Doctoral Program - Financial Support

Students accepted to the PhD program are offered financial support. All tuition expenses are paid and there is a fixed monthly stipend determined to be sufficient to pay living expenses. Financial support can be continued for five years, department resources permitting, for students in good standing.

The resources for student financial support derive from funds made available for student teaching and research assistantships. Students receive both a teaching and research assignment each quarter which, together, do not exceed 20 hours.

Students are strongly encouraged to apply for outside scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial support. Students with outside support enable the department to stretch its own resources. Full fellowships are supplemented by the department up to the current Stanford Graduate Fellowship rate (details at link below). Students with outside support may have fewer teaching and research assistantship duties.

Interdisciplinary training: Due to a generous grant from the National Science Foundation, the department has funds available to support students interested in acquiring a training in statistics with an orientation towards interdisciplinary work. The many joint appointments and co-operative research activities of our faculty provide students with ample opportunity to become involved in such interdisciplinary work.

Stanford Graduate Fellowships (SGF): A prestigious program begun in 1996, these fellowships are awarded by the University to selected applicants nominated by departments, and are roughly comparable in benefits to National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships. Both international and U.S. applicants may be nominated by the department for Stanford Graduate Fellowships. There is no application or request process for these awards. 

Teaching Assistantships

As part of the doctoral program students are expected to act as teaching assistants. Duties typically involve assisting a professor with grading of homework problems and/or conducting weekly tutorial section meetings for elementary and intermediate statistics courses. In later years students may be assistants for advanced courses. Each quarter students are asked to list preferences for TA assignments, which are accommodated where possible. Tutorial section meetings provide students an opportunity to develop teaching skills. Our Teaching Assistants Resources section contains advice about many aspects of TA work.

Documented teaching experience is an important factor in many post-Ph.D. job searches. Through course and TA evaluations students are offered the opportunity to build evidence of their teaching skills.

Occasionally the opportunity arises for a student to take charge of an entire course, including lectures; if several students express interest in the position, usually the choice will be based on previous experience.

Research Assistantships

All PhD students, except those with external financial support, will have RA assignments with duties that may vary substantially from quarter to quarter and from project to project. First year students will have very light assignments. RA assignments will not exceed 10 hours per week and on average are much less. Once students have embarked on their own research, it is common for this research to take the place of other RA assignments.

Summer Quarters

Stanford is on the quarter system. The autumn, winter and spring quarters, each lasting about 11 weeks, are the principal academic quarters. The summer quarter lasts eight weeks. In the Statistics Department, except for the first summer, students are not required to enroll at Stanford or be on campus during summer quarters, though many students choose to do so. The department maintains an active summer program of seminars, lectures, and courses.

Students receiving financial support during the summer are required to enroll, and may register for regular coursework or independent research in or out of the department. First year students enroll for Stats 302, Qualifying Exams Workshop, in preparation for the late August exams.

Stanford is not in session from mid-August to the end of September, although research activities continue and students may remain in their university housing.