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Thematic Concentrations

Students in the B.Sc. Majors in Statistics program are required to fulfill a  nine-credit "theme concentration".  Two examples of these "themes" are provided below, but students are free to create their own themes, subject to approval of the Undergraduate Program Director.

The program description is available here in the UBC calendar.

Statistical methods are crucial in many fields, and  are applied in virtually all areas of human inquiry.   Therefore, any education in statistics should include exposure to the use of statistical ideas and applications in subject-area contexts. The themes requirement has been introduced to encourage this exposure.


The requirement is that a student take 9 upper-level (300 or above) credits in a theme area, with at least most of these courses having clear statistical or probabilistic content. A student's choice of thematic courses must be approved by the Undergraduate Advisor.

Some examples of how the themes requirement might be met in Computer Science or Economics are given below. It should be stressed, however, that these are only examples, and that students are free to design other themes (again, subject to approval). For instance, a life-science theme, an operations research theme, or even a philosophy theme (PHIL 321, 322, 369) are a few other possibilities.

For many students, all 9 theme credits will be taken from the same department. This need not always be the case, however. For instance, a student may be able to design a broad social science or life science theme, with courses from more than one department. For the theme to be approved, however, there must be a clear link between the selected courses.

Students should think early about their theme choice, as the upper-level courses in the theme area will likely have lower-level (100 and/or 200) prerequisites. There may be some instances of courses with statistical content where the instructor would give permission to enroll to a Statistics student who does not have the official prerequisite.

For the popular choices of Economics and Computer Science, by taking a few more courses in the other area, you could instead get a Combined Major degree (with one of Economics or Computer Science). Currently, students in a B.Sc. program within
the Faculty of Science can earn a Minor in Arts, a Minor in Commerce, or a Minor in another branch of Science.  For more information about Minors, see the Faculty of Science section of the Calendar.

Examples of Themes

Computer Science:

The area of Data Science blends skills in statistics and computer science, so graduates with some training in both disciplines are likely to be viewed as having an attractive set of skills. Upper-level courses with relevance to Data Science include courses on databases (CPSC 304 and 404), simulation (CPSC 405), and artificial intelligence (CPSC 312, 322, 422). 

Courses currently pre-approved for a thematic concentration in computer science are

CPSC: 302, 303, 304, 310, 312, 320, 322, 330, 340, 344, 368, 402, 404, 406, 420, 422, 444, 445

Currently student demand for CPSC courses far outstrips the supply. Therefore, the Department of Computer Science restricts enrollment to its 200 and above courses on the basis of overall average. Statistics students compete on an equal footing with any other students in the Faculty of Science for admission to CPSC courses. Thus a Computer Science theme is a good option for strong students in the Statistics program. For the latest information about Computer Science courses and enrollment restrictions in effect, refer to that department's undergraduate web site at

In addition to first-year Computer Science (which is required in the Statistics program), upper-level CPSC courses have second year prerequisites. At least one of CPSC 210 and CPSC 221 is required for most upper level CPSC courses.


Statistical tools play a large role in many economic analyses. Indeed, the subfield of Economics known as Econometrics deals with the application of statistical methods in Economics. The Econometrics courses are ECON 425 and 426 but any quantitative Economics appearing in the Degree Navigator for the Economics thematic concentration would be acceptable.

Note that while ECON 325 has statistical content, it covers Stat 200/302 material, and so cannot be used as a themes course. ECON 326 and STAT 306 both cover regression. In fact, they are paired courses (see the Faculty of Science pairing lists in the Calendar), and so credit cannot be obtained for both of them. Students choosing an Economics theme may substitute ECON 326 for STAT 306 if they choose. However, since STAT 306 is a required course in the Statistics program, 9 further theme credits would still be required.

Students pursuing an Economics theme will need introductory Economics courses, one of ECON 101 and 310 (3 credits) and one of ECON 102 and 311 (3 credits). Econ 310 and 311 are opened to students with third or higher year standing who don't have the corresponding Introduction course at the 1xx level. At most 3 credits from Econ 310 and 311 can count as theme credits. Also note that some upper level courses have further prerequisites. For instance, ECON 420 has Microeconomics prerequisites. 

Courses currently pre-approved for a thematic concentration in Economics are

ECON: 301, 302, 310 or 311, 320, 345, 355, 356, 370, 420, 421, 425, 426, 447, 456.

ECON 323 is no longer acceptable if CPSC 107 or CPSC 110 has been completed.

Link to


Degree navigator has the following for PSYC (but check with Psychology Department on available seats):

PSYC 303 Tests and Measurements; PSYC 305 Personality Psychology; PSYC 314 Health Psychology; PSYC 325 Socialization: Media Content and Effects; PSYC 359 Advanced Research Methods in Behavioural Sciences; PSYC 401 Clinical Psychology; PSYC 402 Research in Psychological Disorders; ASTU 402 Living Language: Science and Society.


Degree navigator has the following for COMM (but check with Commerce on available seats, minor in COMM is more common for past students):

COMM 414 Data Visualization and Business Analytics; COMR 457 Fundamentals of Financial Accounting; COMR 458 Fundamentals of Managerial Accounting; COMR 465 Marketing Management; COMR 473 Business Finance.

Environmental/climate science:

(This option has been chosen in the past); possible courses include the following:

EOSC 340 Global Climate Change; EOSC 354 Analysis of Time Series and Inverse Theory for Earth Scientists; EOSC 442 Climate Measurement and Analysis; BIOL 301 Biomathematics; EOSC 410 Geoscientific Data Analysis and Empirical Modelling and ENVR 440 Analytical Methods in Sustainability Science.


(this option has been chosen in the past); possible courses include the following:

BIOL 301 Biomathematics;

BIOL 335 Molecular Genetics;

BIOL 336 Fundamentals of Evolutionary Biology; BIOL 337 Introductory Genetics Laboratory; BIOL 434 Population Genetics; MICB 405 Bioinformatics; BIOC 410 Nucleic Acids-Structure and Function; SPPH 302 Topics in Health Informatics for Health.