Program Course Requirements & Timetables

Each student in the program arrives with a different level of preparation, and not all students will necessarily be required to take all courses as specified below. In particular, with approval of the DGS, coursework taken elsewhere may be used to satisfy certain requirements.

PhD: Courses and Study Timetable

In year 1, PhD students are required to take 3 courses for a letter grade per semester. In year 2, students are required to take 3 courses for a grade per semester. Of these 6 courses taken in the second year, at least 4 must be for a letter grade; the remaining courses can be taken S/U and can include an independent study or research course.

By the end of the first year, students admitted to the PhD program must have taken graduate-level courses in mathematical statistics, measure-theoretic probability, and either linear or generalized linear models. These courses comprise the core coursework of the PhD program and all must be taken for a letter grade. Students entering the program are assumed to have taken at least one course in undergraduate real analysis; students entering without such a course are expected to take real analysis in their first semester.

At the end of the first year, a First Year Evaluation is conducted; depending on the outcome, a student may have to take a written qualifying examination.

By the end of the second year, students in the PhD program must have taken all courses for year 1 (i.e., including both linear and generalized models), an approved course in stochastic processes, as well as courses covering the following topics (all courses must be taken for a letter grade unless otherwise specified):

  • a second course in mathematical statistics or asymptotic theory;
  • A graduate-level course in statistical or scientific computing;
  • A graduate-level course in advanced statistical modeling (examples include, but aren't limited to, Bayesian statistics, multivariate analysis, stochastic modeling, spatial statistics, and survival analysis);
  • Participation in statistical consulting. 

In particular, beginning with the second year of study, PhD students are required to register for BTRY 7950 (Statistical Consulting). One semester of BTRY 7950 must be completed within the second year; the other can be completed any time before a student's A examination. A student may register for and participate in BTRY 7950 for any number of semesters beyond the minimum of two, space permitting and frequent participation is encouraged.

At least 4 other graduate-level elective courses approved by the chair of your Special Committee, at least 2 of which must be for a letter grade. These elective courses are expected to contain an appropriately sophisticated level of content for a student pursuing a PhD in statistics.

Note: further information on all evaluations & examinations mentioned above may be found here.

A and B Exams

The Graduate School requires all PhD students to schedule their A examination within 7 semesters of entering the PhD program. In addition, PhD students must also pass their A examination at least two semesters in advance of their B examination. The Field of Statistics expects PhD students to schedule and pass their B examination within 5 years of entering the PhD program.

Progress Reports/Annual Progress

As a condition of receiving funding from the Field of Statistics, all students must report their progress to the DGS at the end of each academic year in the form of a "Progress Report." This information will be used by the DGS, your advisor and other faculty members (e.g., your Special Committee) to help keep track of where you are in satisfying program requirements, allowing each to provide you with informed advice regarding subsequent steps.