Doctor of Philosophy - Department of Statistics - Purdue University Skip to main content

Doctor of Philosophy

Purdue University Laeb Hall

The Doctor of Philosophy program in statistics prepares students for careers in university teaching and research or in government or industrial research. Students entering the program spend four semesters acquiring a basic background in probability, mathematical statistics, and applied statistics and take general examinations on these subjects. More specialized study follows with the thesis research, which usually begins in the third year. This research may be concentrated in any area of statistics or probability in which a faculty member is interested. Students also have the opportunity to gain experience in applied statistics through participation in statistical consulting. Completion of the Ph.D. program normally requires three to five years.


Students who enter this program should have knowledge of probability equivalent to the content of STAT 51600 or STAT 51900. A course in mathematical statistics is desirable, as is a course in regression.

Besides satisfying the general regulations of the Graduate School for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, the student must complete the following requirements:

Plan of Study

A tentative plan of study should be submitted electronically to the Graduate School by the end of the third session for doctoral students. An individual plan of study is crafted by the student and major professor with the approval of the student's doctoral advisory committee and the department.

Qualifying Examination

There are four Ph.D. qualifying examinations that cover material in methodology, probability, mathematical statistics, and computational statistics and are based on the core courses of the first year of graduate study in statistics.

Preliminary Examination

A student who has submitted an approved plan of study and passed the qualifying exams is required to take a preliminary exam. The purpose of the preliminary exam is to test the preparedness of the student for research. The preliminary exam is an oral exam that is administered by the student’s Ph.D. advisory committee. The student will then be recommended to the Graduate School for admissions to candidacy for the Ph.D degree.


A thesis must be submitted in final form, presenting new results of sufficient importance to merit publication. These results may be theoretical advances in probability or statistics, or methodological advances in the application of probability or statistics. The thesis must be accepted by the advisory committee. The student must present the contents of the thesis in an open examination.

Time Limit

Once a student is admitted to candidacy, the final examination marking completion of the doctoral program must be passed within five calendar years. Extensions of the limit may be granted by the graduate committee on petition by the student and his or her major professor. This may require reapproval of the plan of study and/or retaking of all or part of the Ph.D. degree qualifying examination.

Teaching Experience

Every doctoral candidate is required to teach at least quarter-time for one semester unless decided otherwise by the department.

Upon successful fulfillment of these requirements, the candidate will be recommended to the faculty to receive the Ph.D. degree.

Faculty Research Areas

If you are interested in applying to the Ph.D. Program, please visit How to Apply.

Purdue Department of Statistics, 150 N. University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907

Phone: (765) 494-6030, Fax: (765) 494-0558

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