Qualifying Exams

Note: The qualifying exam process is still being revised 2019-20.  It currently consists of:

  • Exams in probability (December) and theoretical statistics (May).  Students who do not pass an exam in their first year of study have the option of a retake the following year.
  • Oral exam: scheduled individually for each student, exploring research in an area of interest that might lead to an eventual dissertation topic.
  • 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.  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 627-628).

Below, we describe 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].