All students in the doctoral program in Biostatistics are required to demonstrate mastery of advanced biostatistical methods which is assessed via coursework and examinations.
Doctoral Program in Biostatistics
The Ph.D. Program in Biostatistics provides training in:
- Developing new quantitative methods and underlying theory
- Making innovative applications to substantive and demanding scientific problems
- Leading and participating in interdisciplinary research involving public health, medicine, biology, and the social sciences
Program Requirements and Course of Study
The Graduate School has several University-wide requirements for all students enrolled in doctoral programs at Brown. Both students and advisors are expected to become familiar with these requirements.
Within the Department of Biostatistics, the major requirements for the Ph.D. are:
- Completion of a program of courses covering core areas of required expertise
- Demonstration of proficiency in teaching
- Synthesis of a core body of knowledge, evaluated via written examination
- Demonstration of readiness to undertake original research, via oral presentation and defense of a written dissertation proposal (oral exam)
- Completion and oral defense of a dissertation that makes an original contribution in the chosen field of study.
The methods for meeting these requirements may differ depending on the individual program of study.
Competencies in biostatistics are divided into four core areas:
- Theory and foundation of statistical inference
- General biostatistical methods
- Advanced training in specialized domain areas
- Foundation in public health
Owing to the inherently interdisciplinary nature of biomedical research, biostatistics students are also required to demonstrate competency in a substantive field of application; examples include (but are not limited to):
- Molecular biology
- Infectious diseases
- Cancer biology
This competency is demonstrated via the successful completion of at least one graduate course (1000 or 2000 level) in another department or graduate program. The selection of this course must be approved by the Graduate Program Director.
Courses taken at other institutions can be used to meet one or more course requirements.
- PHP 2520 Statistical Inference I
- PHP 2530 Bayesian Statistical Methods
- PHP 2550 Practical Data Analysis
- PHP 2580 Statistical Inference II
- PHP 2601 Linear Models
- PHP 2605 Generalized Linear Models
- PHP 2602 Analysis of Lifetime Data
- PHP 2610 Causal Inference and Missing Data
- PHP 2950 PhD Journal Club * (see Page 19 in the program handbook for details)
- PHP 0101 Public Health Overview (No credit, see Page 4 in the program handbook for description)
- PHP 2120 Introduction to Methods in Epidemiologic Research
Ph.D. candidates must take at least 5 — including at least 2 from biostatistics —1 in substantive field of application)
- PHP 2030 Clinical Trials Methodology
- PHP 2603 Analysis of Longitudinal Data
- PHP 2604 Statistical Methods for Spatial Data
- PHP 2620 Statistical Methods for Bioinformatics
- PHP 2650 Statistical Learning and Big Data
- PHP 2690 Advanced Topics in Biostatistics
- APMA 2610 Recent Applications of Probability/Statistics
- APMA 2821 Stochastic Processes on Graphs
- APMA 2811 Convex Analysis + Minimization Algorithm
- Qualifying courses in other departments (APMA, ECON, CS), with approval from Graduate Director
- Teaching Experience (TE) credit (See page 18 in the program handbook for description)
- School of Public Health Responsible Conduct in Research Training - 1st Semester
Graduate-level academic credit earned outside of and prior to a student’s current degree program at Brown may accelerate the time to the completion of the tuition unit requirement of the degree. Ph.D. students may transfer up to 8 courses. Only advanced coursework taken while the student was a graduate student either at Brown or another institution may be used for graduate credit at Brown. For details, refer to the Graduate School Handbook.
Individual Development Plan
In response to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notice NOT-OD-13-093 and the Brown University School of Public Health mandate regarding the use of Individual Development Plans (IDP), all students in the Department of Biostatistics, regardless of funding sources, are required to complete and submit, in consultation with their advisor, and IDP. Specifically:
- Incoming, matriculating students must complete an IDP, in consultation with their advisor, by the beginning of their second semester.
- All students must submit an updated IDP, in consultation with their advisor, on an annual basis.
The IDP is a valuable tool that gives students the opportunity to consider and address their short-term and long-term career goals. In order to achieve compliance with the IDP policy, please fill out the Individual Development Plan for Biostatistics, discuss with your advisor, and submit your completed form.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about our doctoral program in biostatistics.
Applicants to the Biostatistics program should apply through SOPHAS, a centralized application service for accredited schools and programs in public health. For more information on how to apply please visit the SOPHAS application instructions. If you have any questions, please contact SOPHAS.
- Sophas Customer Service Phone: (617) 612-2090 Open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm EST.
- Customer Service E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
All Ph.D. students (including international students) are admitted with full aid and are eligible for continuing aid pending satisfactory academic progress. This financial aid includes tuition, stipend and health insurance. You do not need to separately apply for financial aid.
We do not require a specific type of undergraduate degree, and indeed we encourage applications from students with a variety of academic backgrounds. Course work in advanced calculus, linear algebra, and probability using calculus are expected.
The faculty within the Department of Biostatistics are involved in several major areas of research activity including analysis of biomarkers and diagnostic tests, causal inference and missing data, time series and functional data analysis, spatial data and network analysis, bioinformatics, longitudinal data, meta-analysis, multilevel modeling, and statistical learning.
If all other conditions are the same, having the M.S. is a plus.
The GRE is not required.
TOEFL scores are required of international students, unless a student has or is expecting to receive a bachelor's or master's degree from a U.S. university or from an institution where the primary language is English. TOEFL or IELTS scores submitted should be from within the last two years. For more detail, see the Graduate School policy. Brown requires a score of at least 90 for admission. Official TOEFL scores should be sent to both SOPHAS (TOEFL reporting code 5688) and Brown University Graduate School (reporting code 3094).
If you are an international student that has or is expecting a degree from a U.S. university or institution you will qualify for a TOEFL waiver through SOPHAS. There is no need to email to request a waiver - you will automatically qualify once your application is submitted.
The number of applications received and offers made varies from year to year. On average we have 4 students in each class.
Students interested in pursuing a career in research should generally apply to the Ph.D. program, although many of the applicants to the Ph.D. program already have a master’s in biostatistics or related field. Those interested in pursuing a non-academic career may find that a master’s degree is sufficient, although increasingly directors of statistics programs in industry and government have doctoral degrees.
Yes, there is a box to check on the SOPHAS application if you would like your application considered for the master's program.
Unfortunately not. We review in the context of the other applications.