Zhide Fang, PhD
Professor and Program Director
The PhD in Biostatistics is an advanced, research-oriented degree program requiring in-depth study and research in a particular area of emphasis within biostatistics. The core curriculum includes a solid foundation of coursework in advanced statistical methods and statistical theory. Additional coursework may include multivariate methods, nonparametric statistics, mixed models, statistical computing, design and analysis of experiments, clinical trials methodology, bioinformatics, and other advanced statistical methods. PhD students will also receive training in research ethics and hands-on experience in statistical consulting, and gain teaching experience through a formal teaching practicum. Students will have the opportunity to take elective courses in epidemiology and other core disciplines in public health.
The curriculum is designed for students entering with a master’s degree in statistics or biostatistics. Those students entering without a previous relevant master’s degree can expect additional coursework to fulfill prerequisites for taking PhD-level advanced coursework.
Biostatistics Qualifying Process
All PhD students in Biostatistics are required to pass a set of preliminary examinations before being admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree.
The written comprehensive examinations are based on the material in the first year core PhD courses (BIOS 6210, 6212, 7200, 7202, and 7204). These exams consist of three in-class, closed-book written sessions and a take-home applied/data analysis session. These examinations will be written, graded and scored anonymously by the faculty of the Biostatistics Program. A consensus score of Pass or Fail will be assigned to each examination session for each student. The examinations are usually offered shortly after the spring semester in late May or early June.
In addition to the written comprehensive examinations, students must pass an oral examination involving the defense of the students’ research prospectus. This examination should be taken no later than the third year of full-time study. The oral preliminary examination will be given by the students’ Doctoral Advisory Committee and will assess the students’ research prospectus and mastery of discipline in the dissertation area. The students’ PhD advisor will be the Committee Chair.
If students fail either the written or the oral exam, the Doctoral Advisory Committee determines the conditions to be met before another examination may be given, usually to take place the following year.