Statistical procedures and information surround us in our daily personal lives, and in the daily functioning of business and government. As technology makes it easier to access, collect and analyze masses of information, statistics has become widely used as a means of summarizing and describing data, and as a tool in decision making.

What is Statistics?

When many people hear the word “statistics,” they think of either sports-related numbers or the college class they took and barely passed. While statistics can be thought about in these terms, there is more to the relationship between you and statistics than you probably imagine.

So, what is statistics? Several informal definitions are offered in the book A Career in Statistics: Beyond the Numbers by Gerald Hahn and Necip Doganaksoy:

  • The science of learning from (or making sense out of) data
  • The theory and methods of extracting information from observational data for solving real-world problems
  • The science of uncertainty
  • The quintessential interdisciplinary science
  • The art of telling a story with [numerical] data

Statistics is used around the world by governments, political parties, civil servants, financial companies, opinion-polling firms, social researchers, news organizations, and so much more.

Statisticians, the scientists who collect and analyze data, work in many areas that touch your life, including the following:

  • Medicine
  • Economics
  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Law enforcement
  • Weather forecasting

Statistics is becoming more critical as academia, businesses, and governments come to rely on data-driven decisions, greatly expanding the demand for statisticians.

At Langara, Statistics courses are offered by the Mathematics & Statistics Department.

Most of our Statistics courses are data oriented. We offer several introductory courses, designed for people in various areas of specialization and with various mathematical backgrounds. (See below for information on how to choose a course.) All these courses (STAT 1123, 1124, 1181) present the material at primarily an intuitive level, stressing an understanding of the concepts. Minimal emphasis is placed on calculation; instead, explanation and interpretation of results are stressed. The student is expected to master some calculations using a calculator. Each introductory course includes a term project, in which the student uses computer software taught in class to help investigate a large-scale statistical problem from the student's area of interest. No previous experience with computers is expected.

Students who wish to see more advanced data analysis can register in either Stat 2225 or 3222 or 3223; choose the course by considering your program of study, your math background, and transferability. These courses teach similar topics, but Stat 2225 is designed for students with a stronger math background, so material on mathematical topics such as the derivation of formulas may be included. In all three courses, real-life data is used to illustrate the various methods and analyses that can be applied to a statistical problem.

We also offer a mathematical probability course (Stat 2281), which has a first-year calculus prerequisite. Stat 2281 is our one course that is NOT data oriented. Much of the probability theory underlying popular statistical methods is introduced, developed, and discussed. While there is no formal statistics prerequisite, we strongly advise students to take Stat 1181 at least concurrently, so that we can illustrate how the mathematical and probabilistic ideas presented in Stat 2281 are applied to statistical data analysis.

Mathematics & Statistics Diagnostic Tests

Students wishing to register for STAT 1124 may be asked to write the Mathematics & Statistics Diagnostic Tests for placement, unless they have an acceptable prerequisite math course.

Choosing Your First Statistics Course

STAT 1123 is designed for business students who are in College (rather than University-transfer) business programs - the applications in this course will usually relate to business and economics. There is no prerequisite for this course, but you should be familiar with grade 11 math and you must be able to use your calculator properly. This course has limited university-transfer credit, so check carefully if you are a student in something other than a Langara BBA or business program.

STAT 1124 is designed for social science (including sociology, criminology, psychology, etc), nursing, applied-planning and health-science students; the applications in this course will reflect these subject areas. The prerequisite is a recent C in Precalculus 11 or 12, or Foundations 11 or 12, or a score on the Math/Stat Diagnostic Test that confirms that you have a solid mastery of basic arithmetic and lines.

STAT 1181 is designed for University-transfer students in science, engineering, business, and computer science. This course has a Calculus co-requisite.

All three of these courses cover the same basic topics, but STAT 1181 has substantially more probability than the other two courses.

NOTE: Students cannot get credit for more than one of these three introductory statistics courses. Choose carefully!



PREREQUISITES   (*within the last three years)


STAT 1123

Students in Langara business programs or Langara BBA. Do not take   this course if you plan to transfer to university in math, science, business,   engineering, computer science, etc.

No formal prerequisite. Should be competent using a calculator, and   competent with grade 11 math

None if Langara Diploma program. STAT 3222 if Langara BBA in Marketing   or Business Management; STAT 3223 if Langara BBA in Financial Management

STAT 1124

Students in social science, health science, dietetics

Grade 11 or 12 Precalculus or Foundations, with C or better; or MDT   53

Possibly STAT 2225 (requires A in 1124)

STAT 1181

Students transferring to university in business, science,   engineering, computer science, dietetics, etc.

Calculus prerequisite (may be taken concurrently)

STAT 2225 (and MATH 2310) for UBC Commerce.

STAT 2281 for UBC Engineering or Computer Science.

STAT 1182 for SFU Business