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Curriculum Overview: PhD Program

* All courses are 3 credit hours

Core Courses

The following four courses are required for all Ph.D. students and compose the biostatistics core of the program.

  • PHC 7066: Large Sample Theory
  • PHC 7090: Advanced Biostatistical Methods I
  • PHC 7091: Advanced Biostatistical Methods II
  • PHC 6068: Biostatistical Computing

The courses ”Advanced Biostatistical Methods I” and “Advanced Biostatistical Methods II” as well as “Biostatistical Computing” make up the methods core of the program. These are advanced courses that cover the essentials of statistical methods for different types of data.

The course “Large Sample Theory” forms the theoretical part of the core and will provide students with the mathematical foundation necessary to do their dissertation research.

The course “Biostatistical Computing” forms the computational part of the core and will provide students with computational knowledge and skills required for successful application of biostatistical methods.

Public Health Core

In addition, each student must complete six credits from the Public Health Core:

  • PHC 6001: Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health
  • PHC 6937: Introduction to Public Health

Consulting Requirement

Students must acquire experience in the planning of experiments and establishing a collaborative interaction with an investigator. This requirement is fulfilled by registering for:

  • PHC 6063: Biostatistical Consulting.


Students also are required to complete at least four additional biostatistics/statistics courses.

At least three Ph.D. elective courses are currently offered every year in addition to the core courses. Additional electives are also offered under the “Special Topics” number, STA 6934; examples of offerings in recent years including “Analysis of Spatial Data”, “Microarray Data Analysis”, and “Applied Bayesian Methods”.

Other courses will be selected by students in consultation with their supervisory committees. We expect the development of additional electives in the first few years of the program, including methodology for imaging, spatial data, and causal inference.

Among the courses that may be used for this requirement are the following:

  • PHC 6178: Genetic Data Analysis
  • PHC 6020: Clinical Trials Methods
  • GMS 6827: Advanced Clinical Trials Methods
  • STA 6177: Applied Survival Analysis
  • STA 6505: Analysis of Categorical Data
  • STA 6526: Nonparametric Statistics
  • STA 6707: Analysis of Multivariate Data
  • STA 6746: Multivariate Analysis
  • PHC 6937: Stochastic Modeling
  • STA 6826: Stochastic Process I
  • STA 6827: Stochastic Processes II
  • STA 6876: Theory of Time Series
  • STA 6866: Monte Carlo Statistical Methods
  • STA 6209: Design and Analysis of Experiments
  • STA 6247: Advanced Topics in Design and Analysis
  • STA 6466: Probability Theory I
  • STA 6427: Probability Theory II
  • STA 7179: Advanced Survival Analysis
  • STA 7347: Advanced Inference
  • STA 7348: Bayesian Theory Statistics
  • STA 7527: Theory of Nonparametric Statistics

Cognate Option

Students may choose to explore a selected cognate field in some depth. The field and courses must be approved by the student’s advisor. At least 6 credits of ordinally graded courses in the cognate field must be completed.

Some examples of cognate areas include Genetics, Epidemiology, and Environmental Health. For Public Health cognate fields, 6 credits beyond the Public Health core are required.

Students not choosing the cognate option must complete an additional 6 credits of biostatistical/statistical electives.

Qualifying Exams

After the completion of the set of four core courses with an average grade of no lower than “B”, usually at the end of the first year, the students will take the Part I qualifying exam consisting of questions from the following four courses: PHC 7066 Large Sample Theory, PHC 7090 Advanced Biostatistical Methods I, PHC 7091 Advanced Biostatistical Methods II and PHC 6068 Biostatistical Computing.

The Part II qualifying exam is an oral exam in which the student presents his or her proposal to the Ph.D. committee. After successfully passing Part I and Part II qualifying exams, the student is admitted to candidacy and must complete dissertation research, write and defend the dissertation (following Graduate School rules) and submit the dissertation to the Graduate School.


A minimum of 90 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree is required for the doctoral degree. Formal course work accumulated by students should be in the neighborhood of 60 credit hours. The remaining hours will be in PHC 7980 (dissertation research).

The credits are broken down as follows:

# of credits
Core Biostatistics courses
Core Public Health courses
Consulting requirement
Biostatistics/statistics electives
Cognate option or additional biostatistical/statistics electives
Previous M.S. in Biostatistics/Statistics