Ph.D. in Biostatistics

Below is the academic and application information on the Ph.D. in Biostatistics program. If you are considering a career in Biostatistics or in applying to the program, please visit Why Study Biostatistics and Student and Alumni Spotlights for more information. 

Program Overview

The Ph.D. in Biostatistics, offered through the Division of Biostatistics in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, provides a flexible curriculum to cover the basics.

Depending on their background, a student will follow either a Track A and Track B stream to completion of the Ph.D. All students will be required to take elective courses referred to as cognates which will be linked in a substantive way to the Ph.D. dissertation. See below for details.



The Doctoral degree in Biostatistics degree is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Upon completion of the Doctoral degree in Biostatistics, all graduates will be able to:

  • Competencies:
    Conduct original research on the theory and/or methodology of biostatistics
    Apply innovative theory and/or methods to scientific problems
    Apply appropriate advanced data analysis and management techniques to analyze epidemiologic data
    Communicate research findings and conclusions (written and oral) in a clear and concise manner
    Serve as an expert biostatistician on collaborative scientific teams
  • Total required credits:  67 credits


All students are required to take a minimum of four 3-credit graduate courses in specific topics referred to as cognates which will be related in a substantive way to the Ph.D. dissertation. Extra criteria requiring courses closely related to the student’s thesis work, or that a member in a subject matter discipline be on the student’s advisory committee, may apply in some cases. The cognate requirement will enable students to produce a biostatistically-sophisticated Ph.D. thesis and provide outstanding opportunities for graduates.

Track A: Students who meet prerequisite requirements

(1) A minimum of three semesters of calculus, including partial derivatives and techniques for solving multiple integrals, (2) One semester of linear algebra, (3) One semester of probability theory, (4) Four additional courses in statistics or biostatistics. The four courses are to include a general introduction, linear regression, introductory mathematical statistics and at least one more course (commonly drawn from survey sampling, multivariate, time series, nonparametric, etc.), and (5) At least two additional courses in statistics, biostatistics or related fields.

Track B: Do not meet all prerequisite requirements

During the first year, students are expected to make up any deficiencies. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the graduate program director.

Ph.D. in Biostatistics Curriculum 

The total requirements for the Ph.D. in Biostatistics are 67 credits. The credits must be completed as core, dissertation, and elective courses to meet the requirements. 


A written diagnostic exam will be given at the end of the first year to ensure the student has made up deficiencies and is making adequate progress. The examination covers basic foundational material every graduate should have thoroughly assimilated. Students who perform poorly on the exam are required to demonstrate their mastery of the material in some other way, which is handled on a case-by-case basis.

A second oral and written exam will be administered at the end of the third year. Once a student passes the second exam, they will formally become a Ph.D. candidate.

For curriculum information and course descriptions, please click on the right. For the program application, click below.