Ph.D. Program

The vice chair for graduate studies is the chief graduate adviser and heads a committee of faculty advisers who may serve as academic advisers. The research interests of the members of this committee span most of the major areas of statistics. During their first quarter in the program students are required to meet with an academic adviser who assists them in planning a reasonable course of study. In addition, the academic adviser is responsible for monitoring the student’s degree progress and approving the study list each quarter. Students are encouraged to begin thinking about their research interests as early as possible. After the student identifies a dissertation topic, the chair of the dissertation committee becomes the student’s academic adviser.

Continuing students should meet with either the vice chair for graduate studies or their academic adviser at least once each quarter and a record of this interview is placed in the student’s academic file. Each fall a committee consisting of all regular departmental faculty meet to evaluate the progress of all enrolled doctoral students. This committee decides if students are making satisfactory progress, and if not offers specific recommendations to correct the situation. For students who have begun dissertation work, the determination of satisfactory progress is typically delegated to the academic adviser. Students who are found to be consistently performing unsatisfactorily may be recommended for termination by a vote of this committee. Doctoral students normally are considered to be making satisfactory progress if they take the written qualifying examination in the summer following their first year of study and the University Oral Qualifying Examination by the end of their second year.

Major Fields or Sub-disciplines
The strengths of current and prospective faculty dictate the specific fields of emphasis in the department: applied multivariate analysis; bioinformatics (Center for Statistical Research in Computational Biology); computational and computer-intensive statistics; computer vision; cognition; artificial intelligence; machine learning (Center for Vision, Cognition, Learning, and Autonomy); social statistics (Center for Social Statistics); experimental design and environmental statistics.

Foreign Language Requirement

Course Requirements
Students are required to pass, with a grade of B- or better, 54 units of approved graduate coursework and to maintain an overall grade-point average of 3.0 or better. At least 40 of these units must be in courses from this department; the remaining units may be from courses in related departments. Students are strongly encouraged to take Statistics 200A-200B-200C, 201A-201B-201C, and 202A-202B-202C. All doctoral students are required to take Statistics 290 during each quarter of enrollment. In addition, all doctoral students can take Statistics 296 and/or 596, 598 or 599 as needed. Please note that up to eight units of Statistics 596 can be counted toward the 40 units from our department. Stats 290, 296 and 599 are not counted.

Students with gaps in their previous training are allowed to take, with the approval of their academic adviser, undergraduate courses offered by the department. However, Statistics 100A-100B-100C, 101A-101B-101C and 102A-102B-102C may not be applied toward course requirements for a graduate degree in the department. Students who need a basic refresher course are encouraged to take Statistics 100A-100B-100C.

Teaching Experience
Students are required to complete at least one quarter of service as a teaching assistant for a minimum of 25% time appointment. Students who serve as teaching assistants in the department must have taken or be currently enrolled in Statistics 495A-495B-495C. International students for whom English is a second language must pass either the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or the UCLA Test of Oral Proficiency (TOP) in English before they may serve as teaching assistants.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations
Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass university written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations, the University Oral Qualifying Examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to university requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.

All committee nominations and reconstitutions adhere to the Minimum Standards for Doctoral Committee Constitution.

The written qualifying examination consists of a high-quality paper, solely authorized by the student. This paper can be a research paper containing an original contribution, or a focused critical survey paper. The paper should demonstrate that the student understands and can integrate and communicate ideas clearly and concisely. The paper should be approximately 10 pages, single-spaced, and the style should be suitable for submission to a first-rate journal or technical conference. Any contributions that are not the student’s, including those of the student’s adviser, must be explicitly acknowledged in detail.

After passing the written qualifying examination, students select a doctoral committee that administers the University Oral Qualifying Examination, required for advancement to candidacy. Students are encouraged to begin thinking about their research interests as early as possible and to seek out faculty members who might serve on their doctoral committee. Students making satisfactory progress are expected to take the written qualifying examination in the summer following their first year of study and the University Oral Qualifying Examination by the end of their second year.

Advancement to Candidacy
Students are advanced to candidacy and awarded the Candidate in Philosophy (C.Phil.) degree upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Doctoral Dissertation
Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student’s ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of the Dissertation)
Required for all students in the program. Please see the Advice on Taking the Oral Exam for more information.

Students are expected to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree within six quarters of full-time work. Completion of all degree requirements (including the dissertation) normally takes 15 quarters. The maximum time to degree is 24 quarters.

Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination

University Policy

A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.

Special Departmental or Program Policy for the Ph.D. Program

A student who does not advance to doctoral candidacy within six quarters of full-time study is subject to a recommendation for termination. The graduate vice chair informs a student of such a recommendation and the student is asked to submit a written appeal and to solicit letters of support from members of the faculty. The appeal is considered by the Graduate Studies Committee, which makes the final departmental decision.

Timeline to Filing Your Dissertation

  1. By Fall of your 2nd year, choose your Faculty Adviser and discuss with your faculty adviser who will be on your committee.
  2. Complete and submit the Nomination of Doctoral Committee Form at least one month before you take your orals.
  3. Contact Student Affairs to schedule a time and date to take your orals. Confirm the time and date with your committee.
  4. Your Adviser will let you know when you are ready to take your final orals and submit your dissertation online. When that time comes, arrange time, date and location with the student affairs office.
  5. If you still need more time and after you’ve advanced choose to do a Filing Fee instead please read this website carefully:
  6. You must also complete the Filing Fee application found here:
  7. Important dates and workshops are found here:
  8. Should you choose the Filing Fee for a specific quarter, you must be registered and enrolled the quarter before AND you must submit a complete first draft of your dissertation to all committee members at the time you submit your filing fee application (in order to apply the filing fee, students must be registered and enrolled in at least 2 units the quarter before).

Faculty Research Interest
See the faculty directory listing for current members and their interests at