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Course Description

I designed the course for graduate students who use statistics in their research, plan to use statistics, or need to interpret statistical analyses performed by others. The primary audience are graduate students in the environmental sciences, but the course should benefit just about anyone who is in graduate school in the natural sciences. The course is not designed for those who want a simple overview of statistics; we’ll learn by analyzing real data. This course or equivalent is required for UMB Biology and EEOS Ph.D. students. It is a recommended course for several of the intercampus graduate school of marine science program options.

I modeled this course after the applied statistics series at the University of Washington. The text for EEOS611, Ramsey & Schafer’s “The Statistical Sleuth,” was developed for the graduate applied statistics curriculum at Oregon State University. The audience at OSU comprises ecologists, foresters, oceanographers and graduate students in the health sciences. Ramsey & Schafer describe their philosophy of teaching statistics, based strongly on the analysis of case studies, in their J. Stat Ed. article, ‘Teaching the Craft of Data Analysis:’

Knowledge of statistics is essential to doing science. Statistics, like a foreign language or a programming language, can only be learned through doing and practice. The basic steps involved in doing a given statistical analysis with SPSS can be taught in a matter of minutes. However, much of skill involved in doing statistics, and science, is framing an appropriate question to be answered, collecting the relevant data, checking the important assumptions, properly interpreting the results, and presenting them to an audience. Learning how to get the p values from a computer program is just the beginning of a proper analysis. The more important parts of the course emphasize the hypotheses being tested, selecting the appropriate test statistics, and deciding upon the degree of statistical inference allowed by the data. Finally, all students in the class will present their statistical results to their classmates.



This course EEOS601 introduce the probability theory whcih is the foundation of statistical inference and apply these probability distributions and statistical inferences to problems in the environmental sciences. EEOS601 was offered in Fall 2005, 2006 and will be offered again in Fall 2007. I’d recommend students without the prerequisite take EEOS601 before attempting EEOS611. EEOS261, statistics for geographers is being offered this semester.

Required Textbook

Ramsey, F.L. and D.W. Schafer. 2002. The statistical sleuth: a course in methods of data analysis. Second Edition Duxbury Press, Belmont CA, 742 pp & data diskette.

Other Reading or Required Materials

  • Access to SPSS Version 10 to 15


Table 3. Grading. The grades will be continually updated on WebCT.
Area Points in WebCT Grade Book % of grade
Homework 225 45%
Class Presentations & Discussion 77 10%
Midterm exam 100 20%
Final Exam 100 25%
Total 502 100%

View Complete Syllabus


Copyright ©2010 Eugene Gallagher, Ph.D.