PhD in Statistics: Online and Campus-Based Programs

Statisticians are employed in almost every industry, including government agencies. A Ph.D. program in statistics can enhance your career prospects if you are interested in providing research for corporate or government decision-making, or in teaching at the college level. Learn about program prerequisites, typical coursework, and online options. See more about the career outlook for statisticians. Schools offering Mathematics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Are There Any Prerequisites For a Ph.D. in Statistics?

The prerequisites for a Ph.D. in Statistics may differ slightly by school; however, most programs require several semesters of calculus, linear algebra and several mathematical statistics classes. Some courses also require knowledge of computer programming.

Generally, you need a master's degree in statistics to enroll in a Ph.D. in Statistics program, but related fields, such as mathematics or computer science may be acceptable. It's not uncommon for students to lack some of the prerequisite courses before entering a Ph.D. program in statistics. Remedial work can be part of the degree program. This means you might have to take prerequisite courses in the summer, or the program takes longer to complete.

Most Ph.D. programs in statistics require a competitive GRE score. There are also often required comprehensive examinations in methods and theory. Some programs require that you have some experience with statistical packages like SAS or SPSS before entering graduate school.

Admission RequirementsMaster's degree in statistics or related field, strong academic background in mathematics, GRE and comprehensive exam scores
Typical CourseworkApplied statistics, theoretical statistics, Bayesian statistics, probability, multivariate analysis
Online OptionsRare, although some prerequisite classes may be taken online
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 34% growth (for all statisticians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

Required coursework depends on your area of specialization. Most programs include classes in applied and theoretical statistics, as well as probability. You may take classes like:

  • Stochastic processes and models
  • Bayesian statistics
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Statistical consulting
  • Probability theory
  • Theoretical statistics

Can I Get This Degree Online?

There are few, if any, available online statistics programs at the Ph.D. level. You can, however, take some prerequisite courses online. Some of the graduate coursework may be available online, but most Ph.D. programs require on-campus attendance. One reason for this is that many programs require doctoral candidates to teach or perform research.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

Statisticians can be found in nearly every industry since statistical modeling applies to many different subject areas. Decision-making tends to rely heavily on statistics in both industry and government.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job growth rate for statisticians is expected to be 34% from 2016-2026, much faster than the average for all jobs. You'll have the best chance of a job if you have experience in related fields like computer science, engineering or biology. The scientific research and development services field hired about 15% of the statisticians in the United States in 2018. Statisticians earned a mean annual wage of $92,600 in 2018 (

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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