A minimum of 72 hours are required. A student's doctoral program committee must approve all course work used to satisfy the credit-hour requirement and may require additional course work beyond these minimums. The doctoral committee may recommend that up to 30 hours of post-baccalaureate graduate credit from an accredited university be transferred toward the total hours required for the doctoral degree, subject to approval by the Graduate School.

The doctoral program has considerable flexibility. Each student’s adviser and committee will determine a suitable course of study. However, all students must take the following courses or their equivalents at comparable institutions.

  • Statistics 8710 (Intermediate Mathematical Statistics I)
  • Statistics 8720 (Intermediate Mathematical Statistics II)
  • Statistics 8310 (Data Analysis I)
  • Statistics 8320 (Data Analysis II)
  • Statistics 9310 (Theory of Linear Models)
  • Statistics 9710 (Advanced Mathematical Statistics I)
  • Statistics 9720 (Advanced Mathematical Statistics II)

Additional Required Course Work: Before taking the comprehensive examination, students should complete six courses from the following: Statistics 9100, 9250, 9320, 9370, 9410, 9510, 9530, 9640, 9810 and 9820 taken at MU or at comparable institutions. (Different 9100s can be counted more than once.) Other courses may be substituted at the discretion of the student’s doctoral program committee.

Qualifying Examination
Exam Parts

All doctoral students must pass the Qualifying Exam, which is offered in August and January of each year. The exam consists of two parts, one covering Statistics 8710 and 8720, and a second part covering Statistics 8310 and 8320. All doctoral students must take the exams at the first opportunity after taking the required courses, usually in August at the start of the second year. Students have two attempts to pass each part.

Exam Administration

The qualifying examination committee would consist of the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), an Examination Committee Chairman and at least 4 additional committee members, including at least one representative who has taught 8310/8320 and one who has taught 8710/8720; the exact number is decided such that there are a minimum of two people on the committee writing questions for each part (8310/20 and 8710/20). Thus, the committee is responsible for writing all examination questions, but will consult with others who have taught the class most recently to ensure proper coverage of the material. The committee will be appointed by the Chair of the Department. With the exception of the DGS, all committee members will serve a maximum of two year terms (with no member other than the DGS serving two consecutive terms). In cases where it is not possible to staff the committee with representatives of 8310/20 and 8710/8720, the faculty who have taught those classes will serve as consultants to the committee.

Doctoral Committee

Within one semester of passing the qualifying examination, a student must choose a doctoral program committee in consultation with his or her adviser. This committee shall consist of at least four members, at least three from the doctoral faculty in statistics and at least one from another MU doctoral program. The committee members from statistics must include at least two faculty in addition to the student’s adviser(s), so students who are co-advised by two statistics faculty must have a total of at least five committee members.

A student who fails may not take a second comprehensive examination for at least 12 weeks. Failure to pass two comprehensive examinations automatically prevents candidacy.

Comprehensive Examination
Following the graduate school rules, the comprehensive examination is the most advanced posed by MU. It consists of written and oral sections. It must be completed at least seven months before the final defense of the dissertation. The two sections of the examination must be completed within one month. The student must be enrolled to take this examination. It is to be administered only when MU is officially in session.

The written portion of the exam will be arranged and supervised by the student’s major advisor(s). The exam will be given up to one year after the student has completed the required Ph.D. courses. Questions are prepared by each of the student’s committee members (doctoral advisory committee). The comprehensive exam is NOT to be used as a dissertation proposal.

For the comprehensive examination to be completed successfully, the doctoral advisory committee must vote to pass the student on the entire examination, both written and oral sections, with no more than one dissenting or abstaining vote.

A failure of either the written or oral section of the exam constitutes failure of the comprehensive exam. If a failure is reported, the committee also must include in the report an outline of the general weaknesses or deficiencies of the student's work. The student and the committee members are encouraged to work together to identify steps the student might take to become fully prepared for the next examination.

A student who fails may not take a second comprehensive examination for at least 12 weeks. Failure to pass two comprehensive examinations automatically prevents candidacy.

A dissertation, prepared under the direction of a dissertation supervisor, is required. The dissertation should be presented in an open seminar as part of the final examination, which is be conducted by the final examination committee. The dissertation should be made available for public review, through the Department of Statistics office, for at least one week before the examination.

Additional Requirements
Additional requirements for the PhD in statistics are determined by the student’s program committee and the director of graduate studies.