Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Meet Yao Li, PhD candidate in Statistics

“This program not only provides a ‘high degree’ and ‘professional skills (data analysis)’, but also a network of academic research and industry experience allowing me to be successful.”

Describe your research.
The research topic of my MSc degree is ‘forecasting tsunami hazard and risk using statistical models’. This involves predicting the maximum near-shore tsunami wave, and the potential loss, for an early-warning system.

Where’s your favourite place on campus to work?
I like studying and doing research at the office that the department provides, which is located on the second floor of the Western Science Building. Since the space is quiet and has a computer provided, I have been able to meet with peers and make new friends.

Have you worked as a teaching assistant or research assistant?
As a TA, I learned how to communicate with students when I hosted my office hours, labs, and tutorials. It gave me the experience of teaching and the skills of communicating knowledge so that it’s understandable. As a RA, I learned how to do a project in a ‘professional way’. I took part in the national field trip to southern British Columbia to assess resilience related to natural hazards. It gave me research experience (collecting data, writing reports) and allowed me to collaborate with other researchers.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone considering applying to your graduate program?
Know what you need in the future. It’s better to investigate what’s the most useful course you need to take if you apply to a course-based program. For doing research, getting familiar with the professors is important. Investigate the professors’ research fields in advance, and then try to apply to the professor who would be the best fit.

Program Websites

Program Contact

Department of Statistical and Actuarial Sciences

Western University
Western Science Centre Rm 262
London, Ontario N6A 5B7

t. 519-661-2098
f. 519-661-3813

Our department's PhD program encompasses three fields: Statistics, Actuarial Science and Financial Modelling.

The Own Your Future doctoral professional development program will help you become a career-ready graduate with the skills necessary to excel in your studies and achieve your future goals. By participating in the program, you will assess your own strengths and opportunities for growth, choose what skills you want to enhance during your time at Western, and learn how to articulate the skills you gained in your degree to optimize your future career opportunities. To learn more, visit

Program Length

  • 12 Terms

Program Design

  • Full-time study
  • Thesis-based

Funding Information

Applicants are encouraged to apply for the following scholarships (if eligible):

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fee schedules (per term) are posted on the Office of the Registrar's website at

Graduate Student Affordability Calculator

Use this helpful tool to estimate how much money you will need to pay for your tuition, fees, housing, food, and other necessities for a 12-month (three term) academic year.

Admission Requirements

  • An MSc degree from a recognized institution with sufficient background in Statistics, Actuarial Sciences and/or Financial Modelling.
  • Direct-entry based on an Honours degree may be considered under exceptional circumstances.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose first language is not English must furnish evidence of their proficiency in the use of the English language by a satisfactory achievement within the last two years in one of the following:

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). iBT (internet-Based Test): The minimum acceptable score is 86, with no individual score below 20. PdT (Paper-delivered Test): The minimum acceptable total score is 65, with no individual score below 20. Please note that some programs require a higher minimum and/or band score. [Western's TOEFL ID is 0984].
  • The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS Academic).The minimum acceptable score is 6.5 out of 9. The IELTS is offered in 6 test centres in the US and 3 in Canada.
  • The Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL Assessment). The minimum acceptable score is 60. The CAEL Assessment is offered in several countries throughout the world as well as Canada.
  • Western English Language Centre. The requirement is successful completion of the High-Advanced level.
  • Fanshawe College’s ESL Program. The requirement is graduation from Level 10, English for Academic Purposes, with a minimum 80% in all components.

Application Deadline

  • February 15 - International Applicants
  • July 1 - Domestic Applicants

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Completed applications are reviewed on a continuous basis. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Fields of Research

  • Actuarial Science
  • Financial Modelling
  • Statistics