Statistics 564

Theory of Probability

Fall 2020

Course Homepage


Course syllabus.


Theory of Probability is a core course for the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Statistics and Data Science.



In the Theory of Probability, we shall be using our previous knowledge of calculus and linear algebra to consider the central issues in the "science of uncertainty". The mathematical development of these ideas will be useful in a variety of human endeavors and serve as essential background for productive work in statistics – probability's sister discipline.



Day to Day Operations. 

The class meets online Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM over zoom. The lectures will also be recorded with a link on the course syllabus page. The zoom meeting ID is 897 361 7174.


Our text is Statistical Inference (Second Edition) by George Casella and Roger L. Berger. We will cover most of the material in the first 5 chapters of the textbook plus some supplementary material. A summary of the class notes will be available to the students. The schedule of topics, the class notes and the assignments are given in the course syllabus.


The class has a teaching assistant Zhaoying Lu. All office hours will be conducted online. In addition, we will be using Microsoft Teams a unified communication and collaboration platform.




office hours


Joe Watkins

jwatkins at

Tuesdays 11:00 to 12:30

Thursdays 3:15 to 4:45



Zhaoying Lu

zhaoyinglu at

Mondays 4:30 to 6:00

Fridays 12:00 to 1:30





Use of Software.

We will be doing some software computation using R.  R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics. It compiles and runs on a wide variety of UNIX platforms, Windows and MacOS. To download R, please choose your preferred CRAN mirror. Other options for software assistance can be found on the resource webpage.


Evaluation of Students.

We shall have 2 take home midterm exams.


Homework is an essential part of any mathematics or statistics course. Homework will be collected weekly. The homework grade will be based on the top 12 homework scores. For the assignment, complete the assigned problems plus at least one of the challenging problems. The homework assignments are typically due Friday afternoons.


Permission to turn in late homework for credit must be arranged in advance. The grading scheme is






problem sets




midterm exams









Grades will be given on the usual scale A is 90%-100%, B is 80%-89%, C is 70%-79%, D is 60%-69%, and E is below 60%. If you fail to complete the course due to circumstances unforeseen, then you may qualify for a grade of I, "incomplete'" if all of the conditions are met:



Students should take the time to become familiar with policies and codes of the University, notably the academic integrity policy and student code of conduct. Student with special needs should contact SALT - Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center or the Disability Resources Center.


Equipment and Software Requirements


Class Attendance

·      If you feel sick, or may have been in contact with someone who is infectious, stay home. Except for seeking medical care, avoid contact with others and do not travel.

·      Notify your instructors if you will be missing an in person or online course.

·      Campus Health is testing for COVID-19.  Please call (520) 621-9202 before you visit in person.

·      Visit the UArizona COVID-19 page for regular updates.



Life Challenges

If you are experiencing unexpected barriers to your success in your courses, please note the Dean of Students Office is a central support resource for all students and may be helpful. The Dean of Students Office can be reached at 520-621-2057 or


Physical and Mental Health Challenges

If you are facing physical or mental health challenges this semester, please note that Campus Health provides quality medical and mental health care. For medical appointments, call (520-621-9202. For After Hours care, call (520) 570-7898. For the Counseling & Psych Services (CAPS) 24/7 hotline, call (520) 621-3334.


Best wishes to you for a good semester in this course and in all your other activities.


  - Joe Watkins