As one of the top ten Departments in North America our mission is to serve as a centre of excellence for statistical and actuarial research and education, across the campus, nationally and internationally. View more information about the Awards given to our faculty, staff and students.
The Department of Statistics was initially formed as a graduate department in 1977 and it began operating as a full independent department in 1979 under the inaugural chairmanship of DAS Fraser, FRSC. The formation of the Department was the culmination of a rich history in statistical science at the University of Toronto. The University has produced a surprising number of great leaders in the discipline including Art Dempster, Rudy Beran, David Brillinger, John Chambers, Steve Feinberg, Daryl Pregibon, Mary Thompson, Ross Prentice, Rob Tibshirani, and Larry Wasserman. In actuarial science, the department has the oldest undergraduate program in North America with courses dating back to 1875.
Faculty and programs of research within the department developed many important innovations in statistical science. These include advances in conditional/structural inference and asymptotics; the development of flexible methods in statistical learning including generalized additive models, multivariate analysis, robust estimation, Bayesian nets; designing efficient Monte Carlo algorithms. The importance of these innovations is reflected in the number of significant awards bestowed on the Department’s faculty including the prestigious COPSS Award. This highest international research honour in statistics has only been awarded three times to Canadian faculty and each of these was at the University of Toronto. In addition, three of our alumni have been awarded this distinction.
Currently the Department is comprised of 20 faculty, 5 staff members and approximately 50 graduate students.
Research in the Department
The department’s research strength is centered on excellence in theory and methods. In addition, many faculty members in the department have very successful collaborative research programs. Active research areas involve overlapping clusters of faculty and include actuarial science and mathematical finance (Badescu, Broverman, Jaimungal, Lin), applied statistics (Andrews, Brunner, Lou), statistical genomics and genetics (Craiu, Bull, Evans, Kustra, Neal, Stafford, Sun), statistical theory and foundations (Brenner, Evans, Feurverger, Fraser, Knight, Reid, Srivastava), probability (Quastel, Rosenthal, Virag), spatial/temporal modelling and functional data analysis (Brown, Knight, Stafford, Yao, Zhou), MCMC methods and statistical learning (Brown, Craiu, Escobar, Neal, Kustra, Rosenthal). Central to our vision for the next five years is to strengthen our national and international reputation in collaborative scientific activity, without compromising our core strengths. We also aim to further strengthen our graduate research program in actuarial science.
The Department has strong ties to the Division of Biostatistics in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Artificial Intelligence group in the Department of Computer Science, the Probability group in the Department of Mathematics, the Masters of Mathematical Finance Program and Engineering Science in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.