Courses for the onsite programs may not be taken online. Onsite courses include those for JPSM MS and PhD programs. 

  • The onsite programs holds classes in a traditional classroom setting on the University of Maryland College Park campus and offers PhD and Master's degree programs in survey and data science.

The Ph.D. in Survey in Data Science is designed for students seeking a career in research or university teaching requiring knowledge of theories and applications in one or more key disciplines. It will equip its graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to create methodologies for the collection and analysis of quantitative data suitable for statistical inference to large populations. The core Ph.D. seminars provide students with exposure to cutting edge research issues in the field. The courses of study designed by the student and the advisory committee will create intellectual bridges between survey methodology and more traditional disciplines with a focus on seeking knowledge to improve surveys. This is a designated STEM program.

Two specialty areas are available to choose from:

  • Statistical Science
  • Social Science

The statistical science area is designed for students who wish to specialize in topics such as sample design, estimation associated with data from complex samples, variance estimation, and statistical adjustments for missing data.

The key components of the Ph.D. program are:

  • An advisory committee that will assist the student in tailoring a program of study permitting the student to demonstrate both theoretical and applied knowledge and skills in the conduct of research in an area of survey methodology.
  • A set of doctoral courses in key areas of survey methodology and statistics as well as in a basic discipline from which survey methodology draws.
  • A qualifying examination in theory and methods of survey methodology.
  • A comprehensive examination to assess whether a student has sufficient knowledge and creativity to complete a dissertation.
  • Completion of a dissertation to demonstrate research skills.

Note: online courses may be used as electives in the JPSM MS and PhD degree programs.  Required courses for those degrees may not be taken online

Qualifier Exam Policy

Comprehensive Exam Policy



The Ph.D. student's advisor is free to shape a schedule of courses tailored to the educational needs and research goals of the student. Courses can be classified in several categories.

All Ph.D. students will be required to take four semesters of the Ph.D. seminar. The Ph.D. seminar will taught by at least two faculty members, one from the statistical science and one from the social science group of the JPSM faculty.

First Year Seminar

This is a two term, six credit introduction to the integration of social science and statistical science approaches to the design, collection, and analysis of surveys. The seminar will focus on six to eight areas of the statistical and methodological literature that have benefited from alternative approaches. Students will demonstrate mastery of those literatures through critical review papers, ideas for extensions of the literature, and empirical projects related to the research reviewed.

Second Year Seminar

This is a two term, six credit seminar designed to develop and hone skills involved in the identification of research problems, specification of hypothesis/theorems to extend current understanding of the field, and planning for original research. A common set of readings in advanced research activities of JPSM faculty will be studied, with the faculty engaged in the research discussing areas of potential innovation. There will be four to six such topics, with students completing technical proposals for future research in each. Students will present the proposals in both written and oral form, and critique proposals.

Advanced Research Seminars

JPSM will also offer doctoral seminars focusing on topics such as longitudinal design, collection, and, analysis, advanced topics in survey statistics, and advanced topics in the social and cognitive foundations of survey measurement.

Courses in Other Departments

Students will also take courses in another department (or in some cases, other departments), as specified by their advisory committee. The departments (e.g., Economics, Psychology, Sociology, and Mathematics) will represent disciplines from which survey statistics and methodology draw. For some students two full years of courses will be required; for others, somewhat less.

Course List

Admission Deadline

For best consideration, please submit completed applications by January 14, 2022. 

Admission Criteria

Applicants for admission to the Ph.D. program should hold a Masters degree with a minimum grade point average of 3.75. Provisional admission status may be granted to candidates with a undergraduate degree with a minimum grade point average of 3.5 and other evidence of outstanding potential.

Qualifying Exam

Qualifying examinations will be given to all students seeking the Ph.D. These will generally be taken by the end of the first year of the student's enrollment in the program. The goal of the examination is to assure that all Ph.D. students share a basic foundation of the interdisciplinary knowledge important to survey methodology. The Ph.D. advisor assigned to the student will provide counsel on what preparations are needed for the individual student prior to taking the qualifying examination.

The qualifying examination will cover the material treated in courses required of both the statistical and social science concentrations of the M.S. in Survey Methodology. In addition, it will cover two specialty content areas: one on statistical theory and methods for those Ph.D. students seeking to specialize in statistical science; one on statistical methods and data analysis for those seeking to specialize in the social sciences.

No course work is required prior to taking the qualifying examinations, although many students may choose to take courses to fill gaps in their backgrounds.

Graduation Requirements

Comprehensive Examination

When the student has completed the planned course of study, the Examination Committee will craft a comprehensive examination tailored to the student's particular course of study. The examination will be a thorough measurement of the student's knowledge in the theories and methods of the chosen area of study.


After successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, the student with the ongoing guidance of the dissertation committee, will propose and conduct dissertation research, leading to an original scholarly contribution. At least twelve credit hours of dissertation research are required. The dissertation will involve the creation of new knowledge in the field of survey methodology, demonstrating that the student has mastered the research skills necessary for a career in advanced research.

Residency Requirement

All PhD students at JPSM must fulfill a residency requirement. This consists of spending at least two days per week at JPSM for a period of three semesters after the student has passed the qualifying exam.

Additional Documents