18.650: Fundamentals of Statistics

Table of contents

  1. Course Info
  2. Realistic Prerequisites
  3. Subject Matter
  4. Course Staff
  5. Lectures
  6. Problem Sets
  7. Exams
  8. Resources
  9. Grading
  10. Advice to Future Students

Course Info

Class Size 69
Hours/Week 10.0 (31 responses)
Instructors Elchanan Mossel
Overall Rating 5.0/7.0

Realistic Prerequisites

  • 18.600 knowledge is required, although some students thought classes such as 6.042 or 18.05 gave the necessary background.
  • Some knowledge of linear algebra and exposure to analysis was necessary.

Subject Matter

  • Content was mostly theoretical.
  • Most of the theorems weren’t proved in class.

Course Staff

  • Most found the course staff was approachable and caring.


  • Lectures could be very vague and confusing.
  • Many students found lectures to be engaging and had high participation.
  • Students recommended using OCW to supplement lectures.

Problem Sets

  • Difficulty varied from problem set to problem set.
  • Oftentimes were direct applications of the theorems presented in class.


  • Exams were straightforward and standard.
  • Some students complained on the large weight given to individual true/false questions, where 10% of your grade was lost for a wrong answer to one of the true/false questions.
  • One student thought the lack of an equation sheet required a lot of memorization before exams.


  • Many thought the OCW was a useful supplement to lectures.
  • There was no official textbook.
  • Lecture slides and a set of typed notes were made available, though many found the notes to not be helpful.


  • Students generally found the grading to be lenient and fair.

Advice to Future Students

  1. “Brush up on your basic linear algebra and review probability distributions.”
  2. “Only take this class if you want to get a theoretical foundation, and expect to learn for yourself, as you can’t really rely on the staff.”
  3. ”A great course for introduction to statistics. It gets easier after the first two weeks.”