The Statistical & Data Sciences (SDS) Program links faculty and students from across the College interested in learning things from data. At Smith, students learn statistics by doing — class time emphasizes problem-solving and hands-on contact with data. Many courses employ student-driven projects that allow students to pursue their interest in fields such as economics, psychology, political science, sociology, engineering, biology, environmental science, neuroscience, and geology.
The Program is designed to produce highly-skilled, versatile statisticians and data scientists who possess powerful abilities for analyzing data. As such, SDS students learn not only how to build statistical models that generate predictions, but how to validate these models and interpret their parameters. Students learn to use their ingenuity to "wrangle" with complex data streams, and construct informative data visualizations.
For those who seek graduate training in statistics, we offer a rich set of courses in theoretical and applied statistics. These students will build a deep understanding of statistics upon a solid foundation in mathematics and probability theory. Alternatively, students seeking employment in industry, government, or domestic or international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), will find opened doors thanks to the breadth and creativity of their coursework in statistics and data science here at Smith.
Statisticians from the Five Colleges — Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and the University of Massachusetts — are in regular communication, and several course offerings are coordinated. Many students have found courses at other campuses that complement our offerings. Seminars, lectures, and research opportunities are also available through the Five Colleges.
Statistics and data science are best practiced in teams, and we encourage this collaboration in much of our coursework. More experienced students may become Statistics TAs, who offer direct support to introductory students five nights per week. Teamwork gets put into practice at the annual Five College DataFest, which takes place each spring at UMass.