Times and Places


Teaching Assistant


There is no textbook.

If you absolutely feel the need for a book, the textbook being used by the other section of this course is Degroot and Schervish, Probability and Statistics 4th edition, Addison-Wesley Publishing, 2011 (ISBN: 0321500466). It is not required and will not be used at all.

Somewhat more relevant, but not required either are some old course notes from years ago.

The course will follow the material presented in class, found in the slides section of the navigation on each web page.

About the Course

Don't Get Lost

Ask questions in class. If something isn't clear to you, it probably isn't clear to others either. Most questions arise because the instructor hasn't made a connection clear or has inadvertently left out an important point. Your question gives the instructor a chance to explain more clearly.

If you have difficulty with problems, ask for help from the instructor or TA. Don't wait until just before the exam (or worse just after) to ask for help. By then it may be too late.


The material covered by the exams will stated in class and are on the Material Covered page.

Exams will be in-class except for UNITE students. UNITE students must take the exams at the same time as in-class students. Proctoring will be arranged by UNITE.

Materials you are allowed to use on an exam are stated on the exam form. You will be allowed to use handouts on Greek letters and on Brand Name Distributions. You are also allowed a cheat sheet consisting of one 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper for each midterm on which you may write anything (both sides), and three 8 1/2 by 11 sheets of paper (again anything on both sides) for the final exam. You may not use anything else.

You may use a calculator, but shouldn't need one for most problems.

You may not obtain help from any person, computer application or service other than material on the course web page or your own notes. In particular, you are not allowed to use Mathematica or other computer algebra system, including the Wolfram Alpha web site.

Missed Exams or Homework

Students will not be penalized for absence during the semester due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances. Such circumstances include verified illness, participation in intercollegiate athletic events, subpoenas, jury duty, military service, bereavement, and religious observances. Such circumstances do not include voting in local, state, or national elections. For complete information, please see: http://policy.umn.edu/education/makeupwork.

If you must miss an exam, make arrangements in advance. If you cannot hand in homework on time (as stated in the Homework Section below), make arrangements in advance. Talk to the instructor before or after class or during office hours to make arrangements. If you find you will miss an exam without having made arrangements, call the instructor (612-625-8511) or, if he is not in, call the department office (612-625-8046) and leave a message. Do this before the time of the exam.


University and department policy is that I grades are used only when there is a small amount of unfinished work that the student can complete on his or her own before the end of the following semester, when there was a legitimate excuse why the work could not be done on time, and when arrangements have been made with the instructor as to when the work will be done. I grades are not given when there is a large amount of work undone and the student would need to attend the class in the next semester to learn the material.


Homework assignments will be assigned in class and on the homework assignments web page.

Homework will be accepted late without penalty until one minute before midnight on the day it is due.

Homework must be submitted to Canvas.

Homework may be handed in late without penalty if there is a valid excuse and an arrangement has been made with the instructor in advance. Otherwise, there will be a 30% penalty for late homework up to two weeks late. Homework will not be accepted more than two weeks late or after the final exam.

Working together in groups on homework is permitted, even encouraged, but each student must do his or her own write-up of the solutions and fully understand them. Talking about problems with other people does help in learning, but just getting solutions doesn't.

Obvious copying of other people's homework solutions or of official homework solutions of previous semesters will not be accepted (zero credit).

A word to the wise: The homework altogether counts 20% of the grade. Not doing homework will hurt your grade.

Another word to the wise: Homework is the most important aspect of the course. If you do the homework by yourself with only hints from other students, the TA, or the instructor and do it correctly, then you will thereby understand everything you need to know to to well on the exams. No amount of studying that does not involve doing homework or problems on old tests can substitute for this.

Because of budget cuts (no grader) we are only going to grade a few problems (perhaps only one) per homework and check that the rest seem to have been done. We concede this is unfair but unavoidable. Thus you will be responsible for checking that you got the correct answers (solutions will be posted under Homework Solutions, which are password protected but the username and password are posted on the course Canvas page) and understanding the right way to do the problems if you didn't get them right the first time. The reason why we do not make the homework optional is because it is essential to doing well in the course.

Office Hours

They are there for your benefit. If you are having difficulty, please come see the teaching assistant or instructor or both during office hours to get help. If you cannot come to the regularly scheduled office hours, make arrangements after the lecture or lab to see us some other time. Or you can just phone and see if we are available.


Midterms 40% (20% each), Final 40%, Homework 20%

Graduate students are graded on a basis entirely separate from undergraduate and non-degree students.

Everything counts. Nothing is dropped. There is no extra credit.

It Isn't Over Until It's Over

There is a natural tendency to slack off after the second midterm, especially if you are doing well up to that point. Please, don't give in to it. About half the final exam covers material that is new since the second midterm. If you don't keep working hard the last few weeks, it can really hurt your grade. It seems to happen to several people every semester. Don't let it happen to you.

Disability Accommodations

The following statement is required by the University on all syllabuses.

The University of Minnesota views disability as an important aspect of diversity, and is committed to providing equitable access to learning opportunities for all students. The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is the campus office that collaborates with students who have disabilities to provide and/or arrange reasonable accommodations.

Additional information is available on the DRC website https://diversity.umn.edu/disability/ or e-mail (drc@umn.edu) with questions.

Student Mental Health and Stress Management

The following statement is required by the University on all syllabuses.

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. University of Minnesota services are available to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus via http://www.mentalhealth.umn.edu/.

Academic Honesty and Dishonesty

School of Statistics Policy

The following statement is required by the School of Statistics on all syllabuses.

The following definition of student academic integrity and scholastic dishonesty is slightly modified from the webpage of the University's Office for Community Standards https://communitystandards.umn.edu/:

Scholastic dishonesty means plagiarizing; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement; altering, forging, or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying data, research procedures, or data analysis.

All School of Statistics teaching faculty are instructed to refer students who violate the policy for academic honesty and dishonesty to the Office of Community Standards. A student responsible for scholastic dishonesty can in addition be assigned a penalty up to and including an F or N for the course.

University of Minnesota Policy

You are expected to do your own academic work and cite sources as necessary. Failing to do so is scholastic dishonesty. Scholastic dishonesty means plagiarizing; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsement; altering, forging, or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying data, research procedures, or data analysis. (Student Conduct Code: http://regents.umn.edu/sites/regents.umn.edu/files/policies/Student_Conduct_Code.pdf). If it is determined that a student has cheated, the student may be given an F or an N for the course, and may face additional sanctions from the University. For additional information, please see: http://policy.umn.edu/education/instructorresp.

The Office for Community Standards has compiled a useful list of Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to scholastic dishonesty: https://communitystandards.umn.edu/avoid-violations/avoiding-scholastic-dishonesty. If you have additional questions, please clarify with your instructor for the course. Your instructor can respond to your specific questions regarding what would constitute scholastic dishonesty in the context of a particular class — e.g., whether collaboration on assignments is permitted, requirements and methods for citing sources, if electronic aids are permitted or prohibited during an exam.

Course Rules

As stated in the Homework Section above, collaboration on homework assignments is permitted, but you must do your own write-up that does not copy others.

As stated in the Exams Section above, any form of using anyone else's work on exams is academic misconduct, using any electronic devices except for calculators is academic misconduct, and using any notes except for the two course handouts specifically allowed (Greek Letters and Brand Name Distributions) and your own notes specifically allowed (one 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper for midterms, three 8 1/2 by 11 sheets of paper for the final) is academic misconduct,

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment in any University activity or program. Such behavior is not acceptable in the University setting. For additional information, please consult Board of Regents Policy: https://regents.umn.edu/sites/regents.umn.edu/files/policies/Sexual_Harassment_Sexual_Assault_Stalking_Relationship_Violence.pdf.

Equity, Diversity, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action

The University provides equal access to and opportunity in its programs and facilities, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. For more information, please consult Board of Regents Policy: http://regents.umn.edu/sites/regents.umn.edu/files/policies/Equity_Diversity_EO_AA.pdf.

Video Recordings

With uncertainty regarding COVID — and in order to reduce the possibility of students exposed to COVID or those who test positive for COVID from attending class meetings and potentially exposing other students, faculty and staff — both Live Streaming Video and Streaming Video Archives of class meetings are available to students registered in the on-campus section of this course for the length of the semester.

Be aware that the University of Minnesota holds the copyright to this media — your access is strictly limited to your enrollment in this course. Accessing the media through either the UNITE Media Portal or within the Canvas course site obligates the student to the UNITE media agreement posted in both the UNITE Media Portal and the Canvas course site. Individual access may be discontinued if found in violation of the agreement.

DO NOT ask the instructor or teaching assistants for technical or troubleshooting assistance with these streaming video archives — use the UNITE Troubleshooting FAQ or Submit a Trouble Report to UNITE link found on all pages within the UNITE Media Portal.