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What is a PhD in Biostatistics?

The PhD in Biostatistics is a full-time degree program will train students to become highly functional statistical researchers with the breadth of knowledge to contribute to many applied domains or to specialize in a single theoretical domain.

The program is designed to provide students with a quantitative foundational core in statistical theory while simultaneously offering opportunities to apply these concepts to a wide range of practical applications.

Why Pursue a PhD in Biostatistics at Drexel Dornsife?

Students will be offered interdisciplinary instruction and research opportunities that are designed to provide a solid training in both statistical theory and in applications of biostatistical methods to a variety of relevant contexts that are central to modern interdisciplinary research.

Unique benefits of the PhD in Biostatistics program at Drexel Dornsife include:

  • Full-time students with research or teaching fellowships receive full tuition, 12-month stipend, and health insurance.
  • Small cohorts ensure access to faculty, small class sizes and a strong sense of community.
  • Students receive foundational training in both theory and applications, including exposure to contemporary quantitative concepts in data science.
  • Students may gain teaching experience.
  • Students will have an opportunity to choose a cognate area of focus including epidemiology, environmental health, urban health, health policy and management or health informatics.

All applicants are automatically reviewed for a graduate assistantship, which includes full tuition remission, a health insurance subsidy and a stipend in exchange for 20 hours-a-week of teaching and/or research support, based on department needs. Graduate assistantships can be renewed yearly based on student's performance and available funding.

Prospective doctoral students are also eligible for the Urban Health Collaborative Doctoral Fellowship Program. Fellows will be supported to conduct urban health research under the mentorship of a faculty research sponsor. Fellows will receive a stipend, full tuition remission and additional support for research and travel. Awards are renewable for a second year.

The PhD in Biostatistics program will be prepare students to:

  • Understand the fundamental concepts and methods of applied probability, statistics, and statistical inference.
  • Understand the the theory and applications of the generalized linear and mixed models.
  • Use machine learning methods for data exploration and prediction tasks in biomedical applications.
  • Develop the biostatistics and research skills necessary for a career in research.

To learn more about the PhD in Biostatistics program, request more information to speak with an academic advisor today.

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PhD in Biostatistics Admissions Requirements

The Dornsife School of Public Health seeks passionate, collaborative students who graduate with the knowledge, skills and perspective necessary to make a difference in the health of communities in the United States and around the world.

To be considered for the PhD in Biostatistics program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Completion of a Bachelor's or a Master’s degree from an accredited institution and must satisfy general Drexel University School of Public Health requirements for admission.
  • Strong academic background in mathematics, statistics, and related sciences, in addition to practical, professional, or research experience. Background in mathematics should include one year of calculus including multivariate calculus, linear algebra, and a calculus-based course in probability or statistics. Additional background in biological, social, or health sciences is desirable.

PhD applicants in biostatistics traditionally have an undergraduate degree in mathematics or statistics, but students with degrees in other fields, in particular data science, computer science or engineering, will be considered with the requirement that necessary mathematical course work must be completed. Applicants must have at least a B+ average in courses required as prerequisites for the program.

Application Requirements for the Biostatistics PhD Program

In order for your application to be reviewed, applicants must complete the following:

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts from every college-level institution you attended (academic records from institutions outside the U.S. must undergo a credentials evaluation).
  • Standardized test score (GRE most universally accepted)
  • English proficiency test score (TOEFL or IELTS), if applicable
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of Purpose and Objectives

A note on official GRE scores: Due to the impact COVID-19 is having on testing access, GRE scores will not be a part of the Drexel University Department of Biostatistics application for those applying for Fall 2022 entry. The Admissions Committee will continue to evaluate candidates based on a holistic and overall assessment of the required application materials. This policy will be reviewed and reconsidered at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year.

To learn more about application and admissions requirements for the PhD in Biostatistics program, please visit the page below.

Admissions and Application Requirements

Biostatistics PhD Program Curriculum

The PhD in Biostatistics curriculum is rooted in hands-on research and statistical analysis that encourages students to uncover key scientific discoveries that positively contributes to the public health industry.

Faculty research areas, with applications to cardiovascular health, behavioral modification interventions, health disparities and urban health, include Bayesian statistics, clinical trials (including adaptive designs), spatial statistics, environmental statistics, and data confidentiality.

Students will develop a course of study that will build their skills and knowledge in core concepts including:

  • Statistical Theory
  • Quantitative Concepts in Data Science
  • Biostatistics Methodology
  • Modern Interdisciplinary Research

Required Courses

The Biostatistics PhD program consists of required core courses and electives in the Dornsife School of Public Health, and in other academic units across Drexel University.

Core courses in the program include:

  • BST 551 Statistical Inference I - 3 credits
  • BST 567 Statistical Consulting - 3 credits
  • BST 569 Linear Statistical Models - 4 credits
  • BST 570 Generalized Linear Models - 3 credits
  • BST 604 Applied Bayesian Analysis - 3 credits
  • BST 623 Theory of Generalized Linear and Mixed Models - 3 credits
  • BST 625 Probability Models and Stochastic Processes - 3 credits
  • BST 626 Research Skills in Biostatistics I - 1 credit
  • BST 701 Advanced Statistical Computing - 3 credits

Students select electives that align with their research interests and professional goals, and they learn and practice the research skills necessary for writing and defending a dissertation.

In order to receive a PhD in Biostatistics, students must successfully complete 86 credit hours.

To learn more about the PhD in Biostatistics curriculum and to see a sample plan of study, please follow the links below.

Review Degree Requirements and Courses

Sample Plan of Study

What Careers Are Open to a PhD in Biostatistics?

The PhD in Biostatistics program will prepare doctoral students for successful careers in academia (both teaching and research), government agencies, private health-related organizations/industries and many other data-driven industries.

Applying statistics to the advancement of public health can lead to a promising and fulfilling career.

Some careers for individuals with a PhD in Biostatistics include:

  • Data Analyst
  • Research Scientist
  • Statistical Programmer
  • Survey Researcher
  • Clinical Researcher

A PhD in Biostatistics opens up opportunities in fields such as genetics, medicine, environmental health, bioinformatics, and pharmaceuticals.

PhD in Biostatistics Salary Scale

While salary can range across industries, the median salary for statisticians in 2020 was $92,270. The Bureau of Labor Statistics writes that "employment of statisticians is projected to grow 35 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations."

Enhance your skill set and advance your career with a PhD in Biostatistics. Start your application today.

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image of graduation cap with percent of Doctoral student's that receive some kind of funding

Paying for Your Public Health Degree

95 percent of PhD students receive tuition remission, stipend, and health insurance.

In general, PhD students finance their education through a variety of sources, and the Dornsife School of Public Health provides financial support through training grants, scholarships, stipends, and working as a teaching or research assistant.

Explore scholarships and financial aid


Scarlett Bellamy, ScD
Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Faculty Development
Director, Biostatistics MS and PhD Programs
Epidemiology and Biostatistics

David A. Wood, MBA, MS
Executive Director, Enrollment Management