College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

# PhD in Statistics

## Application Found Here

Updated July 15, 2020

The Doctor of Philosophy program in statistics requires a minimum of 76 s.h. of graduate credit, including work completed for the MS degree.

The Graduate College requires a minimum g.p.a. of 3.00 to graduate with a PhD degree; however, the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science requires a higher g.p.a. of at least 3.40 to earn the PhD in statistics. This includes all courses used to meet degree requirements plus additional courses that are relevant to a student's program.

PhD students complete required course work, including four courses in one of four concentration areas: biostatistics, probability/mathematical statistics, statistical computing, or actuarial science/financial mathematics (see "Concentration Areas" below for area descriptions and course lists). They may take course work or seminars in other departments to relate an area of specialization to other fields of knowledge, to acquire the ability to use electronic digital computing equipment, or to learn non-English language skills necessary for reading scientific journals and communicating with scholars in other languages.

## PhD Qualifying Procedure

Students enter the PhD program in one of two tracks:

**Statistics**—After successfully passing both the MS final examination in statistics and the creative component (in exceptional cases, a student may petition to go through the PhD qualifying procedure early), a student who will choose either biostatistics, probability/mathematical statistics, or statistical computing as the selected concentration area, can request, by notifying the director of graduate studies, to go through the PhD qualifying procedure. Upon this request, the faculty evaluates the student's body of work and assesses the student's potential for research. The body of work will include the MS final examination in statistics, the creative component, and course work. This evaluation and assessment results in one of three decisions—the student is officially admitted into the PhD program; the student must reapply to go through the PhD qualifying procedure after accumulating a larger body of work for evaluation; or the student is not admitted into the PhD program.

**Actuarial Science**—After successfully passing the MS final examination in actuarial science (in exceptional cases, a student may petition to go through the PhD qualifying procedure early), a student who will choose actuarial science/financial mathematics as the selected concentration area, can request, by notifying the director of graduate studies, to go through the PhD qualifying procedure. Upon this request, the faculty evaluates the student's body of work and assesses the student's potential for research. The body of work will include the MS final examination in actuarial science, professional examinations passed, and course work. This evaluation and assessment results in one of two decisions—the student is officially admitted into the PhD program in the actuarial science/financial mathematics concentration area, or the student is not admitted into the PhD program.

Students complete the program by passing the PhD final (comprehensive) examination and writing and defending a dissertation. Students usually complete the program three years after earning the MS degree.

A program that does not conform to the requirements described below but is of high quality may be approved by the department chair.

If a PhD student in statistics registers for 6 s.h. or more (not including STAT:6990 Readings in Statistics and STAT:7990 Reading Research) in a semester, then at least 2 s.h. of these need to be from course(s) offered by the statistics department. (This rule is intended to discourage students from taking too many non-statistical courses, especially after they start doing research for their dissertation.)

The Doctor of Philosophy in statistics requires the following work.

## Statistics Courses

### Biostatistics, Probability/Mathematical Statistics, or Statistical Computing Concentration Area

Students in the biostatistics, probability/mathematical statistics, or statistical computing concentration area must complete the following core courses from the MS in statistics program.

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

All of these: | ||

STAT:5090 | ALPHA Seminar | 1 |

STAT:5100-STAT:5101 | Statistical Inference I-II | 6 |

STAT:5200-STAT:5201 | Applied Statistics I-II | 7 |

STAT:5400 | Computing in Statistics | 3 |

STAT:6220 | Statistical Consulting | 3 |

STAT:6300 | Probability and Stochastic Processes I | 3 |

STAT:6990 | Readings in Statistics (two consecutive enrollments) | 2 |

### Actuarial Science/Financial Mathematics Concentration Area

Students in the actuarial science/financial mathematics concentration area must complete the following core courses from the MS in actuarial science program.

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

One of these sequences: | ||

STAT:4100-STAT:4101 | Mathematical Statistics I-II | 6 |

STAT:5100-STAT:5101 | Statistical Inference I-II (for well-prepared students) | 6 |

All of these: | ||

ACTS:3080 | Mathematics of Finance I | 3 |

ACTS:4130 | Quantitative Methods for Actuaries | 3 |

ACTS:4180 & ACTS:4280 | Life Contingencies I-II | 6 |

ACTS:4380 | Mathematics of Finance II | 3 |

ACTS:6160 | Topics in Actuarial Science | arr. |

ACTS:6480 | Loss Distributions | 3 |

ACTS:6580 | Credibility and Survival Analysis | 3 |

STAT:4560 | Statistics for Risk Modeling | 3 |

A course approved by the advisor | 3 |

### All Concentration Area Courses

Additional PhD core course work, regardless of concentration area.

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

All of these: | ||

STAT:5120 | Mathematical Methods for Statistics | 3 |

STAT:7100-STAT:7101 | Advanced Inference I-II | 6 |

STAT:7200 | Linear Models | 4 |

STAT:7300 | Foundations of Probability I | 3 |

STAT:7400 | Computer Intensive Statistics | 3 |

STAT:7990 | Reading Research | 18 |

Seminars, chosen from STAT:7190 or STAT:7290 or STAT:7390 | 2 |

## Concentration Areas

Students take at least four courses in one of the following concentration areas; at least one of the four courses must be at the PhD level (numbered 7000 or above).

### Statistical Computing

Statistical computing emphasizes the theory and application of a broad array of statistical models, such as linear, generalized linear, nonlinear, categorical, spatial, correlated response, and nonparametric regression models. This concentration area prepares students to specify and choose appropriate models; fit the models using available statistical software; and make sound statistical conclusions and interpretive statements. It is excellent preparation for students interested in academic, industrial, or government positions that involve data modeling and analysis.

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

STAT:6510 | Applied Generalized Regression | 3 |

STAT:6530 | Environmental and Spatial Statistics | 3 |

STAT:6540 | Applied Multivariate Analysis | 3 |

STAT:6560 | Applied Time Series Analysis | 3 |

STAT:6970 | Topics in Statistics | 3 |

STAT:7510 | Analysis of Categorical Data | 3 |

STAT:7520 | Bayesian Analysis | 3 |

STAT:7560 | Time Series Analysis | 3 |

### Probability/Mathematical Statistics

Probability/mathematical statistics emphasizes a broad, solid foundation in techniques and underpinnings of mathematical statistics. Its focus on breadth and depth is intended to produce well-rounded, knowledgeable scholars. It is excellent preparation for academic positions in mathematical statistics and industrial or government positions that require broadly trained statisticians with a strong understanding of statistical theory.

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

STAT:6301 | Probability and Stochastic Processes II | 3 |

STAT:7301 | Foundations of Probability II | 3 |

STAT:7520 | Bayesian Analysis | 3 |

STAT:7560 | Time Series Analysis | 3 |

### Biostatistics

Biostatistics emphasizes exposure to various biostatistical methods, such as survival analysis, categorical data analysis, and longitudinal data analysis. It prepares students for consulting and other positions in industry.

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

STAT:6530 | Environmental and Spatial Statistics | 3 |

STAT:6540 | Applied Multivariate Analysis | 3 |

STAT:7510 | Analysis of Categorical Data | 3 |

STAT:7570 | Survival Data Analysis | 3 |

BIOS:7310 | Longitudinal Data Analysis | 3 |

### Actuarial Science/Financial Mathematics

Actuarial science/financial mathematics emphasizes the theory of actuarial science, finance, and risk management. It is excellent preparation for academic positions in universities that offer actuarial science programs and for positions in the insurance, pension, and financial industries. Most students who choose this concentration area are admitted after earning an MS in actuarial science at the University of Iowa.

Code | Title | Hours |
---|---|---|

ACTS:7730 | Advanced Topics in Actuarial Science/Financial Mathematics | arr. |

STAT:6301 | Probability and Stochastic Processes II | 3 |

STAT:7301 | Foundations of Probability II | 3 |

STAT:7560 | Time Series Analysis | 3 |

FIN:7110 | Finance Theory I | 3 |

FIN:7130 | Finance Theory II | 3 |

## PhD Final Examination

Students typically take the PhD final (comprehensive) examination at the beginning of the third year of graduate study, during the week before fall classes begin. Students who do not succeed the first time they take the exam may repeat it once. Ordinarily, this second opportunity to pass the exam will occur one year later, during the week before fall classes begin. However, a student who performs well on one area of the exam but not the other may, in consultation with their advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies, petition the department to move up their second opportunity to the week before the next spring semester's classes begin. The department's decision on whether to grant this petition will take into account any extenuating circumstances.

The comprehensive examination consists of a written core examination and an oral examination in two of the following four areas:

statistical inference (topics in STAT:5100 Statistical Inference I, STAT:5101 Statistical Inference II, and STAT:7100 Advanced Inference I);

linear models (topics in STAT:7200 Linear Models);

probability (topics in STAT:6300 Probability and Stochastic Processes I and STAT:7300 Foundations of Probability I); and

statistical computing (topics in STAT:5400 Computing in Statistics, and STAT:7400 Computer Intensive Statistics).

Ph.D. students in the actuarial science/financial mathematics concentration area have the option of taking only one of the four examinations listed above and an actuarial science/financial mathematics examination designed by their advisor and approved by the director of graduate studies.

## PhD Committee

Upon passing the PhD final examination, the candidate chooses a committee of at least five members, which is approved by the advisor. At least four of the faculty members must be University of Iowa tenure-track faculty members. At least two of the faculty members must be from the major department (defined as faculty members who hold any appointment in the major department), and University of Iowa tenure-track faculty members.

The department may request the Graduate College dean's permission to replace one of the five committee members by a recognized scholar of professorial rank from another academic institution.

## Prospectus

Within 18 months of passing the PhD final exam, the candidate should present a written and oral prospectus to the committee. The prospectus describes the problems the student is considering for the thesis, relevant background material, ideas for solving the problems, and any preliminary results. Failure to successfully complete the prospectus within 24 months of passing the PhD final exam will jeopardize the continuation of a student's financial support.

## Application for Degree

The student must file an application for an anticipated degree with the Registrar not later than ten weeks after the start of the semester or one week after the start of the summer session in which the degree will be conferred. The student must have the application signed by his or her advisor. Failure to file the Application for Degree by the deadline will result in postponement of graduation to a subsequent session.

## PhD Timeline

The timeline below describes the key milestones in the PhD program. Meeting these milestones on time constitutes "adequate progress" toward the PhD degree. See also the sample schedule below. Note that the year numbers refer to those entering the program with a baccalaureate degree. Students who enter after some amount of graduate study elsewhere may in effect be starting in year 2 or year 3.

### Year 1

- Complete at least 18 semester hours of coursework with a GPA of at least 3.4, including courses needed to prepare for the MS Final Examination.

### Year 2

- Take the MS Final Examination before classes start in the fall. If necessary, re-take the exam in January.
- Complete at least 18 s.h. of coursework, including all prerequisites to STAT:7100 (22S:253), STAT:7200 (22S:255), and STAT:7300 (22S:203) with a GPA of at least 3.4 -- in essence meeting the requirements of the MS program.
- Satisfactorily complete the creative component requirement (draft by end of fall, polished and presented by mid-spring).
- Begin working on identifying a potential dissertation advisor and dissertation topic.

### Year 3

- Pass the comprehensive examination. (In certain cases where it was not possible to take the needed 7000-level courses by the end of the second year, this may need to be deferred to the fourth year.)
- Complete at least 15 s.h. of courses with a GPA of 3.4 of higher, including a seminar course [STAT:7190 (22S:291), STAT:7290 (22S:295), or STAT:7390 (22S:293)].
- Identify the dissertation advisor, dissertation topic, and dissertation committee.

### Year 4

- Complete most remaining core and concentration-area courses with a GPA of 3.4 or higher, a seminar course [STAT:7190 (22S:291), STAT:7290 (22S:295), or STAT:7390 (22S:293)], and 3-6 s.h. of STAT:7990 (22S:299) Reading Research.
- Present the dissertation prospectus. Present the dissertation prospectus. Note that students cannot provide food or beverages at the prospectus meeting.

### Year 5

- Complete all course requirements, including remaining hours of STAT:7990 (22S:299) Reading Research, with a GPA of at least 3.4.
- Complete the dissertation, including meeting dissertation deposit deadlines.
- File the Application for Degree during the final semester.
- Defend the dissertation. Note that students cannot provide food or beverages at the dissertation defense meeting.

## Sample Schedule for PhD Students in Statistics

Year | Fall Semester | Spring Semester |
---|---|---|

1 | STAT:5090 ALPHA Seminar
STAT:5100 Statistical Inference I STAT:5200 Applied Statistics I STAT:5400 Computing in Statistics |
STAT:5101 Statistical Inference II
STAT:5120 Mathematical Methods for Statistics STAT:5201 Applied Statistics II |

2 | [MS Final Examination]
STAT:6300 Probability and Stochastic Processes I STAT:6990 Readings in Statistics (1 s.h.) STAT:7100 Advanced Inference I, STAT:7200 Linear Models, or STAT:7300 Foundations of Probability I one concentration course |
STAT:6220 Statistical Consulting
STAT:6990 Readings in Statistics (1 s.h.) STAT:7400 Computer Intensive Statistics STAT:7101 Advanced Inference II, STAT:7301 Foundations of Probability II, or a concentration course |

3 | [Comprehensive Examination]
remaining courses from STAT:7100 Advanced Inference I, STAT:7200 Linear Models, and STAT:7300 Foundations of Probability I one concentration course |
STAT:7101 Advanced Inference II, or STAT:7301 Foundations of Probability II
one concentration course STAT:7990 Reading Research (3 s.h.) |