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Courses Which prob/stat course?

  1. Jul 5, 2010 #1
    My university has a a few different probability and statistics courses. I'm a physics major, and I want to take one of these two courses.

    The first one has Calc. I for a prerequisite. Here are some of the topics covered in this course:

    Basic probability & statistical inference. Statistical coverage
    includes comparison of means &regression analysis

    The second one has Calc III for a prerequisite. Here are some topics covered in this course:

    Sample spaces, discrete and continuous random variables,
    probability functions, density, moment generating functions,
    important distributions

    Any physics majors out there take an undergrad prob/stat course? If so, what topics did it cover? Which one would you recommend?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2010 #2
    They both look good to me. I would try to take a bunch of statistics courses, if I were you. In most areas you could find yourself working in, statistics becomes immensely useful.
  4. Jul 6, 2010 #3
    The first course seems like a standard introductory stats course, and you could get bored learning a variety of statistical tools whose usefulness might not be apparent. The second course is more of an introductory mathematical probability course, and I suspect it will "feel" more like a math course in comparison. Generally the contents of both courses are intermixed since probability theory is obviously playing a huge role in any statistical result. However, I suspect the relationship is not particularly clear until you take a measure-theoretic statistics course, which might be why there are two separate courses. In any case, you can't go wrong with taking the probability theory focused course first.

    Also in case you were wondering, the Calc III prerequisite is probably not much of an indicator in deciding who should take which course. Knowing what the inverse function theorem states allows you to transform jointly distributed random variables. Fubini's theorem is also taken for granted in the evaluation of multiple integrals. If you do decide to take the second course, knowing how to perform (sometimes tedious) calculations quickly is useful.
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