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Graduate Program in Biostatistics

The Department of Biostatistics and Health Data Science at IU School of Medicine offers a PhD in Philosophy in Biostatistics, which combines the strength in statistical theory and modeling of the Department of Mathematical Sciences and the biostatistical methods research, health sciences applications and public health experience of the Department of Biostatistics and Health Data Science.

Admission Requirements

Any applicant who has a bachelor’s or a master’s degree from an accredited institution and shows promise for successfully completing all the degree requirements is qualified to be considered for admission to this program.

In addition to satisfying general Indiana University graduate school requirements for admission, applicants must have at least a B (3.0 GPA) average in courses taken during the last two years of earlier degree studies and a grade of B+ (3.5 GPA) in courses required as prerequisites for the program.

Students entering this program should have a minimal mathematics background consisting of an undergraduate course sequence in univariate and multivariate calculus (equivalent to MATH 16500, 16600 and 26100 at IUPUI) and a course in linear algebra (including matrix theory). In addition, applicants should have had a calculus-based undergraduate level course in probability or statistics. Prospective applicants that do not have this background must acquire it prior to admission to the program.


Applicants can apply online to the biostatistics PhD program via SOPHAS, the centralized Schools of Public Health Application Service. Designate the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health as one of the school choices along with the desired program.


Supporting Documentation

In addition to completing the SOPHAS application, applicants are required to submit a CV and the other following supporting documentation directly to SOPHAS:

Scientific Leadership Potential

  • Statement of Purpose and Objectives
    Provide an essay of approximately 750 words describing past education, experience and current professional career objectives. It is encouraged to comment on any or all of the following: plans to use education and training, the needs and/or challenges perceived as important in a field of study, and any personal qualities, characteristics and skills believed that will enable success in chosen field of study.
  • Transcripts
    Official post-secondary transcripts from all U.S. institutions attended must be sent directly from the institutions to SOPHAS, including transcripts for previous study at Indiana University.
  • World Education Services Course Evaluation
    International applicants must submit a World Education Services (WES) ICAP course-by-course evaluation for all post-secondary foreign institutions attended. U.S. applicants who studied at foreign institutions as part of a study abroad experience at a U.S. college or university, do not need to provide a WES evaluation of study abroad coursework.
  • Letters of Recommendations
    Each applicants must submit three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to assess applicant’s academic work, professional experiences or leadership potential. These letters should be from professional sources that can provide an unbiased, current and critical assessment of an applicant’s abilities, skills, strengths and weaknesses related to successfully completing a doctoral program.
  • Test Scores

    Applicants are required to take the graduate record examination (GRE) general test. If an applicant’s native language is not English, the test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL) must also be taken and requires a score of 570 (or 230 on the computer version of the test, or 79 on the internet based test). Final admission decisions are made by a faculty admission committee.

    GRE scores are required for biostatistics PhD applicants and should be sent directly from the testing service (ETS). The Fairbanks School of Public Health SOPHAS code for the GRE is 0167. If applicants do not speak English as a first language, TOEFL scores are required. The SOPHAS TOEFL code is 5688.

Review of Application

Completed applications are carefully reviewed by the biostatistics PhD admissions committee after the program deadline. The committee’s goal is to notify applicants of admission status in March. Applicants may be invited to participate in an interview with several members of the admission’s committee. Interviews may take place live or remotely.

The admissions committee determines each applicant’s acceptance or non-acceptance to the biostatistics PhD program by using the following selection criteria:

  • Scientific Leadership Potential
    Assessed by the applicant’s resume (curriculum vita), personal statement and personal interview.
  • Ability to Engage in Advanced Graduate Work
    Assessed by the applicant’s evaluation of letters of recommendation, overall grade point average in prior graduate work and scores from the GRE or other graduate entrance exams.
  • Learning Goals and Objectives
    Assessed by the applicant’s personal statement and personal interview.