PhD Program Requirements

This program normally takes 12 academic sessions (four years) to complete. There is a maximum time limit of six years to completion. 

The main requirements you will have to fulfill are:

  • Complete 3.0 full course equivalents (FCEs) – the analog of 6 one semester courses
  • Pass three comprehensive examinations  
  • Complete and successfully defend a thesis that constitutes a significant contribution to the field of the study. 

Students must also satisfy a two-year residency requirement as outlined in the Calendar of the School of Graduate Studies. Direct-Entry PhD students must satisfy a three-year residency requirement.  

Conducting original research is the most important part of doctoral work. Your thesis must constitute significant and original contribution to the field. You will have yearly meetings with a committee of no less than three faculty members to assess your progress.  

The completed thesis must be presented and defended within the Department of Statistical Sciences in addition to being presented and defended at the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). 

Direct-entry students must complete an additional 2.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) at the graduate level, for a total of 5.0 FCEs.  

The additional courses must be approved by the Associate Chair of Graduate studies.

Additional PhD Program Requirements by Field 

We offer PhD programs in three fields:

  • Statistical Theory and Applications
  • Probability
  • Actuarial Science and Mathematical Finance.

Some program requirements depend on which field you are enrolled in.

PhD Fields: Statistical Theory and Applications + Probability

During Year 1, you are required to complete the following 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs): 

  • STA 2111H Probability Theory I
  • STA 2211H Probability Theory II 
  • STA 2101H Methods of Applied Statistics I
  • STA 2201H Methods of Applied Statistics II 
  • STA 3000Y Advanced Theory of Statistics

Comprehensive Examination Requirements:

Within Years 1 and 2, students must complete a two-part comprehensive examination: 1) an in-class written comprehensive exam and 2) a research comprehensive exam.

  • Students must attempt the in-class written comprehensive by the end of Year 1. If a student fails this portion of the comprehensive exam, one further attempt will be allowed by the end of Year 2. Students who achieve A or A+ grades in all required coursework are exempt from the in-class written exam.
  • Students must attempt the research comprehensive exam by the beginning of Year 2, which includes a technical report and an oral presentation. If a student fails this portion of the comprehensive exam, one further attempt will be allowed at the end of Year 2.
  • Students must pass both the in-class written exam and the research exam to continue in the program.
PhD Field: Actuarial Science and Mathematical Finance

During Year 1, you must complete the following 3.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs): 

All of: 

  • STA 2111H Probability Theory I
  • STA 2211H Probability Theory II and 
  • STA 2503H Applied Probability for Mathematical Finance 

One of: 

  • STA 4246H Research Topics in Mathematical Finance or 
  • STA 2501H Mathematical Risk Theory

Either: 

  • STA 3000Y Advanced Theory of Statistics or 
  • STA 2101H Methods of Applied Statistics I and 
  • STA 2201H Methods of Applied Statistics II

Comprehensive Examination Requirements:

Within Years 1 and 2, students must complete a two-part comprehensive examination: 1) an in-class written comprehensive exam and 2) a research comprehensive exam.

  • Students must attempt the in-class written comprehensive by the end of Year 1. If a student fails this portion of the comprehensive exam, one further attempt will be allowed by the end of Year 2. Students who achieve A or A+ grades in all required coursework are exempt from the in-class written exam.
  • Students must attempt the research comprehensive exam by the beginning of Year 2, which includes a technical report and an oral presentation. If a student fails this portion of the comprehensive exam, one further attempt will be allowed at the end of Year 2.
  • Students must pass both the in-class written exam and the research exam to continue in the program.

For more information on program requirements, please visit the School of Graduate Studies calendar 

 

PhD Milestones: Your Program by Year 

For a timeline of your PhD program by year, please have a look at Academic Milestones: PhD Program by Year. 

Our Courses 

Please have a look at our graduate course listings if you’d like to know which courses we are currently offering.  

Graduate Student Handbook  

Check out our Graduate Student Handbook for important information for new and current students.

Questions? 

If you have any questions about requirements for our graduate programs, please reach out to our graduate advisor at grad.statistics@utoronto.ca. See office hours.