I. About a Ph.D.
- What is the degree?
- Why would I be interested in a Ph.D. in Applied Statistics: Biostatistics?
- What is the demand for graduates with a doctoral degree in this area?
II. The Program
- What areas of study are offered?
- What will I be expected to do?
- What are the main requirements of the Ph.D. program?
- Will I need any other special preparation?
- How long will the program take?
- Is this a full-time or part-time program?
- As a Ph.D. student, who will advise me?
- Are Ph.D. students required to teach?
- What is the research requirement of the Ph.D. program?
- What can I expect when I finish?
III. Admission to the Program
- How do I apply?
- Is there a separate application form for financial assistance?
- Will test scores be required of applicants?
- What information does the Admissions Committee/Financial Assistance Committee need to make decisions?
- What are the key factors on which admissions are based, and who decides?
- Do you accept applications for the spring semester?
- When are admission decisions made?
- I am completing an undergraduate degree. Am I eligible to apply?
IV. Costs and Financial Aid
- Is there support for doctoral students?
- Can I talk to someone about all of this?
Q1: What is the degree?
Students in this program will be working toward a Ph.D. degree in Applied Statistics. This is a standard requirement for a faculty position in an academic institution as well as in several private and government research organizations.
Q2: Why would I be interested in a Ph.D. in Applied Statistics?
A Ph.D. in Applied Statistics is a requirement for a professional career at an academic institution. The program is aimed at preparing individuals who want to become university professors to be successful in the areas of teaching, research, and service typically required of faculty. The program also aims at preparing individuals for research positions in private industry or government agencies. Places of employment for a prospective Ph.D. Applied Statistician include health and science centers, pharmaceutical and financial industries, the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, National Cancer Research Institute and the Census Bureau.
Q3: What is the demand for graduates with a doctoral degree in this area?
II. The Program
There is a growing national and state demand for individuals with doctoral training in the areas of biostatistics and bioinformatics. Statistical methods are ubiquitous and used in the social, physical, and biomedical sciences and in business to process information to assist decision making. In this age of advanced technology, there is an increasing demand for individuals with the expertise in designing experiments and analyzing large complex data sets via the latest advances in computing. In particular, there is a real need for professionals with a Ph.D. degree in Applied Statistics. Statisticians are in high demand in the growing biomedical field to develop methods for evaluating the efficacy and safety of new medications/drugs, surgeries, and other treatment and in the cutting edge research of Bioinformatics to assess such topics or protocols as gene therapy, genomics research, aging and many other newly developed issues. There is also an increasing demand for Ph.D. Applied Statisticians in academic institutions. These positions require extensive, specialized education and training. The "job" of being a faculty member at a University requires a great deal of interaction with students and other faculty. It requires being a role model, and it provides genuine opportunities every day to shape a better society.
Q1: What areas of study are offered?
UTSA's Ph.D. in Applied Statistics presently includes a concentration in Biostatistics. In addition to conducting research in applied statistics, the students will gain valuable experience working on real projects under close supervision of faculty from UTSA as well as from the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Q2: What will I be expected to do?
Your role will change as your move through the program. Initially you will have the role of a student. This role will require you to attend classes and learn advanced theory and tools necessary for conducting research. You will also have the role of apprentice where you will work closely with faculty members on teaching, consulting and research. You will apprentice as a teacher by being a teaching assistant and, most likely eventually, you will be responsible for teaching classes by yourself. You will gain the experience of practical consulting by working on various projects where you will learn important aspects of consulting including data collection, data analysis and report writing. You will also apprentice as a researcher. Learning how to conduct research is an important part of the training for doctoral students. You will work closely under the direction of a faculty member. You will conduct original research that will be the basis for your dissertation.
Q3: What are the main requirements of the Ph.D. program?
During the first two years, students take courses to acquire foundations in advanced statistical methodology and enrich their background in the chosen area of concentration. Upon completion of the coursework students take a comprehensive examination demonstrating understanding of basic statistical theory and depth in their area of specialization. A student formally enters "candidacy" by passing the comprehensive examination. A student then defends a dissertation proposal, completes the research required for the dissertation and defends the dissertation before one's dissertation committee.
Q4: Will I need any other special preparation?
In addition to satisfying the university-wide graduate admission requirements, a B.A., B.S., M.A. or M.S. in mathematics, statistics, or a closely related field is required. A student must have completed a core of graduate classes or their equivalents including: Linear Algebra and Matrix Theory, Real Analysis, Data Analysis with Statistical Software, Mathematical Statistics I and II, and Linear Models. Applications that do not meet these standards will be reviewed on an individual basis.
Q5: How long will the program take?
Most students will need an average of 4 to 5 years to complete the program. The course work generally takes two years to complete. Also, it usually takes another year to pass comprehensive exams, to develop a dissertation topic and to defend a dissertation proposal. The final years are typically spent doing the dissertation research.
Q6: Is this a full-time or part-time program?
This program will admit full-time as well as part-time students. Full-time students will normally be expected to enroll for nine hours each long semester, and three hours in the summer semester while part-time students are expected to enroll for a minimum of three credit hours each semester. Most courses will be offered during the evening. Ph.D. full-time students normally serve as either a teaching assistant or research assistant throughout the program. These experiences are an important part of the training and overall doctoral experience.
Q7: As a Ph.D. student, who will advise me?
When you are offered admission to the program your letter of admission will identify a faculty member who will serve as your initial advisor when you enter the program. This obligates neither you nor the faculty member for a four-year period of supervision; as your interests and research agenda develop toward the preparation of a dissertation proposal, it is certainly possible that a different faculty member will emerge as the appropriate advisor for your dissertation research. With the help of your initial advisor you will put together a program committee of faculty who will advise you regarding your coursework.
Q8: Are Ph.D. students required to teach?
Teaching is an important part of the role of being an applied statistician. All Ph.D. students will have the opportunity and be encouraged to teach before completing the program. Students typically serve initially as faculty research assistants, but also are called on to assist faculty members in teaching certain courses. Students receiving stipends will probably teach an undergraduate course in the College of Business at some time during their doctoral experience. Gaining teaching experience is important for developing an overall portfolio, especially for the academic job market.
Q9: What is the research requirement of the Ph.D. program?
Research is carried out while students are taking formal coursework and during the summers. As research assistants, students are involved with faculty in joint research activities and pursue their own research objectives under faculty supervision. These activities should lead to authoring or co-authoring papers presented at academic meetings and possibly submitted for publication by the time the student is ready for dissertation research. (To compete successfully in the job market, students should give high priority to presenting papers at meetings and publications while in the program?)
Q10: What can I expect when I finish?
III. Admission to the Program
When you finish you should be well prepared to enter a professional career in higher education as an Assistant Professor in an academic institution or as an Applied Statistician in a private/government research organization. You can expect the faculty whom you have worked at UTSA to assist you in finding a suitable position.
Q1: How do I apply?
See the Application Procedures and Requirements web page.
Q2: Is there a separate application form for financial assistance?
There is no separate application form for financial assistance. The application for admission to graduate study in the UTSA Department of Management Science and Statistics also serves as the application for financial assistance.
Q3: Will test scores be required of applicants?
Yes. Applicants will be required to submit recent GRE scores (not more than five years old). If you do not have recent scores you should make arrangements to take the GRE. Click on this site for information: http://www.gre.org. If you are a foreign student whose native language is not English, you are required to submit recent scores in TOEFL or IELTS. A minimum score of 550 in TOEFL or 6.5 in IELTS is required for admission in this program.
Q4: What information does the Admissions Committee/Financial Assistance Committee need to make decisions?
To evaluate your application, the committees need your credentials with the following information:
- Official transcripts and records for all previous university course work.
- Three letters of recommendation.
- Photocopies of GRE and TOEFL (if applicable) scores.
- Completed application forms.
Q5: What are the key factors on which admissions are based, and who decides?
Admissions are based on undergraduate and graduate transcripts, scores on standardized tests, and recommendations from former professors or employers who can speak to your ability to do doctoral-level work at UTSA. A major factor is the statement of purpose that the candidate provides in the application. We are looking for evidence that the applicant understands the specific nature of the program to which he or she is applying, can articulate scholarly intentions that fit with the research interests of the current faculty, and is academically prepared to undertake the demands of the program with a high likelihood of success. The statement of purpose is perhaps the most important part of an application. Applications from individuals with fine academic credentials who cannot construct a clear, persuasive, well-written statement of purpose will likely be rejected. Thus, outstanding grades and test scores are important for admission but they are not sufficient.
Applications are reviewed by the faculty of the Department of Management Science and Statistics. The final decision is made by the Department Doctoral Studies Committee.
Q6: Do you accept applications for the spring semester?
No. We usually accept applications for the fall semester of each year. Exceptions can be made in the case of an outstanding candidate.
Q7: When are admission decisions made?
Admission decisions will be made in March. Exceptionally qualified candidates may be considered even earlier.
Q8: I am completing an undergraduate degree. Am I eligible to apply?
IV. Costs and Financial Aid
No. An MS in Mathematics, Statistics or a related field is a necessary qualification to apply for this program.
Q1: Is there support for doctoral students?
Full-time students admitted to the Ph.D. program are usually awarded fellowships that include a waiver of tuition and a stipend to help cover living expenses. The stipend is likely to vary but could be in an amount up to $22,000 annually. These stipends carry with them the expectation that the student will work 20 hours a week in either a research or teaching assistantship.
Q2: Can I talk to someone about all of this?
Yes. You can contact the Office of Graduate Studies. Ph.D. Program representatives will be happy to answer your questions or direct you to someone who can address your specific concerns.
Office of Graduate Studies
College of Business
The University of Texas at San Antonio
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249-0631