Graduate Statistics General Info

Harvard Graduate Statistics Courses Family TreeOur graduates

In our graduate program, we aim to develop statisticians not only for academia, but also ones who will become leaders in endeavors such as medicine, law, finance, technology, government, and industry. Our graduate program is a stepping stone to a successful career in statistics. Our past graduates have an outstanding placement record, having had their choice of careers in academia, banking and financial services, information technology, medical research, economic research and public policy. Several of our past Ph.D. students have made their own marks in the academic world of statistics through development of fundamental statistical methodology.

Our AM program

Our AM program attracts many excellent applicants, some of whom would be strong applicants for a Ph.D. program (at Harvard or elsewhere). Indeed many of the AM students go on to Ph.D. programs after finishing, while others go on to immediately become part of the much-needed workforce meeting demands for statistics in many areas such as in the financial sector, software development, and government agencies. An academic advisor (a faculty member) is assigned to each AM student, depending on his/her background and interests, to provide necessary academic guidance.

Our Ph. D. program

A unique aspect of our Ph.D. program is our integrated and balanced training, covering research, teaching, and career development.

The department encourages research in both theoretical and applied statistics. Faculty members of the department have been leaders in research on a multitude of topics that include statistical inference, statistical computing and Monte-Carlo methods, analysis of missing data, causal inference, stochastic processes, multilevel models, experimental design, network models and the interface of statistics and the social, physical, and biological sciences. A unique feature of the department lies in the fact that apart from methodological research, all the faculty members are also heavily involved in applied research, developing novel methodology that can be applied to a wide array of fields like astrophysics, biology, chemistry, economics, engineering, public policy, sociology, education and many others.

Two carefully designed special courses offered to Ph.D. students form a unique feature of our program. Among these, Stat 303 equips students with the basic skills necessary to teach statistics, as well as to be better overall statistics communicators. Stat 399 equips them with generic skills necessary for problem solving abilities.

Our Ph.D. students often receive substantial guidance from several faculty members, not just from their primary advisors, and in several settings. For example, every Ph.D. candidate who passes the qualifying exam gives a 30 minute presentation each semester (at the Post-Qualifying Talks), in which the faculty ask questions and make comments. The Department recently introduced an award for Best Post-Qualifying Talk (up to two per semester), to further encourage and reward inspired research and presentations.

Courses we offer

The department offers a wide range of courses that provide graduate students with strong foundations in theoretical and applied statistics. Also offered is an array of 300-level seminar courses which are considered stepping stones to literature review and research in specific fields.

Excellence of our Graduate program

As a direct result of the aforementioned pedagogical and related efforts, our department was the recipient from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) of the $25,000 GSAS Dean's Prize for Innovations in Graduate Education. Furthermore, seven years in a row our teaching fellows have won the Derek Bok Award of Excellence in Teaching Undergraduates Students by Graduate Students, in its first seven years of existence (no other department has won more than twice in a row).

The environment

Both Ph.D. and AM students often find the department to be a home away from home, with the help of frequent Chinese lunches, seminars and meals with visiting speakers, workshop-style research seminars, and other events. Indeed, we take special pride in being perhaps the only department, inside and outside of statistics, that has an endowed massage chair for graduate students (the first requested use of the Innovations Prize). The Department also has a big sister/big brother program to help new students get acclimated, especially international students.

Need more information?

For further information about these programs, you can explore this website (see tabs at left). If you have additional questions specifically about admission to the Statistics PhD or AM programs you can email Statistics Staff Assistant, Ali Ba (aliba@fas.harvard.edu). He will forward your inquiries, if necessary, to the Student Coordinator, Alice Moses (amoses@fas.harvard.edu), or the Co-Directors of Graduate Studies, Professors Sam Kou (kou@stat.harvard.edu) and Natesh Pillai (pillai@fas.harvard.edu).

If you have general questions about the application process or the status of your application, the online application tool, submitting forms, GSAS deadlines, or applying to other programs, please contact the GSAS Admissions Office.