Graduate Studies

General Program Requirements

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Upon the student's entry into the Department, a faculty member is appointed to advise the student on selection of courses and to provide an introduction to research opportunities. The student receives continuing guidance throughout his or her career from this advisor or another faculty member of the student's choice.

To provide graduate students with a broad perspective on their discipline, all Ph.D. candidates take two courses in statistics, an introductory core course in their area of specialization and several courses from areas outside of their own specialty.

Although the Department places strong emphasis on research training, we believe that students should also have teaching experience. All students, therefore, assist in the teaching of at least one undergraduate courses (e.g., leading a discussion section, conducting individual tutorials or assisting in laboratory classes).

Students proceed through several steps before formally becoming candidates for the Ph.D. degree. During the first and second years of study, students take the required courses and satisfy the requirement for computer literacy. This is followed by a "Major Area Exam," the form of which is determined by the faculty in each area. After passing this exam the student forms a Dissertation Advisory Committee. This committee consists of at least three members: the student's research advisor, one other faculty member from the department, and a faculty member from another department. At this stage, the student receives a Master of Arts degree.

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The final dissertation report is defended in an oral examination conducted by the student's advisory committee and a representative appointed by the University Council on Graduate Studies. This examination is sometimes preceded by a lecture on the thesis research that is open to all members of the Department.