Programs by Campus
School of Medicine, Indianapolis, and Purdue School of Science
Department of Mathematical Sciences, LD 270, IUPUI, (317) 274-6918
Program E-mail: grad-program [at] math [dot] iupui [dot] edu
Program URL: http://www.math.iupui.edu/program/phd/biostat/
Doctor of Philosophy
Special Departmental Requirements
(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)
The application deadline for the program is January 15 of each year for the following fall. The program is designed for individuals with strong quantitative and analytical skills and a strong interest in biological, medical and/or health related sciences. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent is required. Students seeking admission must apply online. Applications must include a complete application form, three letters of recommendation, official undergraduate transcripts, personal statement, resume or CV, and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test. The TOEFL is also required if the applicant’s native language is not English.
A minimum of 90 credit hours are required for the degree. The 90 credit hours will consist of the following:
Core Courses (33 hours): A common core of 33 credit hours of course work will be required of all students who begin the program after the completion of a bachelor’s degree.
- STAT 51200 Applied Regression Analysis
- BIOS S515 Biostatistics Practicum
- STAT 51900 Introduction to Probability +
- STAT 52500 Intermediate Statistical Methods +
- BIOS S527 Introduction to Clinical Trials
- STAT 52800 Mathematical Statistics I +
- STAT 53600 Introduction to Survival Analysis +
- BIOS S546 Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis +
Any three of the following:
- STAT 61900 Probability Theory
- BIOS S621 Advanced Statistical Computing
- STAT 62800 Advanced Statistical Inference
- BIOS S636 Advanced Survival Analysis ^
- BIOS S646 Advanced Longitudinal Data Analysis ^
(+ indicates the program’s core courses; ^ indicates course is still subject to approval by The University Graduate School)
Elective Courses (12 hours): All students must take 12 credit hours of elective statistics/biostatistics courses. At least six credit hours of the electives must be taken from 600-level courses. The remaining 45 credit hours will be taken as additional coursework in a minor area (9 to 15 credits), further elective courses, independent studies, and directed dissertation research.
Minor Area (9 to 15 hours): In addition to the 45 credit hours of formal statistics/biostatistics coursework, all students must complete a minor in an area related to any of health and life sciences disciplines. The minor may be obtained in areas such as pharmacology and toxicology, epidemiology, genetics, biology, physiology bioinformatics, public health and health economics, among many others and it must be approved by the student’s advisor or graduate committee. The minor must contain a minimum of three graduate level courses (9 cr.) in the chosen area and it must comply with the minor requirements of the respective department/unit.
Dissertation (27 to 33 hours): The remaining hours to total 90 will be guided research dissertation hours. After passing the preliminary examination, the student may officially begin work on the dissertation, which will be original and publishable statistical/biostatistical research originating from and with application to well-defined life and health related problems. The student must submit the completed written dissertation to the research committee for reading and evaluation and subsequently will have to present and defend it orally in a public forum before the committee.
Students must pass an initial qualifying examination on the five core courses: STAT 51900, 52500, 52800, 53600, and BIOS S546. The qualifying examination is a written examination offered once a year during a two-day Qualifier Exam Session the week before classes start in August and is administered in two sections – Theoretical Biostatistics and Applied Biostatistics. The preparation and the administration of the qualifying examination are overseen by the Graduate Examination Committee. Students are expected to have completed and passed both sections of the qualifying examination on or before their qualifier deadline.
Deadline for full-time students:
The deadline for passing the qualifying examination for full-time students who enter the program with a master’s degree or equivalent is August at the end of their second year; the deadline for full-time students who enter the program without a master’s degree is August at the end of their third year.
Deadline for part-time students:
The deadline for passing the qualifying examination for part-time students who enter the program with a master’s degree or equivalent is August at the end of their third year; the deadline for part-time students who enter the program without a master’s degree is August at the end of their fourth year.
If students do not pass both sections of the examination by their qualifier deadline, they will have their privilege to continue in the program terminated.
A student will have at most two attempts to pass the examination. The first attempt must include the entire examination, i.e. both the Theoretical and Applied sections. If one or both sections are not passed on the first attempt, then a second attempt on or before the deadline is allowed. During the final attempt, the student may only sit for the section(s) not passed in the first attempt.
A student’s first attempt at the qualifying examination will result in one of the following three outcomes:
- Pass Both Sections: The student has demonstrated fundamental understanding of the core material and the examination committee believes he/she will be successful in completing the Ph.D. program.
- Pass One Section: The student has demonstrated fundamental understanding of one section, but lacks adequate understanding of the other section. The student must sit for the section not passed at a future examination session.
- Fail: The student has failed to demonstrate an adequate understanding of the material from the core courses and thus fails the examination. The student must sit for both sections at a future examination session.
A student’s second and final attempt at the qualifying examination will result in one of the following two outcomes:
- Pass: The student has demonstrated fundamental understanding of the core material and the examination committee believes he/she will be successful in completing the Ph.D. program.
- Fail: The student has failed to demonstrate an adequate understanding of the material from the core courses and thus fails the examination, with privilege to continue in the program terminated.
A student becomes eligible to take the preliminary examination after passing the qualifying examination. The student must prepare and pass a preliminary examination, which consists of an oral presentation on an advanced research topic suggested by the student to an appointed committee of at least four faculty members, including the student’s advisor and at least one member from the student’s minor area. The committee may consist of the same members as the student’s original advisory committee, but is not required to. This committee will serve as the research committee for the student, and must be approved by the dean. Prior to the examination, the student must provide the committee with a paper (10 – 15 pages) outlining the topic to be covered, clearly indicating the scope and depth of the planned research along with relevant references. In the examination, the student is expected to display an in-depth understanding of the chosen subject matter. The committee may ask the student questions which normally will be directed to the subject matter of the research but may, by natural extension, also cover any other relevant topic.
Admission to Candidacy
Following the passing of the preliminary examination and the completion of all required coursework, the student’s advisory committee will nominate the student to candidacy. Upon approval of the Dean of the The University Graduate School, the student will be admitted to candidacy.
Oral, primarily a defense of the dissertation.
Normal Progress and Termination
Once students begin research, they must maintain normal progress toward their degree objective to ensure continued financial support and/or active status. If, in the opinion of the research committee, satisfactory research progress is not being made or if the GPA continues to be below 3.0, a meeting of the student’s research committee may be convened. This meeting will include a brief presentation by the student on the work accomplished up to that point, and/or a discussion concerning the problems which have hampered progress. If the consensus of the committee is that the student needs to show improvement, he/she will have 60 days to demonstrate a change in performance. At the end of this time, financial support may be discontinued, if applicable.
If a student finds it necessary to withdraw from the graduate program, then he/she should provide as much notice as possible. In the case of teaching or research assistants, students are expected to complete the semester once it has begun. Similarly, the program will provide a student with as much advance notice as possible if the student is dropped from the program for reasons of poor performance.