BoF 2-09: What mathematics should be required for statistics and data science majors?

Michael D. Larsen (Saint Michael's College)


Some students find interest in statistics and data science before taking courses at the level of calculus. Some are not attracted by mathematical aspects of the field. Many topics can be presented and studied via computer application and simulation. On the other hand, mathematics through calculus typically is used in teaching undergraduate probability theory and mathematical statistics. Similarly, linear regression models and estimators are succinctly expressed using linear algebra. Should undergraduate statistics and data science majors be required to take mathematics, including multivariable calculus and linear algebra? What is the right mathematics-computing balance for these majors?