The Ph.D. program offers concentrations or “tracks”, which include the Traditional Track, the Industrial Track, the Bioinformatics Track, the Computational Track, and the Environmental Track. The Traditional Track encompasses the general pursuit of research in statistical theory and methods, allowing considerable freedom in choice of coursework within and outside the department. The Industrial, Bioinformatics, Computational, and Environmental Tracks offer more specialized statistical training geared towards applications areas in which the department has particular expertise. In accord with their specialized nature, these four tracks are more stringent in requirements for relevant coursework than the Traditional Track. An option in Bioinformatics is also available.

The Ph.D. plan of study requires a minimum of 90 semester hours of work beyond the baccalaureate, including at least 60 semester hours of course work and at least 30 semester hours of research toward the dissertation. In addition to the core courses for the M.S. (or equivalent courses if a student enters the program with advanced standing from another university) required courses for the Ph.D. are Advanced Topics in Statistical Inference and three other Ph.D. level courses from approved lists of courses, which vary by track. Each candidate for the Ph.D. must pass the qualifying examination at the Ph.D. level. The department also offers an option in forestry or wildlife in conjunction with the College of Natural Resources and Environment.

While in the Ph.D. program, each student must participate for three semesters in specialized professional training in statistical collaboration and one semester of teaching. For graduate assistants, this will be fulfilled as duties for the assistantship.

In addition to passing the qualifying examination at the Ph.D. level, each doctoral student must pass a written presentation (the “proposal”) and oral presentation (the “proposal defense”) of their dissertation topic. An oral presentation, in the form of a colloquium, based on the final dissertation results, is also required. The final examination toward the doctorate is the oral defense of dissertation.