Specific requirements for Ph.D. in Biostatistics

Doctoral degree requirements include a minimum of 57 credits distributed as follows:

  • 24 credits in major concentration of biostatistics
  • 12 credits in minor concentration
  • 3 credits in research seminar
  • 18 credits of dissertation research

A student's program of study is usually designed jointly by the student, a biostatistics faculty academic advisor, and a minor field faculty academic advisor. The dissertation advisor need not be the biostatistics academic advisor. The only specific course requirements are the year-long advanced mathematical statistics course sequence STATIS 607-608.

Upon completion of the 39 credits of course work, the student must pass a set of comprehensive exams to advance to candidacy for the dissertation. In biostatistics the comprehensive exams consist of exams in biostatistics and the minor field and a take home exam. The take home portion of the exam usually involves complex data analysis questions that cannot be adequately addressed in a short time period written exam format. Students may retake any portion of the comprehensive exam one time. Two failures of any portion are grounds for dismissal from the program.

Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exams, students prepare a dissertation prospectus that is presented orally. The written prospectus must be approved by the student's dissertation committee and the Graduate Program Director before being submitted to the Graduate School.

The program is designed to be completed in three academic years. The actual length of time depends to a large extent on the student's ability to complete the prospectus and subsequent dissertation research.


  1. Students may transfer or waive up to one half of the 36 biostatistics and minor course credits. This must be done in consultation with the biostatistics academic advisor and be approved by the Graduate Program Director. Students are responsible in the comprehensive exam for the material in the waived courses.
  2. Students must meet the Graduate School residency requirement.