Doctoral Program

For students entering the program after a Bachelors Degree, typically 16 to 18 courses are required. An individual plan of study is developed by the student and his or her Advisory Committee.

The following core courses are required for all Ph.D students: STAT 5585 and 5685 (Mathematical Statistics), STAT 5505 and 5605 (Applied Statistics), STAT 5725 and 5735 (Linear Models), STAT 6315  and 6515 (Theory of Statistics), STAT 6325 and 6894 (Measure Theory and Probability Theory), STAT 5515 (Design of Experiments), and STAT 5095 (Investigation of Special Topics).   Except for the one-credit STAT 5095, each core course carries 3 credits, giving a total of 34 credits. Additional credits can be earned from the list of elective courses.

In general, Ph.D. students are required to elect 1 – 2 courses from other departments. However, it is sufficient to take one graduate level course from the Department of Mathematics. Ph.D. students are also encouraged to take courses in Computer Science as well as in application areas such as Biology or Economics. The elected course(s) must be approved by the major advisor of a student. Under certain circumstances, a major advisor can exempt his/her student from the above requirement, if the student has had internships or RA’s in interdisciplinary areas. The Department has no requirement on foreign languages.

The first formal departmental requirement for the Ph.D. program is successfully passing the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination, which is a written test for certain basic courses in the program. The next requirement is passing the General Examination which is given as an oral test and covers aspects of Applied Statistics, Linear Models, Probability Theory, and Statistics. The preparation of a dissertation then follows which must present an original contribution to the general area of Statistics and/or Probability. A Ph.D. degree must include at least 15 credits of GRAD 6950 (Doctoral Dissertation Research). The final requirement of the program is a defense of the Ph.D. dissertation before an audience of interested members of the department.

The Department expects every Ph.D. student to strive to finish his or her study within 4 years. For students arriving without an M.S. degree in Mathematics or Statistics, the Department may provide up to 5 years of financial support. For those arriving with such a degree, the Department may provide up to 4 years of financial support.


In order to receive continuous support, Ph.D. students with financial support should maintain a suitable course load. Each should take at least 3 courses each semester until taking the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination.  For students arriving with a Bachelor’s Degree and receiving financial support from the Department, we propose the following timetable for these examinations:

  1. Ph.D. Qualifying Examination: within 3 semesters from the start of the program.
  2. General Examination: within 6 semesters from the start of the program.
  3. Ph.D. Thesis Defense: no later than 5 years from the start of the program.

In order for a student currently enrolled in our M.S. program to switch to the Ph.D. program or to be considered for financial support, he or she must first pass both parts of the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam at the Ph.D. level.


The dissertation Tentative Approval page is no longer required.

  • Effective 11/1/2020 Doctoral students no longer need to complete and submit the Tentative Approval Page prior to their defense.  If a student’s committee requires a working copy of the dissertation prior to the final defense that should only be sent to the student’s committee, it should not be sent to the registrar’s office, the graduate school, or the degree audit.

  • Ph.D. students are still required to announce their defense on the University Events Calendar at least two weeks prior to the date as they have always done.  The instructions to post their defense announcement can be found here as the first item,

  • Additionally, over the summer it was approved to remove the Submission Checklist as part of the final paperwork submission as well. Currently, the three items students need to submit after a successful dissertation defense are a) Final Exam Report,  b) Dissertation Approval page and c) Survey of Earned Doctorates completion certificate.

  • Both the Submission Checklist and Tentative Approval Page have been removed from the Registrar’s Office and Graduate School websites.  Please refer to this link going forward,  It contains all the relevant information and form links a student or faculty member may need in order to finalize their academic career.


You can browse our graduate course descriptions from A to Z at this link.