View Full Version : Another Question About a Math Class

YoungEconomist

08-01-2007, 09:05 PM

So to those of you who responded to my other post, I found out you were right and that Math 394 is the same class as Stat 394. Specifically, it is a course titled "Probability 1." This brings me to a new question though. Should I take that class? Or should I take Math 390, which is titled "Probability and Statistics in Engineering and Science?"

Here are the course descriptions:

MATH 394 Probability I (3 credits)

Sample spaces; basic axioms of probability; combinatorial probability; conditional probability and independence; binomial, Poisson, and normal distributions.

MATH 390 Probability and Statistics in Engineering and Science (4 credits)

Concepts of probability and statistics. Conditional probability, independence, random variables, distribution functions. Descriptive statistics, transformations, sampling errors, confidence intervals, least squares and maximum likelihood. Exploratory data analysis and interactive computing.

In case you're interested here is the link with the course descriptions:

MATHEMATICS (http://www.washington.edu/students/crscat/math.html#math390)

Zoethor2

08-01-2007, 11:09 PM

To my admittedly somewhat naive eye, it sounds to me like 394 is more likely to be proofs/theory based (that course description is nearly identical to my undergrad institutions theory stats class'), while 390 is more likely to be computation/applications based. In which case, 394 would be the better choice. Can you email the profs to ask what the theory v application mixture would be for each class?

Palimpsest

08-01-2007, 11:58 PM

I don't know if either of those will be particularly proof-based (this seems similar to mine, which was certainly a lot of calc, but no proofs), but 394 definitely seems like a better choice--one term is far too short to cover probability and statistics in any depth. Also the prereq's for 394 (multivariate calculus or real analysis) are encouraging as to the level of this course as opposed to 390 which assumes only one semester of calc as far as I could tell. Regardless, the theory is surely more valuable than apps (I think), especially if you have time to go on and take an entire term of math stats for good measure, say STAT 421.

apropos

08-02-2007, 01:32 AM

The math 390 course sounds like one of those courses that cover probability and statistics in one semester. It's meant for students who presumably do not have time to take a year-long mathematical probability and statistics sequence. Since it seems like you have enough time and inclination to take more than one probability/stats course. Based on your school's course descriptions, I suggest to take 394, followed by 341, followed by 342.

buckykatt

08-02-2007, 07:48 AM

I agree: 394 sounds like the better choice. But why not email the profs, explain your situation, and ask? I think you'll find that the profs can ultimately give you the best advice, though you might have to spell out for them what kind of preparation you want for an econ Ph.D. (The prof I'm taking real analysis with next semester was surprised to hear that it's not at all unusual preparation for an econ Ph.D. these days.)

Zoethor2

08-02-2007, 11:38 AM

My real analysis prof also had no idea that his course would be considered fairly standard prep for an Econ PhD.

TruDog

08-02-2007, 01:01 PM

My real analysis prof also had no idea that his course would be considered fairly standard prep for an Econ PhD.

That's fairly common coming from schools that don't send a lot of people on to PhD programs. I was the first economics student in about a decade to take graduate probability and statistics courses at my undergraduate institution. In a case like that, be sure to talk to the professor beforehand to explain why you are taking the class. He or she will probably love you to death for bringing a new perspective into the classroom (and for maybe not even being a math major). :D

notacolour

08-02-2007, 02:00 PM

I was the first economics student in about a decade to take graduate probability and statistics courses at my undergraduate institution. In a case like that, be sure to talk to the professor beforehand to explain why you are taking the class. He or she will probably love you to death for bringing a new perspective into the classroom (and for maybe not even being a math major).I had a similar experience. The prof was so delighted that I added onto a full MA course load to take real analysis and then her class on Hilbert spaces...she may have given me a slightly higher grade than I deserved in the latter because of it (A when I suspect I was more of a B+/A-). She was also a bit more understanding when I lacked little bits of knowledge others had picked up in required math courses. Just don't be that economist who is a jerk to people in all other disciplines...

YoungEconomist

08-02-2007, 03:09 PM

Just don't be that economist who is a jerk to people in all other disciplines...

Lol.

Those economists piss me off. Some economists can be so arrogant.