The Department of Statistics was founded in 1946, with the appointment of professor SJ (Faantjie) Pretorius. He was the first professor in Statistical Mathematics.
However, prior to 1946, numerous courses in Statistics were offered at the University of Stellenbosch. This makes it one of the oldest Statistics Departments in South Africa. Since the majority of subjects were initially offered to mainly commerce students, it formed part of the Commerce Faculty. In recent years the number of subjects offered by the Department, as well as the areas where courses were given, increased dramatically. Currently, students from most Faculties follow a course in Statistics. The subjects Mathematical Statistics, Actuarial Science, Applied Statistics and Financial Risk Management are for example some of the main programmes that can be followed in both the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. Service courses are offered to the Health Sciences, Engineering, Food Science and Economic and Management Sciences students.
In 1985, the Department of Statistics started to present courses in Actuarial Science and it was decided to change the name to the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. Professor CJB Greeff was appointed as the first professor in Actuarial Science in 1988.
The Department not only offers a variety of undergraduate and service courses to students, but students from the Faculties of Science and Economic and Management Sciences can also enroll for Honours, Masters and Doctorate degrees in Statistics, Mathematical Statistics, Financial Risk Management and Actuarial Science.
The Department consists of 23 permanent and 11 part-time lecturers, the Director and Head Statistician of the Centre for Statistical Consultation, a honorary professor, a departmental officer and two secretaries. Our Department is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.