University of Pittsburgh

PhD in Statistics

Prerequisites

  • Three semesters of calculus
  • Linear algebra
  • Year of mathematical statistics (equivalent to STAT 1151-1152)
  • A semester of advanced calculus

(Students lacking this background can arrange to remediate it either in the first year or in the summers proceeding or following the first year.)

Course and Examination Requirements

A total of 72 credits is required for the PhD

  1. Passing at the PhD level the preliminary exam, usually given at the beginning of the fall term of the second year of graduate study. (Students with the background covered by this exam are encouraged to take the preliminary exam as soon as possible. Such students are not required to take STAT 2630-2640 and STAT 2131-2132.)
  2. STAT 2631, Theory of Statistics 1; STAT 2641, Asymptotic Methods in Statistics; STAT 2661, Linear Models Theory 1; STAT 2711, Probability Theory 1; STAT 2712, Probability Theory 2; or their equivalents
  3. At least 3 credits of STAT 2381, Supervised Statistical Consulting. Students anticipating a career involving consulting should take a substantial number of credits of STAT 2381.
  4. Passing the PhD comprehensive exam, an oral examination covering material relevant to the student's thesis area, and at least the course contents of three of the five required courses listed in number 2 above. The student has two choices for the form of the comprehensive exam as follows.
    • The combined comprehensive/dissertation overview exam in which the student presents in an open meeting a formal presentation on his or her proposed research areas, as well as an overview of the questions to be addressed in the student's proposed research.
    • The comprehensive exam, which is designed for a student not yet prepared to present a formal dissertation overview.

The PhD comprehensive exam is administered by a dissertation advisory committee jointly selected by the student and the faculty member, who agrees to serve as the director of the student's dissertation. The exam should be taken within one year of passing the preliminary exam and, in any case, no later than the end of the student's third year of study.

Note. Students will ordinarily be given two chances to pass the PhD comprehensive exam. The second attempt must be made no later than the end of the next academic year semester following the first attempt.

Dissertation Requirements

The student is required to complete a dissertation in some area of theoretical statistics, applied statistics, or probability that is an original contribution of publishable quality and must successfully defend the dissertation in an oral presentation open to the University community.