Ph.D. in Statistics Degree

Doctor of Philosophy Program


The breadth of the field of statistics as well as the frontiers of knowledge in a particular research area are emphasized in the Ph.D. program. The student seeking a Ph.D. in statistics is required to fulfill the following requirements. Those students who in discussion with the graduate adviser, determines that they do not have the appropriate mathematics/statistics background to successfully complete the program, will need to complete some courses in the MS STAT program and/or courses in mathematics.


A. Courses

  1. Required Courses – STAT 605, 612, 613, 614, 620, 632, 648
  2. At least five courses from the elective course list provided below.
  3. Two semester credit hours of statistical consulting experience (STAT 684) earned in a minimum of two semesters. Rules governing acceptable methods for completing this requirement are given below in Item B.
  4. Four semester credit hours of STAT 681.
  5. A sufficient number of research hours, STAT 691, or additional courses from the Ph.D. Elective Course list or M.S. Elective Courses to achieve a  total of at least 96 semester credit hours beyond a Bachelor’s degree or 64 semester credit hours beyond a Master’s degree.

Ph.D. Elective Courses:

STAT – 615, 616, 618, 621, 627, 631, 633, 642, 643, 644, 647, 665, 673, 674, 677, 689


B. Consulting Experience
One semester credit hour of STAT 684 can be obtained through the completion of any of the experiences listed below.

  1. One semester of service in the Statistical Consulting Center.
  2. One semester of a departmentally approved Internship.
  3. Special experiences, with prior approval from either the Department Head or the Associate Department Head that involve the following:

a. At least one semester of activity
b. The application of statistical knowledge
c. Working with non-statisticians
d. Sufficient statistical supervision.


C. Ph.D. Qualifying Examination
The Ph.D. Qualifying Exam will cover the material from the required courses: STAT 612, 613, 614, 632, 648. The student’s performance on the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam combined with the student’s performance in the required courses will then be evaluated as

  1. Pass at the Ph.D. level
  2. Pass at the M.S. level with no option to retake the Ph.D. exam
  3. Fail the exam with no option to retake the Ph.D. exam.

The exams will be offered at the end every year approximately two weeks after the spring semester final exams. There are two schedules for a student to take the Ph.D. qualifying exam.

Schedule I: Exam is taken at the end of the first academic year student is enrolled in the Ph.D. program.

Schedule II: Exam is taken in May of the second academic year that student is enrolled in the Ph.D. program. This schedule is for students that are taking background courses in statistics or mathematics prior to taking the required Ph.D. courses. A student using Schedule II will be evaluated at the end of their second and third semesters in the Ph.D. program regarding whether they will be allowed to continue in the Ph.D. program. Any student who has not taken the Ph.D. exam within two years of their entering the program will automatically be disqualified from the Ph.D. program.



D. Ph.D. Advisory Committee
After passing the Ph.D. qualifying exam, a student must select a faculty member of the Department of Statistics to be the student’s Ph.D. advisor and to direct the student’s research. The student and the selected faculty member should work together to form a Ph.D. advisory committee consisting of two more members from the statistics faculty and a faculty member outside of the department of statistics. A degree plan must be submitted using the electronic degree plan at the OGAPS website. The degree plan will include all required courses, five courses from the Elective Courses list, and sufficient hours to meet OGAPS requirements as listed above.


E. Preliminary Examination
Take and pass the Preliminary Examination administered by the advisory committee within three semesters after passing the Ph.D. qualifying exam (see below).


F. Submit Proposal for Dissertation to OGAPS.


G. Ph.D. Dissertation
Write a Ph.D. Dissertation and pass the final Defense of Dissertation Examination (see below).  The presentation of student’s research in their dissertation defense will be open to the public.


Preliminary Examination

After a student has passed the departmental Ph.D. qualifying examination, formed an advisory committee, submitted a degree plan and has it approved by OGAPS, a student must take the OGAPS required preliminary examination. The prelim exam consists of the following parts:

  1. A written examination developed by the statistics members of the student’s advisory committee. This exam is usually waived at the discretion of the departmental committee members.
  2. A written examination administered by the member of the student’s advisory committee from outside the Statistics Department. This examination is usually waived.
  3. An oral examination administered by the members of the student’s advisory committee. The oral exam generally consists of the student presenting a proposal for the student’s Ph.D. dissertation research and discussing any research results completed at the point of the exam.

Scheduling the preliminary examination can only take place after the student has an approved Ph.D. degree plan on file with OGAPS. The student must successfully pass the preliminary examination within three semesters after passing the Ph.D. qualifying exam and at least 14 weeks prior to the date of the dissertation defense. The results of the examination are reported to OGAPS using the Report of the Preliminary Examination, a form found at the OGAPS website.


The Ph.D. Dissertation

After successfully completing all the required courses and passing the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam, a period of time is to be devoted to formulating a research topic in either statistical methodology or statistical theory under the guidance of the student’s dissertation advisor. The proposed research will be presented to the student’s advisory committee during the Preliminary Exam in order to obtain the committees input on the appropriateness of the research. The results of this research must be communicated in a written dissertation satisfying the guidelines established by OGAPS. The research must constitute an original contribution to the science of statistics and may derive new results in statistical theory or methodology or may be concerned with developing statistical methodology in new areas of application.

Once the student’s advisory committee feels that the student has completed the dissertation, a final oral examination is conducted by the advisory committee in which the student defends the dissertation. This exam must be scheduled by submitting the Request and Announcement of the Final Examination form to OGAPS at least 10 working days before the final exam date.