Statistics Advising Guide (2021 - 2022)

Statistics is the science of collecting, analyzing, and summarizing data. Data is everywhere. When you turn on your mobile phone, take a survey, or purchase groceries you are generating data. As the availability of data grows, so does the need for qualified people to gather, process, and use the data. 

  • Majors receive an in depth exposure to the theory, application and tools needed to be successful inside and outside of the classroom.
  • The interdisciplinary approach taken by the department allows each student to tailor their statistics degree to their own interests.
  • A student graduating from Gustavus with a degree in statistics will have the knowledge and technical skills to find employment in a field of their choosing.

Statistics Major

A grade of C- or higher is required in the 11 courses listed below as well as the successful completion of the cognate requirement. 

  1. MCS-122 Calculus II
  2. MCS-142 Intro to Statistics
  3. MCS-150 Discrete Mathematics
  4. MCS-177 Computer Science I
  5. MCS-221 Linear Algebra
  6. MCS-222 Multivariate Calculus
  7. MCS-241 Applied Statistical Methods–Modern
  8. MCS-242 Applied Statistical Methods–Traditional
  9. MCS-341 Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics I
  10. MCS-342 Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics II
  11. One of the following courses:
    1. MCS-358 Mathematical Model Building
    2. MCS-354 Advanced Topics in Statistics
    3. An approved capstone experience (approval form)
  12. Cognate Requirement: A major in Mathematics or a major or minor in an applied discipline approved by the MCS Department. Examples include Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Health Fitness, Management, Neuroscience, Physics, Political Science, Psychological Science, and Sociology.

Statistics Minor

  1. One of the following courses in calculus :
    1. A previous course in calculus (passing the AP calculus exam with a 4 or 5)
    2. MCS-119 Calculus with Pre-Calculus Review Part B
    3. MCS-121 Calculus I
  2. One of the following courses in statistics:
    1. Passing the AP statistics exam with a 4 or 5
    2. MCS-140 Elementary Statistics
    3. MCS-142 Introduction to Statistics
    4. PSY-224 Statistics and Research Methods I
    5. E/M-125 Statistics for Economics and Management
  3. All three of the following courses. 
    • MCS-177 Computer Science I
    • MCS-241 Applied Statistical Methods–Modern
    • MCS-242 Applied Statistical Methods–Traditional
  4. A course in research methods in another discipline:
    1. BIO-202 Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior
    2. E/M-355 Marketing Research
    3. E/M-388 Econometrics
    4. ENV-399 Senior Seminar
    5. GEG-242 Research Methods in Geography
    6. GEO-392/393 Research in Geology
    7. HES-220 Research and Statistics in Health and Exercise Science
    8. NUR-202 Research in the Health Sciences
    9. POL-200 Analyzing Politics
    10. PSY-225 Statistics and Research Methods II
    11. PSY-385 Neuroscience Capstone
    12. S/A-247 Methods of Social Research


  • Potential majors are encouraged to complete the Core courses (MCS-122, MCS-150, MCS-221, MCS-222, MCS-177, MCS-142) by the end of their sophomore year. All of these courses are offered every semester.
  • MCS-241 and MCS-242 can be taken in any order. However, we encourage students, especially those interested in a Statistics minor, to take MCS-242 before MCS-241.
  • Students who are contemplating graduate study in Statistics are strongly encouraged to double-major in Mathematics.
  • Students interested in a career in actuarial science should have a strong background in mathematics, statistics, and economics. A double major In Statistics and Economics or a major / minor combination is recommended. Students should plan on taking at least the first actuary exam offered by the Society of Actuaries before graduation.

Sample Plans

All students should ideally lay out a schedule of their own showing what courses they plan to take, and when they plan to take them. The schedule may not accurately forecast the future, but it is helpful none the less. A printable sample plan can be found on the Statistics Major Form

Starting with Calculus I

Plan for starting with Calc I
  Fall  J Term Spring
1st Year MCS-121   MCS-122

2nd Year


3rd Year


Cognate minor


Cognate minor
4th Year


Cognate minor


Cognate minor


Starting with Calculus II

Plan for starting with Calc II
  Fall J Term Spring
1st Year MCS-122
2nd Year


3rd Year


Cognate minor


Cognate minor
4th Year


Cognate minor

*MCS-358 MCS-342
Cognate minor


Statistics Course Descriptions

MCS-140 Elementary Statistics Survey of uses of statistics, organization of data, observation and measurement, averages, variability, association, probability, randomness, sampling distributions, estimation, tests of hypotheses, and introduction to design. Students with a calculus background who want statistics should take MCS-142. Prerequisite: Course in higher algebra or consent of instructor. MATHL, Fall and Spring Semesters.

 MCS-142 Introduction to Statistics Gathering, organizing and describing data, probability, random variables, sampling distributions, estimation, hypothesis testing, linear regression, and analysis of variance. Treatment is more mathematical than MCS-140, but the emphasis is still on applications. Introduction to the use of computerized statistical packages. Students who have already taken a statistics course may not earn credit for MCS-142. MATHL, Fall and Spring semesters.

MCS- 241 Applied Statistical Methods–Modern This is an intermediate course in the organization and analysis of data. The focus is on modern statistical methods for analyzing uni-variate and multivariate data. Topics include non-parametric statistical analysis, randomization tests, simulation, and bootstrapping. In addition, students will learn to use a statistical software package. Prerequisite: MCS-140, MCS-142, E/M-125, or PSY-224. Spring semesters.

MCS-242 Applied Statistical Methods–Traditional This is an intermediate course in the collection, organization, and analysis of data. The focus is the application of statistical methods to practical problems involving real data from many disciplines. Topics to be covered include regression analysis, experimental design, analysis of variance, and logistic regression. In addition, students will learn to use a statistical software package. Prerequisite: MCS-140, MCS-142, E/M-125, or permission of instructor. WRITD. Fall semesters.

 MCS-341 Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics I The probability model, random variables, conditional probability and independence, probability functions, density functions, expectation, some important discrete and continuous distributions, the central limit theorem. Prerequisite: MCS-222; a previous or concurrent course in statistics is recommended. Fall semesters..

 MCS-342 Probability Theory and Mathematical Statistics II Normal, chi-square, t, and F distributions. Principles of statistical estimation and hypothesis testing. Non-parametric methods. Regression, correlation, and analysis of variance. Prerequisites: MCS-341 and a previous course in statistics. Spring semesters. 

MCS-354 Advanced Topics in Statistics An investigation into a branch of statistics not covered elsewhere in the curriculum. The topic will change from year to year, depending on the interests of instructors and students. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Spring semester of odd years. 

 MCS-358 Mathematical Model Building An introductory study of the formulation of mathematical models to represent, predict, and control real-world situations, especially in the social and biological sciences. The course will use ideas from calculus, linear algebra, and probability theory to describe processes that change in time in some regular manner, which may be deterministic or stochastic. Typical topics are Markov and Poisson processes, discrete and continuous equations of growth, and computer simulation. In addition, students will work on their own mathematical modeling projects. Prerequisites: MCS-177, MCS-122, MCS-221, and MCS-142 or MCS-341. Juniors and Seniors only. January Interim, even years.