Welcome to the home page of the Department of Statistics, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. The Department of Statistics at Rhodes University is one of enthusiasm and energy. Established in 1973, this Department has grown steadily, offering courses in all faculties to over 900 students.

Information with Regards to the Department and the Courses we Offer

Specific information with regards to the Department of Statistics and the courses we teach can be found in the Rhodes Unveirsty Calendar and the Department of Statistics Handbook. Please consult the Department of Statistics Handbook as a primary source of course information, namely the course objectives, areas of learning, embedded knowledge, specific outcomes, textbooks, lecture information (lecturers, venues, times), tutorial Information (venues, times, procedure, tests), class record and class record calculation, duly performed requirements (DPR), leave of absences and student support.

Mission and Vision Statement

The Department of statistics mission is:

  • To produce graduates who have a sound knowledge of the major areas of statistical methodology, founded on rigourous theoretical principles which equip the graduate to acquire further knowledge and skills for the benefit of the country through own study.
  • To promote the use and knowledge of Statistics in all fields in which Statistics can contribute to a better understanding of scientific and social phenomena, and enhance the quality of decisions and conclusions made on the strength of the statistical approach.
  • To contribute to the body of fundamental statistical science through research.

In working towards fulfilling this mission, the Department of Statistics:

  • Offers a three-year sequence of courses in Statistics and Mathematical Statistics for students majoring in Mathematical Statistics, as well as courses towards course-work Honours and Masters degrees. The syllabuses for these courses and attendant practical work are state of the art at these levels.
  • Teaches service courses in the Faculties of Commerce ,Science and Pharmacy
  • The Department also offers a statistical consulting service to researchers in other Departments and Research Institutes within the University, and actively promotes collaborative research.
  • Encourages members of staff to engage in basic research in the discipline.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is considered a serious offence by Rhodes University and the Department of Statistics. Plagiarism, as defined in the University's policy on plagiarism, is "taking and using the ideas, writings, works or inventions of another as if they were one's own". In Statistics the most common plagiarism infringement is the copying of tutorial assignments from another student and submitting the assignment as one's own work. The department considers this infringement and other types of plagiarism as totally unacceptable and disciplinary steps will be taken against any students found guilty of committing plagiarism in the department. Students are required to familiarise themselves with the university policy on plagiarism, which is displayed on the departmental notice board and can be found at http://www.ru.ac.za/media/rhodesuniversity/content/institutionalplanning/documents/Plagiarism.pdf. All cases of plagiarism are subject to disciplinary procedures which are stipulated in the University's policy on plagiarism. Depending on the severity of the offence, the offender is disciplined either by the Departmental Plagiarism Committee or the Senate Standing Committee on plagiarism.

History of the Department

The Department of Mathematical Statistics was established in 1973 under the headship of Professor P. van der Watt. The Department was formerly part of Rhodes' Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. At the time of its establishment the Department offered 3 undergraduate courses viz Statistics, Mathematical Statistics 2 and Mathematical Statistics 3, and postgraduate courses for Honours and Masters students.

In 1974 service courses for students in the Commerce Faculty were introduced, viz Elementary Theory of Finance and Statistics (ETFS) and Business Mathematics and Statistics (a more sophisticated version of ETFS for Accountancy students). Shortly afterwards, the Department offered an additional service course for students registered for a degree in Pharmacy, viz Mathematics 1P (Statistics module) which is presently called Statistics 101.

A separate major subject stream for Commerce students was introduced in 1975 but was discontinued in 1988 because of staff shortages.

The Department also offered the Business Mathematics and Statistics course for Commerce students in East London from 1984 until 2003.

In 1987 the ETFS course was phased out and some years later, with the introduction of semesterisation at Rhodes, the Business Mathematics and Statistics course was renamed Mathematics 1D and Statistics 1D and, later still, Mathematics 1D was renamed Theory of Finance due to more emphasis being placed on the theory of finance in the syllabus.

In 1996 the Department of Mathematical Statistics was renamed the Department of Statistics in line with most other South African universities. Staff membership in the Department has grown from two in 1973 to seven in 2007, with an enrolment of approximately 900 students.


Statistical thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read or write, H.G. Wells