Math/Stat 750 - Introduction to Interdisciplinary Consulting


As one of its products, CIRC regularly offers an advanced graduate class that introduces students to interdisciplinary team work and consulting in the integrated environmentof a cross-listed class co-taught by faculty from both programs. The students get the unique opportunity to interact with each other and to serve as consultants on actual projects.

Links to the Classes

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to professional consulting in mathematics and statistics. Typical consulting activities include the following elements:

  • Get information on the project from the client and help to formulate the problem in the client's language.
  • Translate the problem into the language of mathematics or statistics.
  • Solve the problem efficiently and appropriately using any tools at your disposal.
  • Deliver the product to the client, which may consist of a written report, an oral presentation, computer code, and/or training services.

We invite people from across the campus and from local companies and government agencies to be clients in order to provide real-life consulting experience. You might collaborate in teams of Mathematics and Statistics students, if appropriate to the project and the client.

Students will gain experience in approaching application problems and gain confidence in their ability to apply their mathematical and statistical tools. Through regular reports to the class, students will greatly improve their oral presentation and writing skills. The course is designed with non-academic consulting in mind, but the same skills are invaluable also for students desiring academic employment. One of the many other benefits of the class include contact with clients for possible research or internship opportunities.

The course will begin with small projects assigned to teams of students by the facilitators that culminate in written reports. In the second phase, students will give individual oral presentations on various tools and techniques, for instance, advanced features of software tools or analytical techniques may be presented to the class. The second half of the semester will feature a larger consulting project working with a client from outside of the department. The deliverables of the consulting projects will be determined by the client and might consist of a written report, computer code, associated documentation, and/or training in its use. In addition to the product delivered to the client, each team will document its consulting activities to the class in an oral presentation and a brief written report that outlines and explains the methods and tools used in the project.

Mathematics students should register for Math 750, statistics students for Stat 750. The students in this class should have background in the relevant first-year graduate courses in mathematics or statistics, respectively. The ability to use one or more professional software package effectively is essential. Students should be ready to learn more in their own fields as well as be exposed to new tools and methods by interacting with their classmates.