In the Ph.D. qualifying examinations, students are expected to demonstrate a broad knowledge of the topics and be able to integrate concepts and explain them at an appropriate level. Prior to conducting dissertation research work, a Ph.D. student must pass two qualifying exams in the areas of (1) Theoretical Statistics and (2) Applied Statistics.
Each academic year, two qualifying exam periods will be scheduled. One is during the preparation week of the fall semester, usually in the middle or the end of August. The other is during the preparation week of the spring semester, usually in the early or middle of January.
Students will be informed to sign up for the August qualifying exams around March/April in spring semester; and to sign up for the January qualifying exams around September/October in fall semester.
The Graduate Coordinator (also the Associate Chair) will form the exam committees and determine the exam schedule. The exam schedule, committee members and samples of past exams are posted to the following link:
Some Tips for Preparing Qualifying Exams:
- Begin studying early!
- If you are planning to take the exam in August, you should begin studying in June. It is by no means overdoing it to be studying for the exam at least 4-6 days a week, full-time.
- If you are planning to take the exam in January, you should begin studying by the beginning of September. During the academic year, plan exam studying into your weekly schedule and treat it like an important job.
- Solve old qualifying exam questions
- Review the old qualifying exams. View old qualifying exams HERE
- Do not just read through the old exams or try to find copies of the solutions. You must work on solving the problems yourself.
- Old qualifying exams will give you an idea of the types of problems asked and the level of problems asked on these exams
- Study with your peers
- This will help provide motivation to study. It will also give you the opportunity to discuss the problems.
- If you have not taken one of the exam courses in a while, ask the instructor of the course if you could sit in on the course
- Sitting in on the course will be useful only if you take it seriously. This means do not only attend the lectures, but also study with the people who are enrolled in the course, and do the homework problems and exam problems.
- Please keep in mind that the instructor of the course likely will not have time to grade your work since you are not enrolled in the course, however, it will still be to your benefit to do the problems.
- Make an appointment with the committee members to find out the topics to be covered for the exam you plan to take
- Be aware that the instructor from whom you took the course may not be the faculty who will prepare the exam that you plan to take. It is important to find out the topics to be covered for the exam from the committee members.
- Working on old exam problems and building a notebook of solutions that you worked out is productive.