Nonparametric Statistics


  • Course Number: STAT 3504
  • Institution: Virginia Tech
  • Term, Dates, Location: Fall Semester 2017, T/Th 2:00-3:15pm HUTCH 204
  • Instructor: Robert B. Gramacy (;
    • Office Hours & Location: M/T 10:00-11:00am, HUTCH 403G
  • Grader: Shuning Huo (
    • Grader will not hold office hours
  • Prerequisites: A fresh and positive experience an introductory statistics course. (This can’t be your first course in stats!)
  • Required text: There is no required text for this course.
  • Optional text: Practical Nonparametric Statistics, 3rd Edition by W.J. Conover.
  • Web: Course materials will be provided at; Canvas will only be used for turning in homework and grading purposes

About the course


Statistical methodology based on ranks, empirical distributions, and runs. One and two sample tests, ANOVA, correlation, goodness of fit, rank regression, \(R\)-estimates and confidence intervals. Comparisons to classical parametric methods will be made throughout. There will be an emphasis on assumptions and interpretation and on computational details and implementation.


We will be using statistical software in this class. Whereas historically a class like this would involve looking up statistical quantiles in the back of a text book, we will be calculating those values ourselves using software. You are welcome to use the software of your choice, but class demonstrations will be in R. All help with software in office hours will be limited to R. Please install R and R Studio as soon as possible.

Grading details


  • 35% Homework (must be submitted on-time via Canvas)
  • 20% Exam #1, tentatively Thursday October 5 (in class)
  • 20% Exam #2, tentatively Tuesday November 14 (in class)
  • 25% Final Exam (cumulative), 16 Dec 2017 1:05pm-3:05pm (in class)

Grading will nominally follow the typical breakdown on a total percentage scale, e.g., [93-100 A), [90-93 A-), [87-90 B+), [83-87 B), etc. All grades in Canvas will follow this scheme. However the instructor reserves the right to apply a final curve in the students’ favor.


  • There will be two written exams and a cumulative final exam. All exams will be closed book and closed notes.
  • During exams, students should be considerate of their classmates by arriving on time. If a student arrives after at least one student has finished the exam and left the room, he/she will NOT be allowed to take the exam and will receive a grade of zero. Cell phones should be turned off before entering the exam room.
  • Make-up exams will be offered for students who have well-documented emergencies approved by the instructor or reported in advance.


  • Homework will be assigned and due on a regular basis. Students are welcome to collaborate with one another, but are required to submit their own work as well as be able to reproduce it.
  • All work must be shown and software must be used when appropriate with attached software output.
  • All homework must be submitted in PDF form via Canvas. Homework authored in Rmarkdown must include a fully working .Rmd file (in addition to the PDF) for extra credit.
  • Late homework will not be accepted unless previously approved by the instructor.
  • All the homework grades will be kept which means NO homework grade will be dropped.


Honor code

The Virginia Tech Honor Code will be strictly enforced in this course. All graded assignments must be composed of your own work.

Services for students with disabilities

Any student who feels that he or she may need an accommodation because of a disability (learning disability, attention deficit disorder, psychological, physical, etc.), please make an appointment to see me during office hours.

Important dates

  • Please take note of the important dates and deadlines noted on the Registrar’s web page.
  • Please take note of the dates of the two exams, and of the final exam (Dec 16) listed above.