Course Requirements and Deadlines
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.
The Graduate School general requirements for the PhD are found at http://www.tgs.northwestern.edu/academics/degree-requirements/index.html. Students are strongly encouraged to contact the Graduate School Students Services for questions. Each student has an assigned contact person according to the last name.
Students are required to fulfill the Department requirements in addition to those specified by The Graduate School. The Graduate School general requirements for the Ph.D., aside from the Department-specific requirements, are found at http://www.tgs.northwestern.edu/academics/degree-requirements/index.html.
Optional MS degree en route to PhD (coursework and comprehensive exam)
Although we do not have a terminal MS program, students admitted to the PhD program can obtain an optional MS (master of science) degree en route. In other words, students are not admitted to study for just an MS degree, but a student in a PhD program may earn an MS degree en route to the 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.
PhD candidacy (coursework, comprehensive exam and prospectus)
Students in the statistics PhD program must be admitted to PhD candidacy by the end of year 3. (See http://www.tgs.northwestern.edu/about/policies/phd-degree-requirements.html#candidacy.) For this purpose, in addition to satisfying all the requirements of the MS degree en route to the PhD, students must take either Probability 1,2 (Math 450-1,2) or Probability I (Math 450-1) and Stochastic Models 1,2 (IE/MS 460- 1,2). The doctorate candidacy requires passing of the comprehensive examination covering basic topics in statistics; this is normally taken in the second year of residence. Students must also pass a prospectus examination, normally taken in the third year of residence, on a topic of their choice. Note that 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. A minimum of three individuals must serve on the prospectus committee. Student usually first find an adviser through independent studies, who will usually 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.
PhD dissertation (work and defense)
Afterwards, students then 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. In addition to these requirements, students are expected to participate in other research activities and seminars in the department.