The Ph.D. degree has several core components designed to ensure well-rounded, scholarly and intellectual development in the student. These include thesis research, residency, course work, a comprehensive examination, departmental colloquia and research seminars, and teaching.
- Course work: All Ph.D. students must complete a full graduate course in statistics, two semesters of Advanced Research Seminars, as well as other courses determined by the student, the supervisor, and the program committee. Courses related to the student's research interests can be taken in other departments at McGill or other local universities.
- Comprehensive Examination: Ph.D. students are required to complete a written literature review from an original perspective and give a one-hour presentation on the topic.
- Thesis: The thesis is the key component of the Ph.D. program. The topic is decided upon through careful consideration of the student, the supervisor and a thesis committee. Steps are taken to ensure that the formulation and acceptance of the proposal, the research conducted and the writing of the thesis, are completed within the time limits specified. The thesis must display original scholarship expressed in good literary form and must be a distinct contribution to knowledge.
- Residency: The minimum residence requirement is two years of full-time study. Normal expectations are for three years full-time residence to complete all requirements. Part-time residence is approved only under special circumstances.
- Department Colloquia and Research Seminars: Ph.D. students are expected to attend departmental colloquia and to participate in departmental research seminars.
Students are given the opportunity to gain teaching experience for courses in their areas of interest, under the supervision of faculty members. There are no formal teaching requirements nor formal assistantships, but modest stipends are available for teaching sections of courses.