# Pure or Applied maths with stats

by 3.141592
Tags: applied, maths, pure, stats
 P: 379 I feel the need to say this, but your philosophy major shows (so many needless words in this post!). Secondly, isn't it obvious? If you want to be a profession statistician, then you should go for the route that requires more stats. If you plan to go to graduate school, then take a course or two in analysis because you'll beed it for graduate level probability theory. Honestly, there is probably more calculus in the pure course than the applied. While the applied route may use more techniques, have fun learning all about calculus again from a more 'mature' perspective.
 P: 53 It's not obvious: neither track requires more stats than the other. The stats is exactly the same regardless. That's why I posted the topics listed for each track, in case one who knows more about them than me can say if stats is involved, directly related etc. Analysis is in the pure track so that's a tick for that route; thanks.
P: 379

## Pure or Applied maths with stats

If that's the case it doesn't really matter now does it? Without knowing what kind of flexibility or courses are in each track, then you're asking for some very vague opinions. At my university, the difference between applied and pure was a required abstract algebra course and a required second analysis course. Other than that you had a somewhat free reign of electives. So therefore, I could've done a complete applied track, and still take analysis.

So here's some vague advice. What matters most, if you plan for a career in stat, is NOT your ability to work with a subharmonic function on a Riemann manifold, it's about your ability to translate real world data into reasonable conclusions. This involves a lot of programing (know R and SAS) and a lot of numerical analysis.

Will you use vector calculus? Probably not. Will you set up a differential equation. Probably not. Will you use linear algebra? All the time. Will you use measure theory probability after grad school? Probably not. Will you use a hidden markov? Probably not. What you do in the real world is rather basic, especially at the entry level.
 P: 53 I'm not being funny and I don't mean to seem rude, but I honestly don't know if it "doesn't really matter now does it?"; that's why I asked. I have not worked as a medical statistician and do not know any. I have not covered mathematics beyond first-year undergraduate. I am only starting second-year statistics now. The statistics track would be the same if I chose a joint degree with computing and not mathematics. Whether or not mathematics or computing is more or less relevant to a professional medical statistician is a question that matters to one faced with that choice of subject given said aim. Said aim is my aim and my choice is between pure or applied maths. I hope anyone with experience or knowledge can advise. I listed the topics in my first post but here is the blurb from the course catalogue if it is of any use to anyone: "Pure: Group Theory explores sets of mathematical objects that can be combined – such as numbers, which can be added or multiplied, or rotations and reflections of a shape, which can be performed in succession. Linear Algebra explores 2- and 3-dimensional space and systems of linear equations, and develops themes arising from the links between these topics. Analysis, the foundation of calculus, covers operations such as differentiation and integration, arising from infinite limiting processes. Applied: This course covers classical mechanical models as well as some non-mechanical models such as population dynamics; and methods including vector algebra, differential equations, calculus (including several variables and vector calculus), matrices, methods for three-dimensional problems, and numerical methods. Teaching is supported and enhanced by use of a computer algebra package." This is the total difference between my choices of pure and applied. The stats is identical in each track. The first year is identical in each and finished. The final year leaves one option for mathematics and I will pick the same either way. All I want to know is if there is much between the two choices I have listed for one who wishes to become a professional medical statistician down the line, and to work with data in some way before that happens. From your posts I take it that you think not, and that real world statisics is basic, especially at entry level, so perhaps I should not worry. Thanks again for replying.
 P: 4,542 Hey 3.141592. I would recommend doing the more applied subjects and do pure ones only that are necessary. The reason is that the applied thinking is different from the pure thinking: two different skillsets that require different kinds of training and development. Statisticians in a broad definition are professional advisors or advice consultants. The mathematics is required since it is something that has been proven and is useful for a particular set of purposes, but statisticians are not mathematicians (pure) in the strictest sense: they are advisors. People come to statisticians with questions about almost anything and the role of a statistician is to guide them through the process at all levels to help give the best answer possible to their question under uncertainty. I would recommend you take a few programming courses as well.
 P: 53 Hi Chiro, Thanks for taking the time to reply. That is something I had not considered re. the approach to the material. Good point. It did seem to me like applied was the natural option, but I know logic comes under pure and have enjoyed that; also, as I've said above, not knowing much maths, I don't know if it makes much difference to applied stats. Yes I've seen a fair few adverts for statisticians citing programming skills required/desirable. Perhaps I'll have my logic cake after all! Sadly, this (UK) university, like most UK ones, is much more restrictive in course choice than I understand e.g. US unis are, in relation to course choice. Without dropping the maths strand in favour of computing, there's no real scope for programming courses. Although it does teach use of at least 4 stats software packages so maybe that includes some programming? Failing that, I'm trying to teach myself some Python from a book. Thanks again Chiro.
 P: 4,542 Also if you want to get into the statistical fields I'd recommend learning R which is free and is becoming one de-facto tool in statistical computation: http://www.r-project.org/
 P: 53 Brilliant - thanks!