Qualifying Exams

Note: The qualifying exam process may be revised during academic year 2017-18.  This page describes the past qualifying process.

The course work prepares students for the Ph.D. qualifying examination, which consists of three parts:

  • Practical Exam: a written report on an analysis of a data set. Held during a five day period in December, following the end of classes.
  • Theory Exam: a written paper on theoretical statistics. A one-day exam (9:00 am – 4:00 pm) held in May of the first year. Students who do not pass the exam have the option of a retake in May of the following year.
  • Oral Exam: held shortly after completion of the Theory Exam.

All parts of the qualifying examination must be competed before beginning the third year.

  • The theory qualifying exam is usually based on a combination of advanced undergraduate material (as covered in Stat 241, 242, and 251/551) and graduate material at the level of Stat 600, 610, and 612.
  • For the practical qualifying exam, students are expected to be comfortable with R, and have had experience at working with real data. Most students gain that experience from a combination of Stat 661, 625 and participation in the statistical consulting clinic (Stat 627).
  • A typical theory exam. [Look at copies of other old exams.Yale login required].