The most important requirement for the Ph.D. degree is the writing of a satisfactory Ph.D. Dissertation. Your dissertation must be approved, first by the Advisor and then by the entire Dissertation Committee. You and your advisor should be fully aware of all details of the Graduate School requirements for thesis format and submission. (You can also find macros for thesis production at this Graduate School web page). You presents the dissertation research at an oral public final examination (the "defense") and answers questions from the committee.

Dissertation Research & Writing

You should propose the Ph.D. Dissertation Committee as soon as advisor and topic are decided. (Following the Prelim, you have no official committee until a Dissertation committee is approved). Committee membership may be changed at any time, depending on the focus of research and advisory relationships between the student and involved faculty. It is usual that the primary Ph.D. advisor also be the Dissertation Committee Chair (this is not required, but is almost always the case). The Committee membership, governed by Graduate School and departmental requirements, comprises the Statistical Science Advisor/Chair, at least 2 other professors in Statistical Science and 1 professor from another related department or program. Full details are covered in the summary of Graduate School and departmental regulations on Committee membership.

Writing in dissertation format should begin as soon as research begins. Keep detailed written (and graphical, and software) records of all aspects of R&D, and evolve records for talks, future papers and dissertation presentation. You cannot start writing early enough; beyond the discipline and experience of routine writing, you will find that the act of writing, and editing, your work routinely will help to generate new ideas, rediscover old ones, and to identify open questions and the need for more work on aspects of research you thought you had completed.


It is the responsibility of the student and advisor to attend to all end-game details. Key timing issues are:

  • Filing intent to graduate: Graduate School requirement to file intent and the filing deadlines. These deadlines are early in the semester of expected graduation and so need to be attended to several months before planned defense date.
  • Requirements on dissertation format and the timeline for dissertation format checks, approval, submission and post-defense deposit, per the Graduate School policy. Note this needs to be done at least one month before the defense date.
  • The advisor and student should agree that the dissertation is essentially complete, apart from final touches, several weeks prior to defense.
  • The student must submit the electronic version of the thesis online and, once the Graduate School has confirmed the submission, schedule an appointment for the required "Examination Card Interview" at the Graduate School, at least two weeks before scheduled defense; see the Graduate School thesis & dissertation requirements. Once this interview is scheduled, the student must request that his/her advisor send an email or written letter to the Graduate School confirming that the dissertation is complete and ready to defend; this must be sent prior to the interview.
  • A full copy of the thesis must be given to each member of the committee at least one week in advance of the defense, and preferably sooner.
  • After a successful defense, the electronic dissertation submission can be updated with the final thesis if corrections have been made; see the Graduate School requirements on final thesis deposit time limits.
  • All students should submit the Dissertation Form, which provide add the thesis title and link to your Alumni Profile. If you do not see your entry in the alumni page, please contact the DGS assistant. 
  • Join the Statistical Science Alumni Network to keep up with news!

Past Dissertations Catalogue

We maintain a listing of our Ph.D. alumni, along with information regarding their past dissertations. These are viewable and downloadable as a resource for potential Ph.D. applicants, current students and interested researchers worldwide. Each also indicates the current professional affiliation and activities of the Ph.D. alum to provide some details of professional tracks post-graduation.