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1 Contents Page Overview Admission Requirements Additional Requirements Sample Timeline Sample Research Proposal Last edited: 8/18/

2 Computational Science and Statistics (CSS) Ph.D. Program Program Information Handbook Overview This document explains the regulations that apply to the Ph.D. program in Computational Science and Statistics (CSS) administered by South Dakota State University s Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The CSS Ph.D. Program is designed to train students to integrate computational and statistical methodologies to formulate, model, analyze, and solve research problems of interest to the natural, physical, and social sciences, including biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, geography/gis, pharmacy, medicine, economics, forensic science, and finance. The program has strong research components in bioinformatics, forensic science, computational methods, mathematics, and statistics, leading to research in diverse fields, many of which combine these basic components in novel ways. Admission Requirements Applicants for the Ph.D. program should have a Master's degree in mathematics, statistics, bioinformatics, computer science, or a closely related field (such as biology, chemistry, or basic biomedical sciences). Applicants from the latter fields should have strong backgrounds in at least two out of the three disciplines of mathematics, statistics, and computer science. All students entering the doctoral program are expected to have a mathematics background up to and including linear algebra and differential equations, an introductory calculus-based undergraduate statistics course, and experience in a computer programming language such as C/C++, Visual Basic, Java, Perl, SAS, or R. Preference will be given to those students with undergraduate mathematics coursework at the level of Real Analysis, and graduate statistics coursework in Regression Analysis and Statistical Inference. Once admitted, the student is expected to complete 60 Credits beyond the Master's degree or 90 Credits beyond the Bachelor's degree. Students should submit an online application to the SDSU Graduate School, and send two letters of recommendation, a CV, and a brief statement of research interests directly to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Applications should be received by March 1 for the Fall semester and November 1 for the Spring semester. Local applications may be accepted after these general deadlines. In addition: An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0-point scale is required for full admission. A TOEFL score of 575 (paper-based), 230 (computer-based), or 90 (internet-based) is required for international students. Note: Admission to the program does not guarantee that financial assistance in the form of a graduate assistantship or fellowship will be available. Subject to faculty approval, those who do not meet all of the criteria above may be admitted on a provisional basis to any departmental graduate program. Last edited: 8/18/

3 Additional Requirements In addition to completing the necessary course work and dissertation, the following requirements apply to Ph.D. students: Each Ph.D. student will be required to pass qualifying examinations, a comprehensive written examination, and a comprehensive oral examination. The two qualifying exams cover the following course sequences: MATH 725 Advanced Calculus I and MATH 741 Measure & Probability STAT 784 Statistical Inference I and STAT 785 Statistical Inference II. The qualifying examinations should be taken either upon entry to the program or at the end of the first year. Passing the MS Mathematics or MS Statistics Comprehensive Exams may eliminate the need to pass the corresponding CSS PhD Qualifying Exam. The written comprehensive examination should be taken before the end of the second year, after completion of most of the course work. The comprehensive written examination will represent material covered in the student s dissertation area. This examination will be topic-oriented instead of course-oriented, and will be assembled by the student s Advisory Committee. Students will be allowed to take each examination twice. Failure on any of these examinations after two trials will result in the student being dropped from the program (unless an exception is granted by the Dean of the Graduate School). The comprehensive oral examination will be given within a month after the successful completion of the comprehensive written examination. This examination will be designed by the student s Advisory Committee and will cover areas of weakness as demonstrated on the comprehensive written examination; in addition it will also serve as the student s dissertation proposal. The Advisory Committee will use the oral exam to determine whether the student has exhibited the necessary training and background to do their dissertation work. A written copy of the dissertation proposal should be submitted to the Committee before the oral comprehensive. (See Appendix A for an example of a dissertation proposal.) Each Ph.D. student must maintain a B average in course work. Failure to maintain a B average will result in a student being placed on probation, and then dropped from the program if the situation is not rectified in a timely manner. Upon completion of the dissertation research, the Ph.D. student is expected to defend the dissertation in an oral presentation which will consist of two parts: one part open to the public, and another with just the student and the Advisory Committee (not open to the public). While the public defense will primarily focus on the dissertation research, the student may be subject to questions from the committee members on all of the student s doctoral work including courses that he/she completed towards requirements. The dissertation committee will be composed of (at least) three committee members chosen by the student and the student s dissertation supervisor, and one representative of the Graduate Faculty (chosen by the Graduate School) from outside the department. Last edited: 8/18/

4 A Sample Timeline for the CSS Program The program is designed to be completed in three years, although students may take longer if necessary. The following timeline specifies the sequence of events for the standard three year progression through the program. Note that throughout your program, you should keep in touch with the Graduate Program Coordinator to make sure you complete paperwork required by the Graduate School in a timely manner. First semester: Take three courses, including starting the sequence(s) for the qualifying exams and the seminar course (CSS 890). Ideally, during this semester you will find the faculty member that you would like to have direct your research. (This faculty will serve as your major advisor.) With the help of your major advisor, choose the members for your committee and request that the Graduate School assign a Graduate Faculty Representative for your committee. Once your Advisory Committee is complete, put together the Plan of Study for your program. Second semester: Take three more courses, including finishing the sequence(s) for your qualifying exams and another seminar course. Begin looking for a dissertation project. (It may be appropriate to register for dissertation credits; make sure your dissertation advisor agrees with this.) If you haven t done so yet, find a faculty member to work with, your committee members chosen, and complete your Plan of Study. During the summer after your first year, take the appropriate Qualifying Exams. These are offered around the second week of August. Third and fourth semester: Complete your coursework, choose a dissertation topic, and begin preliminary dissertation work including preparing your formal dissertation proposal. You will want to register for dissertation credits, including a third seminar course. The courses should be listed on your Plan of Study. By the summer after your fourth semester, take your written comprehensive exam. This will be written and graded by your committee. Upon successful completion of this exam, you will take an oral comprehensive exam before your committee. Part of this exam may involve questions from the committee, but the main portion will be a presentation of your dissertation proposal. Successful completion of the oral comprehensive exam will signal that the committee believes your research plan is sound and worth pursuing. (Remember that, upon completion of the comprehensive exam, you have three years to complete your program. Failure to complete the program within three years after the comprehensive exams will require you to retake those exams.) Fifth and sixth semesters: Sign up for the appropriate number of thesis credits (you need 60 credits total to graduate) and complete your research. During these semesters, be sure to keep your committee informed of your work. Ideally, you should be meeting weekly with your advisor, and with your committee once a month. This isn t a requirement of the department or the Graduate School, but it is in your best interest to keep everyone apprised of what you re doing. You don t want to have committee members finding problems with your research a month before you plan to graduate. During the semester you plan to graduate, be sure to let the Graduate School know. (The deadline is usually around the third week of the semester.) Towards the end of your final semester, schedule your thesis defense with your committee. After a successful defense, be sure to make any changes (if required) that the committee suggests. Once that is done, upload your final thesis to d2l. Last edited: 8/18/

5 Appendix A: Sample Research Proposal Last edited: 8/18/

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