Course Spotlight: Probability and Statistics for Data Science

Author: Staff

Group picture of Vickie Woodard speaking with a group of Data Science students at Immersion.

Notre Dame’s Probability and Statistics Course: The Foundation for Your Data Science Career

Whether helping a business improve productivity or expanding access to broadband internet, data scientists’ success hinges upon their ability to extract insights from data—and to make decisions based on those insights. With Notre Dame’s graduate-level Probability and Statistics for Data Science course, you’ll learn to do just that: extract powerful insights, use them to make decisions in business, and beyond.

Taken in the first semester of the Master’s in Data Science program, the Probability and Statistics for Data Science course introduce you to the tools every data scientist needs. You’ll gain an understanding of how data behaves, the ability to model and visualize data, experience with programming languages like R, communication skills, and more.

In other words, in Notre Dame’s probability and data analysis course, you’ll be preparing for your career in data science from day one.

If you think about building a house, the first thing you do is build the foundation....[This course], Probability and Statistics for Data Science, along with the programming classes in Python and R, builds that foundation for you. You’ll learn the basics of data science that translate to later courses in data modeling and machine learning. You need the foundations from this course to understand content in more advanced data science courses and ultimately, to succeed in a data science career. – Dr. Roger Woodard, Master’s in Data Science Program Director


Learn How Data Behaves—And How to Make Decisions With Data

The best statistics courses for data science go beyond general mathematical concepts. They incorporate probability, programming, communication, and analysis to help you apply data insights to real-world scenarios. Notre Dame strives to offer some of the best statistics courses for data science, so our approach encompasses modeling, mathematical concepts, and technical skills such as R and Python programming languages. We make sure you can hit the ground running with technologies that professional data scientists use every day.

What does this look like in the first-semester Probability and Statistics course? In the first part of the course, you’ll learn how to model data through commonly used probability distributions and determine how data should behave by studying the common features of data models, patterns data falls into, and when (and why) data may break those patterns. You’ll work with statistical simulations to develop an intuition about how data should act. You’ll also learn how to analyze new data models and techniques, through both theory and simulation to understand their usefulness for various applications in the real world.

As you advance in the course, you’ll explore connections between probability and modern statistical techniques. By using the distributional knowledge of how data should behave from the first part of the course, you will then collect data and test hypotheses to see if the data is conforming to expectations. You will learn how to do this for a multitude of different scenarios, for example A/B testing or tests for independence. But, you will also be given tools to extend your decision-making abilities beyond the tests presented in the course.


How Notre Dame’s Statistics and Probability Course Helps You Grow as a Three-Dimensional Data Scientist

Beyond technical skills in mathematics and programming, our course in probability and data analysis helps you develop critical thinking, communication, and analysis skills. We’ll challenge you to exercise creative thinking as you predict how data behaves and spot abnormalities in patterns. Our statistics and probability course will also task you with communicating your ideas in a clear and engaging way. You’ll model and visualize data, practicing telling its stories to your classmates, professor and eventually, your employer. It’s all part of how we prepare you to become a three-dimensional data scientist and gain a leading edge in the job market.

Our Probability and Statistics for Data Science course isn’t just any course in probability and statistics. It’s a course that shows students how probability and statistics are used in the field and by real data scientists. – Dr. Vickie Woodard, Teaching Faculty, Probability and Statistics for Data Science


Not an à la Carte Experience: A Connected Data Analysis and Probability Course

Whether you’re still deciding if a master’s degree in data science is worth it or you’ve already committed to a data science graduate program, a probability and statistics course is one of the first steps toward your degree. Classes that integrate data-science-specific content will help prime you to excel in your future career. You’ll also want to consider structured data science statistics courses that correlate with other studies in your master’s program. The best statistics courses for data science connect to content in other graduate courses, such as Data Visualization or Storytelling for Data Scientists.

At Notre Dame, we prioritize creating connections between the content of all our courses, so you’ll revisit and build on topics as you move through the program. Our faculty work closely with one another to develop curricula, foster active learning environments, and help you master data science concepts and skills. Rather than taking a one-off course, you can learn probability and statistics for data science as part of a more extensive, integrated, and structured program to help you develop a more holistic understanding of data science and how to apply it.


Why Learn Probability and Statistics for Data Science at Notre Dame?

Data science statistics at Notre Dame is more than a single course in data science—it will be the cornerstone of your career. You’ll learn the fundamentals of data science, programming, probability theory, modeling, and more in a structured approach that integrates with other courses in the program. And, you’ll begin your journey as a three-dimensional data scientist who can leverage insights from data to make decisions.

Beyond the data science statistics and probability course, our Data Science program as a whole is designed for working professionals. We recognize that our students need to balance the demands of their work, families, and daily commitments. That means we build our courses with an understanding of those constraints along with the science of learning. You’ll experience a consistent structure and schedule that helps you plan your time around your graduate studies, as well as individualized guidance from your professors and a dedicated student support associate to ensure your success in the program.


Still curious about why you should choose data science at Notre Dame? Contact us or download the data science program guide for more information.