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This document describes the guidelines for completing a Statistics concentration as part of a Ph.D. in the Department of Communication.


The Statistics Concentration in the Communication MA/PhD program enables students to develop expertise in applied statistical skills and tools for carrying out quantitative communication research. The concentration is largely built around a curriculum developed by the Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences (CSSS; course code: CS&SS) and is similar to other concentrations and/or tracks. Students who complete the Statistics Concentration in Communication will have advanced training in statistics for communication and social science research relevant to their own research needs. A Letter of Recognition is awarded by the CSSS to students who complete the concentration and students can advertise their completion of the concentration on their CVs as a signal of their quantitative training.

Statistics Concentration in Communication Committee

The Statistics Concentration in Communication Committee is composed of at least two faculty members, and chaired by a faculty member who is affiliated with CSSS. The Committee is responsible for approving students' concentration plan.

Concentration Requirements

Students must develop a concentration that consists of four courses in advanced statistics that are approved by the Statistics Concentration in Communication Committee. These courses must be more advanced than a typical first-year (i.e., 2-3 quarter) introduction to quantitative methods and statistics. The courses should be selected to form a coherent concentration in social statistics. Courses taken as part of the concentration also count toward other university and department requirements.

In general, the advanced courses offered by CSSS qualify for the concentration. For example, CSSS currently offers courses in generalized linear models, hierarchical models, Bayesian methods, event history analysis, simulation methods, and analysis of network data. In addition, relevant courses in Statistics, and methodology courses in departments like Economics, Political Science, Sociology, Geography, Social Work, Education, and data science classes in the Information School may also be considered so long as they help form a coherent set of advanced social statistics courses. Students are encouraged to seek advice from the committee in developing their concentration.

Numerically graded courses in other departments may be considered, with approval of the Statistics Concentration in Communication Committee, as long as they help form a coherent set of social statistics courses. To get credit for a class not on the list, and to add classes to the list of approved courses, students or faculty should submit a copy of the course syllabus to the Statistics Concentration in Communication Committee.

All classes must be taken for numeric grades and the four courses must be completed with grades of 3.3 or above. Additionally, 1 quarter of the CSSS seminar (CS&SS 590) is required.

  • CS&SS 526 (SOC 529) Structural Equation Models for Social Sciences
  • CS&SS 527 Survey Research Methods
  • CS&SS 529 (BIOST 529/STAT 529) Sample Survey Techniques
  • CS&SS 536 (SOC 536/STAT 536) Analysis of Categorical and Count Data
  • CS&SS 544 Event History Analysis for the Social Sciences
  • CS&SS 560 (STAT 560) Hierarchical Modeling for the Social Sciences
  • CS&SS 564 (STAT 564) Bayesian Statistics for the Social Sciences
  • CS&SS 565 Inequality: Current Trends and Explanations
  • CS&SS 566 (STAT 566) Causal Modeling
  • CS&SS 567 (STAT 567) Statistical Analysis of Social Networks
  • CS&SS 568 Game Theory for Social Scientists
  • CS&SS 569 Visualizing Data
  • CS&SS 589 (SOC WL 589) Multivariate Data Analysis for the Social Sciences

The Statistics Concentration in Communication Committee will be responsible for periodically updating the list of approved courses.

Evaluation by the Statistics Concentration in Communication Committee

After completing the course requirements, the student submits grades received in those courses to the Statistics Concentration in Communication Committee. The committee evaluates the performance in the course. A grade point average of 3.3 or above for the four approved courses is sufficient for a formal completion of the concentration. The committee may use its discretion to deal with grading in different departments that use different standards, or may request any papers written for the courses, for example, if the student is seeking approval of a credit/no credit class.

General Tips and Additional Information

Math Camp is an intensive one-week introduction to fundamental concepts of mathematics and probability designed to help prepare social science graduate students for advanced courses in statistical methodology in general, and CSSS courses in particular. Math Camp is offered in September. The math camp curriculum is also offered a 1-credit class during the academic year.

Other suggestions for useful courses include a variety of CSSS one-credit courses.

The following courses are considered preparation for more advanced courses.

  • CS&SS 505 Review of Mathematics for Social Scientists
  • CS&SS 508 Introduction to R for Social Scientists

Other Useful Links include: