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Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Area of Study

All areas of study information should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook. The units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the Faculty of Science component of any bachelors double degrees.

Managing facultyFaculty of Science
Offered bySchool of Mathematical Sciences
Course coordinatorAs listed under Mathematics


Statistics is the branch of mathematics that captures the interplay of data and theory. Applied and mathematical statistics combine to extract useful knowledge from data. Mathematical statistics develops the methodology, while applied statistics exploits the theory to learn from real-life information.

The discipline caters for the application of statistics in scientific research and data analysis. In the applied statistics (STA) stream, statistics is taught as a mathematical science and not a field of mathematics. The emphasis is on statistical ideas and offers a real career choice with excellent employment prospects with industry, commerce and government organisations.

Mathematical statistics has cross-links with areas of pure and applied mathematics as well as applications in the fast-developing fields of financial mathematics, mathematical biology and signal system analysis. The mathematical statistics (MTH) sequence caters for these highly sought-after disciplines.

The use of statistics is constantly expanding, and a sound knowledge of the discipline is important even for those who do not complete a major sequence in the area.


On completion of the sequence in mathematical statistics students will:

  • have achieved a broad understanding of how mathematical and statistical knowledge is constructed, and developed an appreciation of the importance of mathematical sciences in every part of their lives
  • have achieved an understanding of the basic single variable, multivariable and vector calculus, linear algebra, and probability topics
  • have acquired an insight into the area of mathematical statistics and its applications in the handling of statistical data, bioinformatics and financial mathematics
  • have learned a number of higher level statistical methods and their applications in science, medicine, economics and engineering
  • have developed problem solving and critical thinking skills
  • have developed skills in the effective use of mathematical computer software and spreadsheets
  • have developed skills in the written and oral presentation of a mathematical argument
  • be prepared for a range of further learning and training in mathematical statistics and other disciplines, including honours studies in mathematical statistics
  • be suitable for employment, both national and international, in a range of areas requiring analytical, statistical and quantitative skills.


Level one

  • STA1010 Statistical methods for science

Level two

Sequence requirements

Applied statistics

Minor sequence in applied statistics (24 points)

Mathematical statistics

Minor sequence in statistics (24 points)

Major sequence in mathematical statistics (48 points)

Details of the MTH units and some related sequences are provided in the mathematics entry in this section of the Handbook.


Level one

STA1010 is introductory and does not require that a student has completed any previous studies in statistics, although it is most suitable for those who have completed either VCE Mathematical Methods units 3 and 4 or SCI1020.

Students considering completing a major sequence in mathematical statistics who have not completed VCE Specialist Mathematics with an average grade of B or above should take MTH1020 before MTH1030, as well as STA1010. Students with an average grade of B or above are advised to complete MTH1030 and MTH2010 at level one.

Level two

MTH2222 covers the theoretical material needed to complete a major sequence in mathematical statistics. It is only offered in second semester, so students who wish to complete MTH2222 and who have not completed MTH2010, MTH2021 or MTH2111 by the end of the first semester must take MTH2010 concurrently with MTH2222. STA2032 is an applied statistics unit with STA1010 or MTH1030 as a prerequisite.

Level three

A major sequence in statistics includes the three units MTH3230, MTH3241 and MTH3251 at level three. Students who complete MTH2010 but not STA1010 at first level and who do not complete either MTH2021 or MTH2111 at second level will have to complete an additional mathematics unit at either level two or three.


An honours program in mathematical statistics is available; see the mathematics entry in this section of the Handbook for further details. Some honours lecture topics are taught through the Key Centre for Statistical Science, which is a collaborative arrangement between Monash University, the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University and RMIT University.