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Program Learning Objectives

  • Each student will achieve a mastery of fundamental mathematical and statistical theory and practice, along with current knowledge at a level required for their chosen degree program. Students build this knowledge base by completing a set of required and elective courses, as outlined in a Program of Study agreed upon by a given student and their faculty mentor, and approved by the student’s committee. Appropriate courses in Mathematics and Statistics can be found in USU’s General Catalog. A Program of Study may often include directed readings or independent study courses that help students to focus on their thesis topics, and to better understand current research trends. Advanced courses in other departments may also be approved by the supervisory committee, if such courses provide additional training or insights that support the candidate’s research goals. One important outcome of graduate coursework is that students learn to independently build on their knowledge in their chosen area from the literature and other sources, as needed, for their continued education and professional activities.


  • Each student will pursue a research project in their chosen field of specialization, acquiring professional-level knowledge and expertise within the corresponding area. An appropriate research topic and the appropriate level of accomplishment are determined in collaboration with a faculty mentor, or major professor. A supervisory committee, chaired by the major professor, meets with each MS and PhD student to assess progress in coursework and the research project, and provide guidance and support in setting future goals.

  • Each student will develop professional competence in presenting scientific results and conclusions, in both written and oral form. This is accomplished through (i) presentations to faculty and peers in seminars and at other scientific meetings, (ii) the documentation and dissemination of the results of original research via a written thesis or dissertation, (iii) the submission and publication of these results in scientific journals or other appropriate venues, and (iv) the teaching and administration of departmental courses and recitations for undergraduate students.  

  • The Master’s and PhD degrees both lead to professional expertise and involve a student contributing new knowledge via the thesis or dissertation, and through original scientific publications.  The distinction between MS and PhD degrees is principally the level of professional proficiency obtained, and the breadth and significance of the original research.