Doctoral Program in Statistics to Advance Research in Health Care and Technology

Nov. 1, 2012

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin’s newest Ph.D. program in statistics was unanimously approved recently by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The program, managed by the College of Natural SciencesDivision of Statistics + Scientific Computation, will provide doctoral students with rigorous training in advanced statistical methods and first-hand experience applying and developing such methods to analyze complex data in diverse fields.

“In the 21st century, data has become the key to advancing science, medicine, technology, society and commerce,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, professor and director of the division. “By developing powerful methods for analyzing genomic, social networking and economic data, statisticians are helping to cure cancer, improve human welfare and connect the globe. We are equipping students at all levels to transform data into knowledge and progress.”

The statistics Ph.D. program is the third doctoral program in statistics among Texas public universities.

“This is an important milestone for our statistics program and for The University of Texas at Austin, and I am thrilled to have this new doctoral program in the college,” said Linda Hicke, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “Statistics are fundamental to scientific progress, public policy and decision-making. The doctoral program promises to provide new innovations and insights as graduate students work together with faculty to create new knowledge in this field.”

The doctoral program will emphasize probability models and modern computational statistical tools. It will also require that students delve deeply into application areas including economics, biology, engineering, computer science, psychology, neuroscience and education through formal coursework and dissertation research.

“The program is very likely to become nationally recognized within a few years of establishment,” said Robert E. Kass, a statistics professor at Carnegie Mellon University and external reviewer of the program. “Its key strength is the superior quality of the faculty, together with the outstanding research environment in the College of Natural Sciences and the whole of UT Austin.”

The Division of Statistics + Scientific Computation is home to world-class, award-winning faculty members with expertise in Bayesian methods and machine learning who are advancing discoveries in diverse fields such as cancer genomics, financial markets, forecasting infectious diseases, neuroscience, and disease diagnostics. The division was founded in 2008 and has grown to be the hub of statistical activities for The University of Texas at Austin through its course offerings, graduate and undergraduate programs, consulting services, lecture series and annual Summer Statistics Institute. It also offers a master’s degree in statistics, a graduate portfolio and an undergraduate certificate in applied statistical modeling.

Applicants interested in the new Ph.D. program should visit the program website to learn more or call 512-232-0693.

For more information, contact: Lee Clippard, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 512-232-0104; Vicki Keller, Division of Statistics + Scientific Computation, 512-232-0679, vicki.keller@cns.utexas.edu