PhD in Mathematics, Including Statistics and Probability

The PhD program in Mathematics, including Statistics and Probability prepares students for a career pursuing research and/or teaching in either academia or industry. 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 mathematics, or probability and statistics, and mastery of the basic tools relevant to the research area selected.

For the statistics track, the following 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 Advanced Statistical Methods I
  • GRS MA 751 Advanced Statistical Methods II

Language Requirement

All students pursuing a PhD in Mathematics 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 non-credit 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.

Comprehensive Examination

Students in the Mathematics track must pass this examination by the end of their second year.

Qualifying Examination

Students in the mathematics track must pass this examination by the end of their third year. Students in the statistics track must pass two out of three qualifying examinations in probability, mathematical statistics, and applied statistics by the end of their third year.

Students must take this examination within two years of the start of their 700-level study. 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 contributions to knowledge in their fields and demonstrate a mastery of their fields 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.