- Program and Requirements for the PhD
- Interdisciplinary Theses
- Consulting and Computation
- Statistics and Computational Mathematics throughout the University
A student applying to the PhD program normally should have taken courses in advanced calculus, linear algebra, probability, and statistics. Additional courses in mathematics, especially a course in real analysis, will be helpful. Some facility with computer programming is expected. Students who have not taken courses in all of these areas, however, should not be discouraged from applying, especially if they have a substantial background, through study or experience, in some area of science or other discipline involving quantitative reasoning and empirical investigation. Statistics is an empirical and interdisciplinary field, therefore a strong background in some area of potential application of statistics is a considerable asset. Indeed, a student's background in mathematics and in science or another quantitative discipline is more important than his or her background in statistics in determining the ability of the student to do statistical research.
Degree requirements for the PhD program are enumerated in the web page, "PhD Program, Academic Progress and Deadlines." This web page lays out the normal progression of course work, selection of research advisor and dissertation committee, dissertation proposal, and dissertation defense. Exceptions can be made, especially for students who choose to work in interdisciplinary areas; however, substantial deviations from the degree requirements can be made only with the approval of the Department's Graduate Advisor.
Most students receiving a doctorate proceed to faculty or postdoctoral appointments in research universities. A substantial number take positions in government or industry, such as in research groups in the government labs, in communications, in commercial pharmaceutical companies, and in banking/financial institutions. The department has an excellent track record in placing new PhDs.
Many of our students choose to pursue research combining statistics and computation with another area of scientific research, such as genetics, neuroscience, health studies, environmental science, or social science. Students who choose to write an interdisciplinary thesis can work with a thesis advisor from another department as long as the two other committee members are from the Statistics Department.
The department operates a consulting program under the guidance of the faculty, of service mainly to students and faculty throughout the University. All degree candidates in Statistics are expected to participate in the consulting program, usually by working in one or more teams devoted to particular consulting projects. An informal seminar meets regularly to provide a forum for presenting and discussing problems, solutions, and topics in statistical consultation. Students present interesting or difficult consulting problems to the seminar as a way of stimulating wider consideration of the problem and developing familiarity with the kinds of problems and lines of attack that are involved. Often the consultee will participate in the presentation and discussion.
Almost all departmental activities and facilities—classes, seminars, computing equipment, and student and faculty offices—are located in Jones Laboratory. Each PhD student is assigned a desk in one of several offices. Conference rooms are used as common meeting places for formal and informal gatherings of students and faculty. The major computing facilities of the department are based upon a network of PCs running mainly Linux.
Part of every statistician's job is to evaluate the work of others and to communicate knowledge, experience, and insights. Every statistician is, to some extent, an educator, and we provide our graduate students with training and experience for this aspect of their professional lives. We expect all doctoral students, regardless of their professional objectives and sources of financial support, to participate in undergraduate and graduate instruction, first as teaching assistants and, later, as lecturers with responsibility for an entire course.
In addition to the courses, seminars, and programs in the Department of Statistics, courses and workshops with strong connections to statistics and computational mathematics occur throughout the University, most notably in Human Genetics, Computational Neuroscience, Health Studies, Economics, the Computation in Science Seminar, Computer Science, the Toyota Technical Institute, the Statistics and Econometrics program at the Booth School, the Financial Mathematics program, and NORC (formerly the National Opinion Research Center).
See http://graduateannouncements.uchicago.edu/graduate/departmentofstatistics/#courseinventory for a listing of all courses offered by our department.