ST206      Half Unit
Probability and Distribution Theory

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Miltiadis Mavrakakis-Vassilakis


This course is available on the BSc in Business Mathematics and Statistics and BSc in Mathematics, Statistics and Business. This course is not available as an outside option. This course is available to General Course students.


Students must have completed Elementary Statistical Theory (ST102) and Mathematical Methods (MA100).

Course content

The course covers the probability and distribution theory needed for third year courses in statistics and econometrics.:

Events and their probabilities. Random variables. Discrete and continuous distributions. Moments, moment generating functions and cumulant generating functions. Functions of Random Variables. Monte Carlo Simulation in R. Joint distributions and joint moments. Marginal and conditional densities. Independence, covariance and correlation. Sums of random variables and compounding. Multinomial and bivariate normal distributions. Law of large numbers and central limit theorem.


This course will be delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 30 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year, some or all of this teaching may be delivered through a combination of virtual classes and flipped-lectures delivered as short online videos. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Michaelmas Term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 pieces of coursework in the MT.

These are exam-style class tests.

Indicative reading

M C Mavrakakis & J Penzer, Probability and Statistical Inference: From Basic Principles to Advanced Models (primary reading)

G C Casella & R L Berger, Statistical Inference (very useful as a reference)


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
First 61.9
2:1 28.6
2:2 4.8
Third 0
Fail 4.8

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Statistics

Total students 2019/20: 20

Average class size 2019/20: 7

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills