PhD In Statistics

The PhD program provides training in theory and applications and is suitable for both full-time and part-time students. Most of the graduate courses are scheduled for early evening times to accommodate students with full-time employment.

Information about careers in statistics can be found at the American Statistical Association website. It contains a detailed description of what statisticians do and what career opportunities are available.

For a full list of the courses available, visit the Registrar Website and for a complete textbook list visit the Spring 2014 Statistics Courses Page.

Admission Prerequisites

Prerequisite: A master's degree in statistics or a related discipline. The main requirement is a strong background in mathematics, including courses in advanced calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical statistics (similar to Stat 6201-2). Some deficiencies may be made up concurrently during the student's first year. In some instances, a student may enter the PhD program with a bachelor's degree.

Degree Requirements

Required: The general requirements stated under Columbian School of Arts and Sciences. The degree requires completion of 72 credit hours, of which at least 48 must be from course work, and at least 12 must be from dissertation research (Stat 8999). Up to 24 credit hours may be transferred from a prior Masters degree. The degree must be completed in 8 years. The degree requires satisfactory completion of:

  • Stat 6201, 6202, 6223, 8257, 8258, 8263, 8264, and at least two courses chosen from among Stat 6218, 8226, 8259, 8262, 8265, 8273, 8274, and 8281.
  • A minimum of 21 additional credit hours as determined by consultation with the departmental doctoral committee.
  • The General Examination, consisting of two parts:                                                                                                                                              
    • A) a written qualifying examination that must be taken within 24 months from the date of enrollment in the program and is based on the STAT 6201, 6202, 8257, 8263;               and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
    • B) an examination to determine the student's readiness to carry out the proposed dissertation research.
  • A dissertation demonstrating the candidate's ability to do original research in one area of probability or statistics.

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative grade average of B (3.0) in all course work.

Descriptions of all Statistics courses can be found here.

Qualifying Examination

Each Ph.D. candidate is required to take and pass the PhD Qualifying Exam. The exam is given at the beginning of the Fall semesters each year. It consists of two papers:

  • Inference: Stat 6202, 8263
  • Probability: Stat 6201, 8257

No more than two attempts are permitted. Please see the graduate bulletin for more information.

Readiness Examination

After passing the Qualifying Examination, the candidate should select a dissertation advisor. In consultation with the advisor, the candidate should pass a readiness examination, usually consisting of a research proposal and an oral examination. A committee of at least two professors should administer the examination.


Students are required to complete a written dissertation that should be defended before an examination committee of at least four examiners. The dissertation should contain original scholarly research and must comply with all other GW rules and regulations.


Information about application, admission, and deadlines can be found at the Columbian College website. Some efforts are made to accept and review late applications.


Students in their first semester of the program must meet with the PhD program director prior to signing up for classes. Students are suggested to continue to seek advice throughout their time in the program. Students should also meet with the PhD program director if there is any question of whether their course work may be applied towards the degree. Professor Feifang Hu is the PhD Program Director. He can be reached at

Additional Information

The Graduate Student Services website provides links to a wide range of services for graduate students such as academic links, financial information, libraries, computer services, registrar, student services and graduation.

"I’m now continuing my statistical training in graduate school at UC Berkeley in biostatistics. I also do medical and statistical research for a non-profit dedicated to fighting liver cancer. A statistics major gives you boundless opportunities in the sciences and would be incredibly useful to any student interested in medical research."

Sherri Rose Weinstein, Statistics Major 2005, PhD student in Biostatistics at UC Berkeley

Apply Now

Request For Information