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In this article, a modified covariance method for analyzing deep-level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) capacitance transients using a combined singular value decomposition/Prony (SVD–Prony) method is presented. This combined method is based upon using the SVD method first to accurately estimate the number of exponentials contained in transient capacitance data, then the Prony method is applied to obtain an accurate estimate of the exponential time constants. Results are presented for simulated exponential data with additive white-Gaussian noise and for real DLTS data to demonstrate the applicability of the presented technique. In addition, a statistical analysis is performed to study the behavior of this technique and its effectiveness in extracting the capacitance parameters at different noise levels. Finally, the problem of multiple exponential detection is addressed. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.