How much math is required for a PhD?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by mattbrent, Sep 10, 2013.

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  1. mattbrent

    mattbrent New Member

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    Happy Tuesday, folks!

    As I move closer and closer towards starting a PhD program in Higher Ed Admin, I've started wondering about math requirements. Waaaaaay back in undergrad I took a bunch of calculus and a semester of stats. That was more than a decade ago, though. I know most programs have quantitative and qualitative research classes, so I'm wondering if the necessary math is covered in the quantitative class. If not, does anyone have a recommendation for how much math or stats would be required for a typical PhD program?

    My college recently updated its employee benefits, and now I can take a community college class for free for whatever reason I want. I figured if I needed to refresh my stats, I could take one of our stats classes to prep for the program.

    Any thoughts on that?

    Thanks!
    Matt
     
  2. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

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    Matt,

    The quantitative course will be a stats course (more than likely), so the refresher at the community college would be a good idea. I can't think of a situation that you would need calculus for a doctoral dissertation in higher education
     
  3. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

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    And what school are you going to study for your doctorate at?
     
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

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    Almost no math beyond arithmetic. But....

    Lots of quantitative analysis, including statistics. So....

    It's understanding the methods and employing them that's the challenge, not your math skills.
     
  5. Afterhours

    Afterhours Member

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    Very little math. Unless your PhD is in Math or another STEM related sublject
     
  6. mattbrent

    mattbrent New Member

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    Awesome. I shouldn't have a problem then. Thanks!

    -Matt
     
  7. _T_

    _T_ New Member

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    Not to downplay anything you have heard, but don't take what you have heard to believe that a VERY strong understanding of stats will be required. Personally, I had 16 hours of stats in my PHD coursework and they proved to be some of the most demanding courses I had to take.
     
  8. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

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    I firm understanding of stats is required. A better understanding of where is find a stats tutor is also a great idea. I saved my stats classes as the last classes I needed before the Topic Paper and I am glad I did because it was still kind of fresh in my head. I also used the tutors at the CC for some extra help then I hired a stats tutor that had experience with dissertations for the final review (cost - about $300).

    Get to know these two pages - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/InferentialStatisticalDecisionMakingTrees.pdf

    and this concept and table - http://web.vu.lt/fsf/d.noreika/files/2011/10/Cohen-J-1992-A-power-primer-kokio-reikia-imties-dyd%C5%BEio.pdf

    Understanding these will go a long way.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2013
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    Hi Matt - I'm just guessing that if you looked up a few representative programs, schools you might attend, they will lay out exactly the coursework required for the degree at their school. Beyond that I would guess that these courses will be relatively demanding and if Math/Stats is not a strength then you'll need to plan on extra study time.
     
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

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    This post is contrary to the distinctions just about every other poster--including those who've actually done a doctorate--is making regarding math and statistics. Instead of lumping them together ("Math/Stats"), it's more useful to note that low math skills will be okay, but high stats skills will be necessary. This is true even if one pursues a qualitative methodology in one's dissertation.
     
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    Thanks so much. I love the fact that you're looking out for me and the site.
     
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

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    Only in "moderation."
     
  13. edowave

    edowave Active Member

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    If there is a course that teaches you how to use a stats program like SPSS, NCSS, or MiniTab, I would do that. As others said, you need an understanding of stats, but when it comes time to do your dissertation work, it is easier to use a statistics program to do the grunt work. SAS is another popular program too, but that is more like learning a computer language.
     
  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Active Member

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    edowave is dead-on. But let me emphasize one of those points: get grounded in statistics. Just having SPSS (or whatever) isn't going to get it done. Just like any other tool, it's important to know what you're doing and what you're trying to accomplish before using it. During your dissertation defense, you'll have to explain why you chose deduction, quantitative analysis, your theoretical model, your hypotheses, your statistical tests, your results, and why you didn't choose alternatives at each step of the way.
     
  15. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

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    Exactly Rich! I was asked 3-4 stats questions like explaining each portion of t(244) = 1.54, p = .12 and R2 = .22, F (1, 244) = 66.9, p < .001. If you do not understand what you are talking about and just let SPSS spit out results you could be in trouble.
     
  16. mattbrent

    mattbrent New Member

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    Thanks for the additional suggestions!

    Matt
     

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