PhD in Statistics

The PhD in Statistics degree program trains students for careers pursuing research in either academia or industry. The program provides rigorous classroom training in the theory, methodology, and applications of statistics and probability. It provides the opportunity to work with faculty on advanced research topics over a wide range of theory and application areas. To enter, students need a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, statistics, or a closely related discipline.

Course Requirements

Sixteen semester courses (64 credits) are required. These shall provide a reasonable breadth of background in probability and statistics, and mastery of the basic tools relevant to the research area selected.

The following six core courses are required:

  • GRS MA 779 Probability Theory I
  • GRS MA 780 Probability Theory II
  • GRS MA 781 Estimation Theory
  • GRS MA 782 Hypothesis Testing
  • GRS MA 750 Nonparametric and Semiparametric Data Modeling
  • GRS MA 751 Statistical Machine Learning

Language Requirement

All students are required to demonstrate graduate-level reading proficiency in a foreign language prior to completion of the degree. Language proficiency can be demonstrated through either a language examination, successful completion of a noncredit, graduate-level foreign language reading course offered by Boston University, or the equivalent of two years of undergraduate study of the language at Boston University.

Qualifying Examination

Students must pass qualifying examinations in two subjects from among probability, mathematical statistics, and applied statistics.

Students must take this examination within two years of the start of their 700-level study. Students must pass this examination by the end of their third year. More detailed information is provided upon admission to the PhD program.

Dissertation and Final Oral Examination

Candidates shall demonstrate their abilities for independent study in a dissertation representing original research or creative scholarship. A prospectus for the dissertation must be completed and approved by the readers, the director of graduate studies, and the department chair/program director. Candidates must undergo a final oral examination in which they defend their dissertation as a valuable contribution to knowledge in their field and demonstrate a mastery of their field of specialization in relation to their dissertation. All portions of the dissertation and final oral examination must be completed as outlined in the GRS General Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree.

A PhD student leaving the program will obtain an MA, provided they have completed 8 graduate courses (32 credits) and passed the comprehensive exam.