May 26, 2024  
Course Catalog 2017-2018 
Course Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Statistical Methods

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Jeff Witmer, Program Director, Professor of Mathematics
Kevin Woods, Associate Professor of Mathematics
Barbara Craig, Professor of Economics
Nancy Darling, Professor of Psychology
Colin Dawson, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Daphne John, Associate Professor of Sociology
Christie Parris, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Statistical methods are widely applied in the social and natural sciences (and, to a lesser extent, in the humanities) to model human behavior, to better understand the natural world, and to aid decision making in the face of uncertainty. Statistical reasoning touches a great many fields of human endeavor and is taught at Oberlin in many departments and at several levels.

A first course in statistics might be taken in the Mathematics Department. Students majoring in Psychology, Politics, or Sociology can take a first course in one of those departments. A second-level course for a general audience is offered by Mathematics. Second-level courses for psychology or economics students are offered by those departments. The Mathematics Department offers an upper-level course each year; other departments offer higher-level courses from time to time.

Advanced Placement

Students who have taken a College Board Advanced Placement Program examination in Statistics do not receive course credit.  However, students scoring a 3 or higher on the Statistics examination are prepared for STAT 205.


Courses with no statistics prerequisite

STAT 113 (Introduction to Statistics) and 114 (Introduction to Biostatistics) are offered each semester by the Mathematics Department.  These courses have no prerequisite, but the Mathematics Department administers a readiness exam that students are to take prior to being given consent for either course; students who have passed a calculus course are exempted from the statistics readiness exam. STAT 113 and STAT 114 are similar in coverage of basic statistics methods but differ primarily in the sources of examples used.  The software package R is used in these courses.

STAT 205 (Statistics and Modeling) an introduction to statistics and, in particular, linear models for students with some background in statistics and a good background in mathematics.  Students with a score of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement examination in Statistics should consider enrolling in STAT 205.

POLT 205 (Political Research and Analysis) provides a quantitative approach to the study of political phenomena, using the SPSS software package.

PSYC 200 (Research Methods I) is offered every semester; the prerequisite to PSYC 200 is PSYC 100 or NSCI 201 - or permission of the instructor. This course uses the SPSS software package and blends basic statistics with research methods that are important to neuroscience, psychology, and other social sciences.

SOCI 301/302 (Social Research Methods and the accompanying lab) is offered every fall and gives an introduction to research methods and statistics used in sociology. The SPSS software package is used to analyze data sets for quantitative hypothesis testing.

STAT 237 (Bayesian Computation) is offered in alternate years and develops more sophisticated statistical models from a Bayesian perspective.


Courses with a statistics or mathematics prerequisite

STAT 213 (Statistical Modeling) is offered every year for students who have completed a first course in statistics. The software package R is used in this course, which develops multiple regression, factorial analysis of variance, and logistic regression.

STAT 336 (Mathematical Statistics) is offered alternate years for students who have completed MATH 232 and MATH 335.

STAT 339 (Probabilistic Modeling and Machine Learning) is offered in alternate years for students who have completed STAT 113 (or equivalent,) MATH 134, and at least one MATH or STAT course at the 200-level or above, or instructor consent.  This is an overview of statistical models and algorithms used in machine learning.

PSYC 300 (Research Methods II) is offered every semester as a continuation of PSYC 200 in which more advanced material is covered, including multiple regression, factorial and repeated measures analysis of variance, ANACOVA, MANOVA, and logistic regression.

ECON 255 (Introduction to Econometrics) is offered every semester and builds on STAT 113, using econometric software such as Stata primarily for the application of multivariate regression analysis.

ECON 355 (Advanced Econometrics), ECON 356 (Advanced Microeconometrics), and ECON 357 (Time Series Analysis) are all sequels to ECON 255 in which more advanced methods are developed, such as logit and probit analysis and the techniques particular to the analysis of time series data. One of these advanced courses is typically offered each year. There may be some overlap between ECON 355 and ECON 356, so consult with the economics department chair to be sure of receiving credit for both.

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