FAQs for Current Undergraduate Majors or Minors

1)      Which catalog year do I follow?

It depends. If you declared as a STAT major on or after 8/21/2017, you must follow the 2017-18 catalog requirements. If you declared as a STAT major on or after 8/22/2016, but prior to 8/21/2017, you must follow either the 2016-17 catalog requirements, or the 2017-18 catalog requirements. If you declared prior to 8/22/2016, you can follow any catalog from your date of matriculation to SMU up to the current catalog. Most students are better off following the latest (2017-18) catalog requirements. The table below summarizes the allowable catalog requirements based on when you declared as a STAT major.


Prior to 8/22/2016

Any catalog from your date of matriculation to SMU up to the current catalog *

8/22/2016 to 8/20/2017

2016-17 catalog* OR 2017-18 catalog

8/21/2017 or later

2017-18 catalog ONLY

*: The Department does not guarantee that courses for catalogs prior to 2017-18 will be offered.


2)      Why do you have so many different catalog requirements?

The field of statistics is rapidly evolving, and in addition we have recently added a Master’s program in applied statistics (MASDA). Coupled with SACS requirements and large increases of students seeking the Statistics major, we have had to make many changes. Starting in fall 2017, we have a new set of requirements, which do not rely on 5000 level STAT courses.


3)      I really want to follow an earlier catalog, why can’t I do that?

We have limited resources, and we are phasing out support for the older catalog requirements. The vast majority of students are better off following the 2017-18 catalog, or the 2016-17 catalog.


4)      So which should I follow, the 2017-18 or the 2016-17 catalog?

The answer to this question is not simple. Generally speaking, if you have already taken 5371 (6301), 5372 (6302) and 5304 (6307), you should stick with the 2016-17 catalog, and if you have not taken any of these courses you should switch to the 2017-18 catalog. If you have taken only 5304 (6307), you may or may not be better off switching. Contact Dr. Harris for advice.


5)      I need 5371 (and or 5304) for my MAJOR, but it’s not offered. What do I do?

These courses have been renumbered as STAT 6301 and STAT 6307. Starting fall 2017 they are no longer required courses for the B.S. in Statistical Science. If you are following an earlier catalog (2016 or prior), you may still need these courses. Depending on what you have taken and how far along you are in the program, your best course of action may be to switch to the new (2017-18) catalog. Please see the following links to help you decide which of 3300 or 6301 to take;


3300/6301 decision tree



6)      I need 5371 (and or 5304) for my stat MINOR, but it is not offered. What do I do?

Almost all minors should switch to the 2017-18 requirements. If you needed 5371 under the old catalog, just register for 3300. If you needed 5304, you no longer need this course under the new requirements.


7)      I took MATH 2339 (Calculus 3) and/or MATH 2343 (Diff. eq.) back when they were 2000 level courses. Will these count towards the MATH 3XXX elective requirement?

Yes. MATH 2339 and MATH 2343 can be used to satisfy the MATH 3XXX elective requirement.




8)      My.smu shows I need more hours to satisfy my STAT requirements than Prof. Harris says I need. Which is correct?

In almost all cases Prof. Harris is correct! Seriously, the programmers who work on the my.smu degree progress check software have a huge backlog of work to take care of, so when requirements for a major are changed, it is often some time before the software can be updated. If the “error” is not fixed by the semester in which you graduate, contact Prof. Harris for a forcematch petition. If there is a disagreement between my.smu and the Excel spreadsheet given to you by Dr. Harris, the Excel spreadsheet is correct.


9)      I’m interested in the MASDA degree as a “4+1”.

Please see the MASDA FAQ.


10)   Do I need to make an appointment with Prof. Harris to select my classes?

Not necessarily. Most of the information on the course offerings is listed in the FAQs. If you know what you want to take, just take it, no need for an appointment.




If you do not see your questions answered above, please contact Prof. Harris (iharris@smu.edu), including your ID number with any correspondence.