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IGSP Comprehensive Examination Policy

Ph.D. with Statistics Minor

Approved September, 2005

Doctoral students seeking the minor in Statistics must pass a written comprehensive examination covering topics on one or more Level B courses.  Students may ask the professor(s) in the course(s) to write an exam for them and to administer it at a time and in a fashion agreeable to the student and the faculty member.  The faculty member should advise the student's Statistics Advisor and the IGSP Executive Committee Chair of the outcome of the examination in writing (or via e-mail).

For Doctoral students in Sociology, the Qualifying Exam in Statistics can serve as the Comprehensive Exam for the Statistics minor.  The structure of the Sociology Qualifying Exam is:

Section 1:  Demonstrate competence in survey research design.  (Answer must include method of analysis (adjusting for complex sampling), power analysis for sample size, etc.)

Section 2:  Demonstrate competence in secondary data analysis.  (Answer must demonstrate knowledge of various regression methods, regression diagnostics, etc.)

Section 3:  Demonstrate competence in statistical interpretation.  (These questions always involve multivariate analysis).  

This is a six-hour in-house exam.

M.S. in Statistics

Approved February, 2011

After an M.S. student has completed the required minimum 12 hours in Statistics Department courses (Stat 537, 538, 563, and one other Statistics course) and no later than the first week of the semester of graduation, the student should request that one Statistics Department faculty member serve as Chair of the Comprehensive Exam committee, and that another Statistics or IGSP faculty member serve as the second reader.

The student will then present to the Chair three published articles which use statistical techniques from his or her major field.  Provided that at least one article is acceptable, the Chair will choose one about which to question the student.  The Chair may enlist the assistance of the second reader in choosing the article and preparing the questions. The student will have one week to submit written responses to the questions and can enlist the aid of publications.

The Chair and the second reader will confer and agree as to whether or not the student showed sufficient understanding of the application of statistics to his or her field.  In case the decision is that the student did not pass the examination, a retake may be scheduled for not less than 30 days later.

James Schmidhammer ~ 334 Stokely Management Center ~ Knoxville, TN ~ 37996 - 0525
Phone: 865-974-1735 ~ Fax: 865-974-2490 ~


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Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 | 865-974-1000
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