The stats on statistics programs

Statisticians are more in-demand than ever.

In 2010, statistics professor Alan Agresti retired from the University of Florida after 38 years. In that time, he witnessed his field transform from a niche profession for the numerically inclined into one of the most marketable degrees in higher education.

His latest book — “Strength in Numbers,” which he co-edited with Xiao-Li Meng of Harvard University — is an attempt to record the history of the oldest statistics programs across the U.S., from Berkeley to Princeton. “Back when I was a student, most people came to statistics through the back door. Often, you were a math major and you wound up taking a few statistics courses because you heard it had more connection to the real world. It wasn’t until grad school that you really had the opportunity to study statistics,” explains Agresti. “Now, most universities have quite a bit available at the undergraduate level.”

During Agresti’s career there has been an explosion in the demand for trained statisticians, particularly over the past 20 years, with advancements in computing. “There’s been a shortage of statisticians for a long time. Partly, it’s because statistics has never been regarded as an attractive degree by undergraduates in the U.S.,” says Agresti. “Most graduate departments have more international students than American students. But the job market is fantastic. There are simply more jobs than graduates. The pharmaceutical industry alone has a huge need.”

Now, for the first time, American students are declaring a statistics major before even stepping foot on a college campus. “It used to be that every college student in intro-stats didn’t know what to expect,” says Agresti. “Now, there are AP statistics courses offered at many high schools, so it’s changed dramatically.”


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.