Department of Statistics
Carnegie Mellon University
Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Joint Ph.D. Program in Statistics and Public Policy

The Department of Statistics offers a joint program in collaboration with the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management leading to a Ph.D. in Statistics and Public Policy. This five-year program provides students with comprehensive preparation at the Ph.D. level in both statistics and public policy. The curriculum draws on existing courses in both Statistics and the H. John Heinz III College, recognizing that selected courses can meet, simultaneously, the usually-separate objectives of the Ph.D. programs in Statistics and Public Policy.

Critical to the success of the joint program is the close collaboration among faculty members in Statistics and the H. John Heinz III College. While students will have separate faculty advisors in Statistics and in the H. John Heinz III College, their progress will be regularly assessed by a joint group of faculty.

The actual curriculum for any given student will be tailored to his or her interests and needs but the general strategy is similar: to meld the two sets of Ph.D. requirements into a coherent and useful set of courses, with similar core items. The first four semesters cover the main courses for the Ph.D. in Statistics while simultaneously introducing the student to the core disciplines of the H. John Heinz III College. In the fourth semester, students begin work on the second Heinz research paper, which also satisfies the Advanced Data Analysis (ADA) requirement in Statistics.

Typical Five-Year Curriculum for the PhD Program in Statistics and Public Policy

Time Fall Semester Spring Semester
Year 1
  • 90-901 : Ph.D. Seminar I
  • 90-908 : Microeconomics
  • 36-699 : Immigration to Statistics
  • 36-705 : Intermediate Statistics
  • 36-707 : Applied Regression Analysis
  • 90-902 : Ph.D. Seminar II
  • Heinz : Work on First Paper
  • 36-752 : Advanced Probability Overview
  • Statistics : Elective
Summer of Year 1
  • 36-711 : Statistical Computing
Year 2
  • 90-907 : Econometric Theory and Methods
  • 90-918 : Ph.D. Seminar III
  • Heinz : Complete First Paper
  • 36-755 : Advanced Statistics
  • Heinz : Elective
  • Heinz : Work on Second Paper*
  • 36-757 : Advanced Data Analysis I*
  • Statistics : Elective
Summer of Year 2
  • Work on ADA/Second Heinz Paper
Year 3
  • Heinz : Elective
  • Heinz : Complete Second Paper*
  • 36-758 : Advanced Data Analysis II*
  • Statistics : Elective
    After Semester 5
    • One Ph.D.-level Seminar per Semester and Dissertation Research

    (*) See the outline of the Ph.D. in Statistics for a description of the ADA Project. Students in the joint program in Statistics and Public Policy will combine the ADA project with a H. John Heinz III College research paper.

    The Ph.D. dissertation research topic for a student in the joint program should deal with material of interest and relevance to both faculties, and the dissertation will thus be supervised jointly by a member from Statistics and Heinz. If the research is methodological in orientation it should have clear and demonstrable policy applications. If the thesis is primarily empirical and focused on a policy problem, the statistical analyses should be exemplary, meeting the standards of the Department of Statisitics.

    There will only be a single thesis proposal and thesis defense. These will involve presentations to a joint group of faculty and students from the two separate programs, and the basic rules will resemble closely those used for Statistics proposals and dissertations.

    If you are interested in this program, please indicate this on your application form. The Statistics Department and the H. John Heinz III College will coordinate review of your application.