Courses and Academic Options
With their faculty advisors, students plan individual schedules that draw upon the courses in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the other colleges at Cornell. The core elements of the Biometry and Statistics major include calculus, matrix algebra, statistical methods, probability, statistical theory, and computing. In addition, courses in the biological sciences, humanities, social sciences, and written and oral expression are required as part of the college's distribution requirements.
The number of courses required specifically for the Biometry and Statistics major is not large, and each student is encouraged to develop a concentration of courses in a related area. Recent students have taken advanced course work in biology (to prepare for graduate school in biostatistics or medical school), in business management and economics (to prepare for a quantitative business emphasis), in mathematics (to prepare for graduate school in statistics), in education (to prepare for a teaching career), in computing (to prepare for a variety of computer-intensive careers and graduate programs), and in other disciplines.
Three courses of a special nature are also offered:
- Supervised Teaching
- Statistical Consulting
Students who wish to gain teaching experience can enroll in Supervised Teaching, where duties typically include leading a discussion section or laboratory section, participating in the grading of homework assignments, and holding office hours for a course taught by a faculty member.
Advanced undergraduate students can also take Statistical Consulting to gain practical experience in the applications of statistics. They participate in the Statistical Consulting Service operated by the Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, in which faculty members provide statistical expertise to faculty, staff, and students engaged in research projects throughout the university, and occasionally beyond.
In addition, a student can obtain research experience by completing a research project in biometry or statistics under the direction of a faculty member. Due to the foundation of coursework needed to provide a student with the tools and perspective essential for independent research, the project is conducted during the student's senior year. Students often record project results in the form of a senior honors thesis.
Many courses in Biometry and Statistics involve the use of computers and statistical computing software. There are numerous microcomputer facilities on campus for instruction and for student use, and free computing accounts on the university's large computers are supplied when needed for coursework. The Biometry and Statistics major utilizes Cornell computers, ranging from microcomputers to the university's supercomputer.