Doctoral Program - Courses
Ph.D. students will usually register for 9-10 units in each of the
autumn, winter and spring quarters. Most courses offered by the
department for Ph.D. students are 3 units each, including the core
courses of the first year program. In addition to regular lecture
courses on advanced topics, reading courses in the literature of
probability and the literature of statistics are available each
quarter. Students working on their thesis may register for up to 10
units of directed research in each quarter. Finally, students may
wish to register for selected courses outside the statistics
department, in particular to fulfill the breadth requirement.
Equivalents of Math 113, Math 115; Stats 116, Stats 200; CS 106A.
has shown that before starting the core courses students need to have
active mastery of the material in the prerequisite courses (or their
equivalents at other universities), as demonstrated by very good and
relatively recent grades. Where this background is missing or not
recent, admission to the Ph.D. program will involve designing (with
the first year Ph.D. faculty advisor) an individual program to make up
the necessary courses. This happens fairly often, and if necessary the four year guarantee of support will be extended according to the time needed
to take these courses.
Statistics 300 systematically surveys the ideas of estimation and of
hypothesis testing for parametric and nonparametric models involving
small and large samples.
Statistics 305 is concerned with linear regression and the analysis of
Statistics 306 surveys a large number of modeling techniques,
related to but going well beyond the linear models of 305.
Statistics 310 is a measure-theoretic course in probability theory,
beginning with basic concepts of the law of large numbers, and martingale
Although the content of the first year core courses is specified
by the department, the order in which topics are studied and details
of the presentation are left to the instructor and will vary from year
to year. Unusually well prepared students may place out of Statistics
Students who do not have enough mathematics background can take 310 after their first year but need to have their first-year program approved by the Ph.D. program advisor.
Literature/Work In Progress Course
Stats 319 is a literature course in statistics and probability that is
offered each quarter. The course is generally taken by students in
their second and third years, and may be taken repeatedly. It serves
two connected purposes:
- to expose students to a variety of topics of current research
interest, for example, to help identify dissertation topics. Students
are expected to read a number of articles and to write a short paper
related to the reading that is presented to the class. The paper can
be a synthesis of the reading material, or it may mark the beginning
of research in the area. Reading assignments are made in consultation
with any faculty member, especially the course instructor.
- to fulfill the Work in Progress requirement. Each post-quals and pre-orals
student gives a 50 minute talk once a year. This requirement gives the
student practice in giving and receiving feedback on talk technique,
and keeps the department informed on the student's work. The talk can
be on thesis work in progress, on an ancillary project (consulting, RA
work), or on some papers that the student has been reading lately.
The faculty member responsible for the literature course will (along
with the other students) provide feedback on the talk, and will
provide guidance in topic choice for those students who
The department offers advanced lecture courses on a number of topics
- Asymptotics (Stats 332)
- Bootstrapping (Stats 354)
- Classification and Pattern Recognition (Stats 329A and Stats 329B)
- Decision Theory
- Experimental Design (Stats 340)
- Multivariate Analysis (Stats 324)
- Nonparametrics (Stats 372)
- Sequential Analysis (Stats 326)
- Spatial Statistics (Stats 352)
- Survival Analysis (Stats 338)
- Time Series (Stats 343)
In any given year only a few of these courses will be offered.
See also the Bulletin listing of courses.
These courses are normally taken after the first year and may help
students to find dissertation topics.
Students taking the consulting laboratory, Stats 390, provide a free
consulting service to the Stanford community. Researchers from all
areas of the University drop in to discuss their problems. This
course allows students to assimilate the material from their first
year courses, especially Stats 305/6.
The consulting is done by teams of students, in which inexperienced
students are matched with the experienced. The course is offered each
quarter and may be taken repeatedly. Students are encouraged to
participate in the formulation of the consulting problems and in any
data analysis which may be involved.