PhD Program

PhD Program Overview

The doctoral program in statistics is designed to provide students with comprehensive training in statistical theory and methodology and in the application of statistical methods to problems in a wide range of fields. The program is flexible and may be arranged to reflect students' interests and career goals. Cross-disciplinary work is encouraged. The PhD program prepares students for careers as university teachers and researchers and as research statisticians in industry, government and the non-profit sector.

Requirements

Students are required to fulfill the Department requirements in addition to those specified by The Graduate School (TGS).

From the Graduate School’s webpage outlining the general requirements for a PhD:

In order to receive a doctoral degree, students must:

PhD degrees must be approved by the student's academic program. Consult with your program directly regarding specific degree requirements.

The Department requires that students in the Statistics PhD program:

  1. Complete up to 12 courses (for particularly well-qualified students this requirement may be reduced by as many as 3 courses) in the first four quarters. Required courses are: Regression Analysis (350), Design and Analysis of Experiments (351), Introduction to Statistical Theory and Methodology I, II, III (420-1,2,3), STAT 461 (Advanced Survey Sampling), and two courses from among other 400 level statistics courses. Students complete the requirement by choosing from 300 and 400 level courses offered by the statistics department or offered by other departments and approved by the Statistics Department. Of the 12 courses required, no more than 3 may be taken outside the Statistics Department. Completing these courses and passing the Qualifying Exam make students eligible for an optional MS degree en route to their PhD.
  2. Pass the Qualifying Exam. This comprehensive examination covers basic topics in statistics and is typically taken in fall quarter of the second year of residence.
  3. Pass the Prospectus presentation/examination and be admitted for PhD candidacy by the end of year 3. The statistics department requires that their students must complete their Prospectus (proposal of dissertation topic) before the end of year 3, which is an earlier than The Graduate School deadline of the end of year 4. The prospectus must be approved by a faculty committee comprised of a committee chair and a minimum of 2 other faculty members. Students usually first find an adviser through independent studies who then will typically serve as the committee chair. When necessary, exceptions may be made upon the approval of the committee chair and the director of graduate studies, to extend the due date of the prospectus exam until the end of year 4.
  4. Successfully complete and defend a doctoral dissertation. After the prospectus is approved, students begin work on the doctoral dissertation, which must demonstrate an original contribution to a chosen area of specialization. A final examination (thesis defense) is given based on the dissertation. Students typically complete the PhD program in 5 years.
  5. Attend all seminars in the department and participate in other research activities. In addition to these academic requirements, students are expected to participate in other research activities and attend all department seminars every year they are in the program.

Optional MS degree en route to PhD

Students admitted to the Statistics PhD program can obtain an optional MS (Master of Science) degree en route to their PhD. The MS degree requires 12 courses. For particularly well-qualified students, this requirement may be reduced by as many as 3 courses. Students choose from 300 and 400 level courses offered by the statistics department or offered by other departments and approved by the Statistics Department. Required are Survey Sampling (325), Regression Analysis (350), Design and Analysis of Experiments (351), Introduction to Statistical Theory and Methodology I, II, III (420-1,2,3), and two courses from among other 400 level statistics courses. Of the 12 courses required, no more than 3 may be taken outside the Statistics Department. The MS degree requires a comprehensive exam but no thesis. Students normally complete the requirements in four quarters, but well-qualified students can complete the requirements in three quarters.