About this courseSkip About this course
This course provides an introduction to basic statistical concepts.
We begin by walking through a library of probability distributions, where we motivate their uses and go over their fundamental properties.
These distributions include such important folks as the Bernoulli, binomial, geometric, Poisson, uniform, exponential, and normal distributions, just to name a few. Particular attention is paid to the normal distribution, because it leads to the Central Limit Theorem (the most-important mathematical result in the universe, actually), which enables us to make probability calculations for arbitrary averages and sums of random variables.
We then discuss elementary descriptive statistics and estimation methods, including unbiased estimation, maximum likelihood estimation, and the method of moments – you gotta love your MoM! Finally, we describe the t, χ2, and F sampling distributions, which will prove to be useful in upcoming statistical applications.
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:
- Review a library of discrete and continuous probability distributions
- Recognize normal distribution and the Central Limit Theorem, and how they are applied in practice
- Recognize elementary methods of descriptive statistics
- Describe methods that can be used to estimate the unknown parameters of a distribution
- Identify statistical sampling distributions
“FCPS” refers to the free text, A First Course in Probability and Statistics
Module 1: Distributions
• Lesson 1: Bernoulli and Binomial Distributions (FCPS §4.1.1)
• Lesson 2: Hypergeometric Distribution (FCPS §4.1.2)
• Lesson 3: Geometric and Negative Binomial Distributions (FCPS §4.1.3)
• Lesson 4: Poisson Distribution (FCPS §4.1.4)
• Lesson 5: Uniform, Exponential, and Friends (FCPS §4.2.1–4.2.2)
• Lesson 6: Other Continuous Distributions (FCPS §4.2.3)
• Lesson 7: Normal Distribution: Basics (FCPS §4.3.1)
Module 1 (cont’d): Distributions
• Lesson 8: Standard Normal Distribution (FCPS §4.3.2)
• Lesson 9: Sample Mean of Normals (FCPS §4.3.3)
• Lesson 10: The Central Limit Theorem + OPTIONAL Proof (FCPS §4.3.4)
• Lesson 11: Central Limit Theorem Examples (FCPS §4.3.5)
• Lesson 12 [OPTIONAL]: Extensions – Multivariate Normal Distribution (FCPS §4.4.1)
• Lesson 13 [OPTIONAL]: Extensions – Lognormal Distribution (FCPS §4.4.2)
• Lesson 14: Computer Stuff, including OPTIONAL Box-Muller Proof (FCPS §4.5)
Module 2: Getting Started with Statistics
• Lesson 1: Introduction to Descriptive Statistics (FCPS §5.1.1)
• Lesson 2: Summarizing Data (FCPS §5.1.2)
• Lesson 3: Candidate Distributions (FCPS §5.1.3)
• Lesson 4: Introduction to Estimation (FCPS §5.2.1)
• Lesson 5: Unbiased Estimation (FCPS §5.2.2)
• Lesson 6: Mean Squared Error (FCPS §5.2.3)
Module 2 (cont’d): Getting Started with Statistics
• Lesson 7: Maximum Likelihood Estimation (FCPS §5.2.4)
• Lesson 8: Trickier MLE Examples (FCPS §5.2.4)
• Lesson 9: Invariance Property of MLEs (FCPS §5.2.4)
• Lesson 10: Method of Moments Estimation (FCPS §5.2.5)
• Lesson 11: Sampling Distributions (FCPS §5.3)
Meet your instructors
Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain$199 USD
Official and Verified
Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects
Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn
Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course
Support our Mission
edX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally
Frequently asked questions
*What if I don’t remember much basic probability and statistics?
Answer: You can take the companion courses, “A Gentle Introduction to Probability” and “Random Variables – Great Expectations to Bell Curves”, which will get you up to speed in a jiff!
*Will there be much programming?
Answer: A little, but you’ll be handle that in Excel or Matlab or whatever your favorite programming application is. We also go over a couple of R demos, but those will be self-contained