Ph.D. in Statistics Degree

Doctor of Philosophy Program


Applying: Please visit Statistics PhD Admissions.

The aim of the Ph.D. program is to provide comprehensive and balanced training in statistical methods, computational statistics, and the theory of statistics. Particular emphasis is placed on training students to independently recognize the relevance of statistical methods to the solution of specific problems and to enable them to develop new methods when they are needed. The training aims to convey a sound knowledge of existing statistical theory, including the mathematical facility to develop new results in statistical methodology. At the same time, the program is kept sufficiently flexible to permit students to develop their specific interests.

The students seeking a Ph.D. degree must fulfill a number of departmental requirements in addition to university requirements specified by the Graduate and Professional School (GPS).


The Ph.D. at Texas A&M requires a minimum of 64 credit hours  beyond a Master’s degree or 96 credit hours beyond a Bachelor’s degree.  Statistics Ph.D. students are required to take 36 credit hours of Ph.D. level courses, 4 credit hours of seminar, 2 credit hours of statistical consulting and a sufficient number of research hours to meet the minimum 64/96 credit hour requirement.

Ph.D. Level Courses:

Other requirements:

  • Four credit hours of STAT 681 — Seminar over 4 semesters.
  • Two credit hours of STAT 684 — Statistical Consulting over 2 semesters before the end of the fourth year.
  • A sufficient number of research hours STAT 691 to meet the minimum requirement of 64 hours beyond a Master’s degree or 96 credit hours beyond a Bachelor’s degree.

Ph.D. Qualifying Examination

The Ph.D. Qualifying Exam will cover the material from 5 of the 7 required courses: STAT 600612, 613, 614 and 632. All Ph.D. students must pass the qualifying examination at the Ph.D. level given before the end of the first year.  There are three ratings of the exam: (1) Pass at the Ph.D. level; (2) Pass at the M.S. level; (3) Fail. Students who fail to pass at the Ph.D. level will be given the opportunity to obtain an M.S. degree.

Degree Plan

Students are expected to have selected a thesis advisor and the remainder of the advisory committee before Spring semester of the second year.  The student’s advisory committee, in consultation with the students, will develop a proposed degree plan. Degree plans must be approved by the student’s advisory committee and the Ph.D. program director.

Degree plans must be filed through GPS’ online system before the end of Spring semester of second year and at least 90 days prior to the preliminary examination date.  Any petitions to the degree plan must be submitted at least 3 weeks before the proposed date of preliminary exam.

Preliminary Examination

Completing preliminary exam is a university requirement. The preliminary exam for a doctoral student in the Department of Statistics is an oral exam. The format of the exam shall be determined by the student’s advisory committee and communicated to the student in advance of the examination. The student and committee chair should review and complete Preliminary Examination Checklist to verify the student’s eligibility to schedule the preliminary exam. Details are available in  Steps to Fulfill Preliminary Exam from the GPS.

The Ph.D. Dissertation

After successfully completing the course work and the preliminary examination, a period of time is to be devoted to a research topic in either statistical methodology or statistical theory under the guidance of the student’s advisor. The results of this research must be collected in a written dissertation satisfying the guidelines established by the University. The research must constitute an original contribution to the science of statistics and may derive new results in statistical theory or methodology or may be concerned with developing statistical methodology in new areas of application.

Admittance to Candidacy

Prior to students being allowed to take their dissertation defense examination, they must be admitted to candidacy and their current official cumulative and degree plan GPAs must be 3.00 or better. To be admitted to candidacy for a doctoral degree, a student must have:

  • Completed all coursework on the degree plan except any remaining 684 and 691,
  • A 3.0 Graduate GPA and a Degree Plan GPA of at least 3.0 with no grade lower than C in any course on the degree plan,
  • Passed the preliminary examination,
  • Submitted an approved dissertation proposal,
  • Met the residence requirements.

The research proposal and its approval form must be submitted to the GPS at least 20 working days prior to the submission of the Request for the Final Examination.

Final Examination/Dissertation Defense

The dissertation is the major requirement of the Ph.D. degree. Students must complete and pass a final examination by deadline dates announced in the GPS Calendar each semester. The doctoral student is allowed only one opportunity to take the final examination.

The dissertation defense at Texas A&M is public. The request to hold and announce the final examination must be submitted to the GPS a minimum of 10 working days in advance of the scheduled date. The student’s advisory committee will conduct this examination. Details of the final exam procedures are described in Steps to Fulfill Doctoral Degree Requirements from the GPS website.