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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 18, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Statistics, PhD

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Requirements for the PhD

The main requirement for the Doctor of Philosophy in statistics is the successful completion and defense of a dissertation making a substantial and original contribution to statistics, probability, or their application. Prior to embarking on their research, candidates must pass the qualifying exam (see Requirements for the Master’s Degree above) at the PhD level. To be admitted to PhD candidacy, candidates must successfully pass an oral PhD Comprehensive examination over an area of research chosen in consultation with their advisory committee. The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to demonstrate that students are able to understand, summarize, and make use of the statistical literature in an area of potential research that is of interest to them. Students who have found a specific topic for their dissertation are encouraged to combine the comprehensive examination with the presentation of the thesis proposal. Students who are not yet ready to present a proposal can still take the comprehensive exam, but must later submit a thesis proposal orally and in writing to their advisory committee.

Course requirements for the PhD are STAT 2631 - THEORY OF STATISTICS 1 , STAT 2641 - ASYMPTOTIC METHODS IN STATISTICS , STAT 2661 - LINEAR MODELS THEORY 1 , and STAT 2711 -STAT 2712  (Probability Theory) or their equivalent. PhD candidates are also required to take at least three credits in statistical consulting; those students anticipating a career involving consulting are advised to take a substantial number of consulting credits. The remaining courses of the 72 credits required for the PhD will be decided in conjunction with the student’s advisor and should consist of mainly formal courses prior to the commencement of research for the dissertation.

The department has no second language requirements for the PhD. Although not required, facility in the use of one or more computer programming languages, especially those used in writing statistical software (for example, SAS, R), is highly recommended.

Full-time graduate students usually take between four and five years to complete a PhD. Part-time students may be allowed as many as 10 years to finish all requirements. Additional information concerning examinations and requirements can be found in the Graduate and Professional Bulletin and the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (A&S).

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