Fall Winter Spring
Junior Econ. 3005
Econ. 3310
Stat. 3502
Econ. 3000
Econ. 3500
Stat. 3503
Econ. 4000
Stat. 4601
Stat. 4950
Senior Econ. UD elective
Stat. 3401
Stat. UD elective
Econ. UD elective
Stat. 3402
Stat. UD elective
Econ. UD elective
Stat. 4603 or UD elective

Double Major: Psychology (Human Factors, Stat. Conc.) and Statistics
Upper Division examples
Italics indicates class counts towards Psych. major
Underline indicates class counts towards Stat. major
Year Fall Winter Spring
Junior Psyc. 3400
Psyc. 4200
Stat. 3502
Psyc. 3100
Psyc. 3240 or 4220 or 4740
Stat. 3503
Psyc. 3420
Psyc. 3500 or 3520
Stat. 4601
Senior Psyc. 4320
Psyc. LAB
Stat. 3401
Stat. 3900 or 4950
Psyc. 4500
Psyc. LAB
Stat. 3402 or UD elective
Stat. UD elective
Psyc. 4345
Psyc. 4320
Psyc. 4430 or 4900
Stat. UD elective

Double Major: Math (Applied option) and Statistics
Upper Division examples
Italics indicates class counts towards Math major
Underline indicates class counts towards Stat. major
Year Fall Winter Spring
Junior Math 3000
Math 3100
Stat. 3502
Math 3331
Math. 3300
Stat. 3503
Math 3301
Stat. UD elective
Stat. 4950
Senior Math 3151
Math 3841
Stat. UD elective
Math 3121
Math 4151
Math 4841
Stat. 3401
Stat. 4601
Stat. UD elective

Double Major: Computer Science and Statistics
Upper Division examples
Italics indicates class counts towards CS major
Underline indicates class counts towards Stat. major
Year Fall Winter Spring
Junior CS 3120
CS 3240
Stat. 3502
CS 3430
CS 3590
Stat. 3503
CS 4560
CS 4660
Stat. 4950
Senior CS 4110
Stat. 3401
Stat. UD elective
CS 4170
CS 4245
Stat. UD elective
Stat. 4601
Stat. UD elective

Double Major: Engineering and Statistics
Upper Division examples
Italics indicates class counts towards Eng. major
Underline indicates class counts towards Stat. major
Year Fall Winter Spring
Junior ENGR 3020
ENGR 3140
ENGR 3841
Stat. 3601
ENGR 3101
ENGR 4100
ENGR 4350
MATH 3331
Stat. 3602
ENGR 3190
ENGR 4200
ENGR 4300
Stat. 4603
Senior ENGR 4300
ENGR 4280
Stat. 3401*
Stat. 4950 or UD elective
ENGR 4350
ENGR 4430
ENGR 4610
Stat. UD elective
ENGR 4440
ENGR 4620
Stat. 4601*
Stat. 4950 or UD elective
* ask your ENGR advisor if these courses are acceptable electives.

More on How Each Field Helps
You Understand the Other

Statistics is a relatively young scientific field. Some say that modern statistics started in the 1920s when ideas from various parts of mathematics came together to provide a basis for understanding randomness, for designing experiments, and for making “optimal” decisions. Even today, Statistics is often viewed as one of the mathematical sciences.

But Statistics has always differed from mathematics because of its very close connection with applications. Especially in recent years, many of the most important advances in Statistics have come directly from trying to solve difficult and sometimes messy problems in the real world.

Here are some examples:

The trend continues today . New statistical methods are developed each year because of connections with other fields:

Advances in computer science have made possible “computer-intensive” methods that could not even have been conceived of 20 years ago. Recent specialized seminars in statistics have been held with the participation of experts in geology, astronomy, genetics, biophysics, criminal justice, human development, software reliability, etc., to seek statistical methods for solving new kinds of problems.

In the Statistics Department, we know from our own experience that it is easier to teach statistical ideas to people who already have some idea why they are useful. The decision to encourage Statistics majors to become familiar with an area of application was not made so that doing double majors would be easy. It was made because it helps us to produce better statisticians.

Some of the statistical methods you will study in basic courses were developed to answer practical problems. One of the most elementary and commonly used statistical procedures was invented by a mathematically-oriented brewmaster (William Gosset, usually known as “Student”, of Guinness Brewery) while trying to improve quality control in the making of ale. Modern experimental design was founded by Sir Ronald A. Fisher, an expert in agricultural genetics. Nurse/Statistician Florence Nightingale used data analysis to demonstrate a need for hospital reform in England.

Career Opportunities

The job market. Students graduating today enter a competitive job market. As you might expect, the employment opportunities for students with a double major are much greater than for those with only a single major. Employers value both the expertise from the first major and the insights that a knowledge of statistical methods can provide-- one need only look at the job board in the Career Center. A candidate with a knowledge of both areas has an important edge. In the longer run, those who know some Statistics often find themselves in a position to access and to understand data that is crucial to running a business. This can create powerful scenarios for job advancement.

Admission to Graduate Study. Among the criteria considered by many graduate school admissions committees is the preparation that candidates have in the area of Statistics. A second major in Statistics is bound to be an impressive credential. Some graduate schools allow Statistics as a substitute for a required foreign language. Students planning to do graduate work in any of the mathematical sciences will find that the double major provides a much stronger background than either major separately.

In many fields, graduate students are involved in taking surveys, doing observational studies, and designing experiments. The proper planning, analysis, and reporting of such work involves statistical ideas and techniques. Graduate students familiar with statistics are prepared to begin their research work sooner, because they already have valuable knowledge about the tools and methodology of research.

Future Teachers. Statistical ideas are being taught more and more frequently in elementary schools. Each year statistical societies hold a large joint meeting—often attended by four or five thousand statisticians. For the past few years a regular feature at these meetings has been “poster sessions” showing statistical investigations done by elementary students.

The first courses in Advanced Placement Statistics were offered during 1996-97. So, it is now possible for some high school graduates to enter a college or university with undergraduate credit for a basic statistics course. Elementary school teachers and teachers of high school mathematics who have a knowledge of Statistics are in especially high demand just now.


If you have made it this far, you must be at least a little bit interested. Contact the Statistics Office [at (510) 885-3435, by e-mail, or in person 229 North Science Building] for more information, for an appointment with a Statistics advisor, or to sign up for Statistics as your second major.