Programs of Study
The Department of Statistics administers programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. These programs provide diverse opportunities for advanced study and research in all areas of applied and theoretical statistics, and practical experience in statistical consulting.
The Master of Science (M.S.) degree requires 30 credits of coursework, or 10 courses. Candidates for the M.S. degree complete course requirements covering the breadth of applied and theoretical statistics, and statistical consulting, and pass certain general examinations based on those courses.
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree is normally completed within five years. Candidates for the Ph.D. degree fulfill certain course requirements and examinations beyond the M.S. degree. The fundamental addition is the Ph.D. dissertation, which presents original research performed under the supervision of a faculty member.
All full-time graduate students are required, as part of their training, to gain instructional experience by assisting with the teaching of undergraduate courses.
Master of Science Degree
Preparation: Students should have 3 semesters of calculus (including multiple integrals), linear algebra (comparable to UVa’s MATH 351 or APMA 308), and an introductory probability and statistics course such as MATH 310/STAT 312 or APMA 310/312.
The M.S. program requires 30 units of coursework or 10 courses. M.S. required courses: STAT 512, STAT 513, STAT 519, STAT 596 (for 3 credits).
M.S. Electives (6 courses): Any STAT course numbered 500 and above except STAT 500, 598, 912, 997, 999. Suggested electives in other departments include MATH 511 and PHS 795. Other courses may be used upon agreement of the departmental graduate advisor.
Master’s Final Exam: This exam is given every April and November and is done ‘take home’. It consists of one or more data sets. At least one of the data sets can be analyzed using the techniques of either STAT 512, or STAT 513. The student picks a data set and does a complete analysis, writing a report detailing the analysis and its conclusions.
Language Exam: This covers one programming language (R/SPlus) and one statistical package (SAS). It is given every April and November and unlimited retakes (but only one administration per semester ) are allowed.
Sample M.S. programs can be found at the department web (courses/masters)
Doctor of Philosophy Degree
Successful completion of the following are the requirements for the Ph.D. degree:
- 72 credits of coursework
- Ph.D. General Examinations
- Ph.D. Qualifying Examination
- Written Doctoral Dissertation and Final Defense.
Preparation: Students should have 3 semester of calculus, linear algebra (comparable to UVa’s MATH 351 or APMA 308), and an introductory calculus-based probability and statistics course (comparable to MATH 310/STAT 312 or APMA 310/312). Most students find it extremely helpful to have an introductory real analysis course (‘epsilon-delta proofs’) comparable to MATH 331.
The Ph.D. program requires a total of 72 credits of coursework. At most 18 of these credits can consis of Statlab (STAT 598), Seminar (STAT 912), and NONtopical Research (STAT 997 and 999).
The remaining 54 units are as follows:
Ph.D. required courses: STAT 512, STAT 513, STAT 519, STAT 796 (for 3 credits), MATH 531, STAT 711, STAT 712, STAT 720, STAT 722.
Ph.D. electives (27 credits or 9 courses): Any STAT course numbered 500 and above except STAT 500, 598, 912, 997, 999. Suggested electives in other departments included MATH 511 and PHS 795. Other courses may be used upon agreement of the departmental graduate advisor. (MATH 731 (Real Analysis & Linear Spaces I) and MATH 736 (Mathematical Theory of Probability) may be taken together in place of STAT 720. In this case there will be eight remaining elective courses needed.)
Students with a M.S. degree in a related field may receive up to 24 units of credit for the prior degree. The exact number of units allowed depends upon the courses taken for the prior M.S. and whether or not these courses can be used to substitute for any of the required Ph.D. courses.
All students are required to take the Ph.D. General Exams at the end of the first year. There are two exams: the theory exam is based upon MATH 531 and STAT 519; the methods exam is based upon STAT 512 and STAT 513. Both exams are written three hour exams and will be administered on the Friday and Saturday preceding the first day of classes in the Fall semester of the student’s second year. If one of the two exams is passed, a retake of the failed exam will be allowed. The retake will occur on the weekend preceding the start of the Spring semester of the student’s second year. If neither of the two exams are passed, no retake is allowed.
The Ph.D. Qualifying Exam is an oral exam designed to establish the candidate’s preparedness for dissertation research. It must be passed by end of the third year of graduate study. By the time of taking the examination, the candidate should have chosen a broad area of potential research (e.g. multivariate statistics) and a probable dissertation advisor.
There are two basic formats for the qualifying exam. One is a dissertation proposal. In the alternative format, the dissertation advisor will choose three papers in the probable area of the dissertation topic and the student will present these papers and be examined on them.
The format of the exam consists of a talk prepared by the student and delivered to the Statistics and Biostatistics graduate students and faculty. After the talk, the Statistics and Biostatistics faculty will question the student to establish the student’s understanding of the proposed dissertation area. The exam might also include questions from the Department’s higher level theoretical courses: STAT 711, 712, 720, 722. These questions will often, but not necessarily, be related to the dissertation area. For example many statistics papers talk about large sample approximations. Although such papers might not be formally presented in a mathematical sense, the examination might explore the precise mathematical meaning of these approximations, and such questions are answered in the Department’s theoretical courses.
One retake of the qualifying exam is allowed. However since the exam must be passed by the end of the third year of graduate study, it is recommended that the first administration of the qualifying exam be scheduled no later than the first half of the second semester of the student’s third year.
This covers one programming language (R/SPlus) and one statistical package (SAS). It is given every April and November and unlimited retakes (but only one administration per semester) are allowed.
Sample Ph.D. programs can be found at the department web site.
The Statistics Colloquium
The colloquium is held weekly, with the sessions devoted to research activities of students and faculty members, and to lectures by visiting statisticians on current research interests.