Revised April 2017. These regulations are effective immediately. For past regulations, see PhD Degree Past Regulations.
- Course Requirements
- Qualifying Examination
- Preliminary Examination
- Breadth Requirements and Procedures
- Graduate School Higher Learning Commission Requirements
For those interested in biostatistics, please also read the Biostatistics Degree Option Regulations.
- Statistics 709 and 710 (Mathematical Statistics)
- Mathematics/Statistics 733 (Measure Theoretic Probability) OR 771 (Stat Computing)
- Statistics 849 and 850 (Statistical Methods and Applications)
- Statistics 998 (Statistical Consulting)
- Eighteen or more elective credits from statistics courses numbered 641, 642, or 700 or higher (with the exception of 609, 610, 699, 709, 710, 849, 850, 990, or 998). If 992 is used to fulfill the elective requirement, a maximum of 9 credits can be counted, with a maximum of three credits on any one topic.If a student takes either 733 or 771 as a required course, then the other of those two may be taken as an elective.
- The following may also be allowed to count towards the 51-credit minimum for the PhD degree:
- Up to six credits of graduate courses in other departments complementary to the student’s interest areas (with permission of the student’s advisor).
- Up to six credits of statistics coursework at the 600-level or above, taken while an undergraduate or special student at UW-Madison, provided that the work was completed no more than ten years prior to admission to the PhD degree (with permission of the student’s advisor). If the work was completed as a special student, students must also pay the difference between special student and graduate tuition.
- Sufficient credits of Statistics 990 to reach the 51-credit minimum.
- If completing the Biostatistics option, 12 credits of the required 18 elective credits must include three credits of Stat 641, six credits from this list: (Stat 642, 741, and 877), and three credits selected from this list: (Genetics 466, Zoology 570, Biocore 303, Population Health 795, or Medical Sciences 622-721).
Breadth requirement (option A, B, or C). Specific requirements can be found in section 5 of this document.
A grade of B or better must be received in any course used to fulfill the required and elective course requirements.
With the approval of the Curriculum and Degree Requirements Committee, up to nine credits of graduate course work taken elsewhere or equivalent material learned elsewhere may be used to fulfill the above requirements. Approval must be requested within the first two semesters of registration as a graduate student in the department.
For information about the Qualifying Exam, please see https://www.stat.wisc.edu/phd-masters/PhD_Exam_Syllabus.
The student must pass an oral preliminary examination on a topic selected with the approval of the student’s advisor. The examination is given by a committee of at least four faculty members appointed by the advisor. Prior to the actual examination, the student must prepare a 15 to 20 page paper outlining the area to be covered. The paper must be written in a clear style with consistent notation. The paper should indicate the scope and depth of the student’s dissertation research, and should be submitted to the committee at least one week prior to the examination.
The examination typically consists of a 20 to 30 minute talk by the student and questions by the committee. The committee may ask questions during and after the talk. The student may consult notes, but is expected to display a mastery of the subject matter as defined by the list of references. The scope of the questions will normally be directed to the subject matter of the paper but may, by natural extension, include any relevant topic. The student’s advisor may not serve as chair of the committee, but does appoint the chair.
At least three weeks before the scheduled Preliminary Examination, students should contact the graduate coordinator, who will request a preliminary warrant from the Graduate School. Upon review, the Graduate School will return the warrant to the Graduate Coordinator for committee members to sign after the examination.
The primary requirement for the PhD degree is the completion of a significant body of original research and the presentation of this research in a dissertation. The research is carried out under the guidance of a member or members of the Department. The candidate must defend the dissertation in a final oral examination.
At least three weeks prior to the final oral examination, the student should contact the graduate coordinator, who will submit a request for a "PhD Final Oral Committee Approval Form” to the Graduate School. Upon review, the Graduate School will return the warrant to the Graduate Coordinator, which will then need to be signed by the Committee and Department Chair following a successful defense.
Students are responsible for ensuring that they meet Graduate School requirements and deadlines: http://grad.wisc.edu/currentstudents/degreedeadlines/ and
(See separate document on Breadth Requirements and Procedures.)
- A PhD degree requires 51 credits (not including audits or pass/fail). [Minimum Graduate Degree Credit Requirement]
- At least 32 of these credits must be taken in-residence at UW-Madison. [Minimum Graduate Residence Credit Requirement]
- Half of the degree course work (26 credits out of 51 total credits) must be completed with a combination of Statistics courses numbered 600 or higher (which our department considers to be graduate courses), and, if doing the Biostatistics option, courses considered graduate courses from other departments used to satisfy the Biostatistics requirements (including, but not limited to, Genetics 466, Zoology 570, Biocore 303, Population Health 795, and Medical Sciences 622-721). [Minimum Graduate Course Work (50%) Requirement]
- With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 9 credits of graduate course work from other institutions toward the graduate degree credit and graduate course work (50%) requirements. Course work earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. [Prior Course Work Requirement]
- With program approval, up to 6 statistics credits from a UW-Madison undergraduate degree at the 600 level or above are allowed to count toward minimum graduate degree credits. Course work earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. [Prior Course Work Requirement]
- With program approval, and payment of the difference between special and graduate tuition, up to 15 statistics credits completed at UW-Madison while a University Special Student at the 300 level or above are allowed to count toward minimum graduate degree and graduate residence credit requirements. Of these credits, those at the 700-level or above may also count toward the minimum graduate course work (50%) requirement. Course work earned ten years or more prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements. [Prior Course Work Requirement]