From Columbia University, and his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of North Carolina. Olkin also studied with Harold Hotelling. Olkin"s advisor was South. North. Roy and his Doctor of Philosophy thesis was "On distribution problems in multivariate analysis" submitted in 1951.
He is known for developing statistical analysis for evaluating policies, particularly in education, and for his contributions to meta-analysis, statistics education, multivariate analysis, and majorization theory. He received a Bachelor of Surgery in mathematics at the City College of New York, an Master of Arts In 1984, he was President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Olkin is a Guggenheim, Fulbright, and Lady Davis Fellow, with an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University.