Programs by Campus



Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indianapolis, and Purdue School of Science

Contact Information

Department of Biostatistics, HITS 3000, IUPUI

or IU Fairbanks School of Public Health, ES 250, IUPUI

or Department of Mathematical Sciences, LD 270, IUPUI

Program E-mail:

Program URL:

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin.)



Degree Offered
Doctor of Philosophy

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)

Other Degree Offerings

Master of Public Health, Biostatistics Concentration and Master of Science in Biostatistics granted by the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indianapolis.

Admission Requirements

The application deadline for the program is December 15 for matriculation 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. Any applicant who has a suitable Bachelor’s or a Master's degree from an accredited institution and shows promise for successfully completing all the degree requirements will 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 (3.00 GPA) average in courses taken during the last two years of their earlier degree studies, and a grade of B+ (3.50 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 I.U.P.U.I.) 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 who do not have this background must acquire it prior to admission to the program.

Students seeking admission must apply online through the IUPUI Online Graduate and Professional Admissions Application system. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended, personal statement, resume or CV, and scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test. The TOEFL is also required if the applicant’s native language is not English and none of the applicant’s previous degrees is awarded by an US accredited institution or other institution where English is the official language.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 90 credit hours are required for the degree. The 90 credit hours will consist of the following:

Required Coursework (36 hours): A common 36 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
  • STAT 51900 Introduction to Probability +
  • STAT 52500 Generalized Linear Model +
  • STAT 52800 Mathematical Statistics I +
  • STAT 53600 Introduction to Survival Analysis +
  • PBHL –B 574 Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis +
  • PBHL –B 582 Introduction to Clinical Trials
  • PBHL –B 584 Biostatistics Practicum

Any four of the following seven courses:

  • PBHL –B 616 Advanced Statistical Computing
  • STAT 61900 Probability Theory
  • STAT 62800 Advanced Statistical Inference
  • PBHL –B 626 Advanced Likelihood Theory
  • PBHL –B 636 Advanced Survival Analysis
  • PBHL –B 646 Advanced Generalized Linear Models
  • PBHL –B 656 Advanced Longitudinal Data Analysis

(+ indicates the program’s core courses)

Public Health Requirement (6 hours): All students must take 6 credit hours from the following courses to fulfill the requirement of Fairbanks School of Public Health for any graduate student.

  • Introduction to Public Health
    • PBHL –A 505 Environmental Health Science (1 cr.)
    • PBHL –H 505 Health Policy and Management (1 cr.)
    • PBHL –S 505 Social and Behavioral health Sciences (1 cr.)
  • PBHL –E 517 Fundamentals of Epidemiology

Elective Courses (6 hours): All students must take 6 credit hours of elective statistics/biostatistics courses. At least three credit hours of the electives must be taken from 600-level courses. The remaining 42 credit hours will be taken as additional coursework in a minor area (12 credits), further elective courses, independent studies, and directed dissertation research (at minimum 24 credits).

Minor Area (12 hours): In addition to the 48 credit hours of formal statistics/biostatistics and public health coursework, all students must complete a minor in an area related to any of the 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 must be approved by the student’s advisor or graduate committee. The minor must contain a minimum of four graduate level courses (12 cr.) in the chosen area and it must comply with the minor requirements of the respective department/unit.

Dissertation (24 to 30 hours): At minimum 24 credits hours will be guided research dissertation hours. After passing the oral part of the qualifying 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.

Program Requirements

Qualifying Examinations - written part (required): Students must pass an initial qualifying examination in the areas of Probability, Mathematical Statistics, Generalized Linear Models, Longitudinal Data Analysis and Survival Analysis. 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 written part of the qualifying examination for full-time students who enter the program with a master’s degree in statistics/biostatistics is August at the end of their second year. The deadline for full-time students who enter the program without a master’s degree in statistics/biostatistics is August at the end of their third year.

Deadline for part-time students:

The deadline for passing the qualifying examinations for part-time students who enter the program with a master’s degree in statistics/biostatistics is August at the end of their third year; the deadline for part-time students who enter the program without a master’s degree in statistics/biostatistics 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 written 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 continuing 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. Students who failed any part of the written qualifying examinations will be availed within one month of the announced results, the opportunity to review their graded examinations and appeal their grades if they choose to do so. The program Directors will not accept for consideration any appeal beyond this one month period.

Qualifying examinations - oral part (required): A student becomes eligible to take the oral part of the qualifying examinations after successfully passing the written qualifying examination. This examination consists of a presentation on an advanced research topic suggested by the student to the student’s advisory committee, which administers this examination. In preparation to this examination, the student must provide the committee with a paper (10 – 15 pages) outlining the advanced 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 including the minor subject. The oral qualifying examinations will normally be completed at the end of all required course work, including the minor area, before the student embarks on the dissertation. The student must pass this examination before passing on to candidacy.

Admission to Candidacy: Following the passing of the qualifying examinations 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 University Graduate School, the student will be admitted to candidacy.

Final Examination: Oral Examination, primarily a defense of the dissertation in a public forum.

Normal Progress and Termination: Students must maintain satisfactory progress towards their degree objective to ensure their continued good standing in the program and financial support. The minimum criteria for satisfactory progress are a GPA of 3.00 or above, satisfactory research progress, and completion of other degree requirements (written and oral qualifying examinations, minor area requirements, candidacy requirements). If at any time the GPA drops below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation. Financial support may be rescinded if the GPA is not increased to

3.0 in a reasonable time period. Further, if the student’s GPA in two consecutive semesters is below 3.0 the student’s standing in the Biostatistics PhD program will be terminated.

In addition, credit towards the doctoral degree will not be given for any course in which the student obtains a grade of “B-” or below. This includes students’ work on their research. If, in the opinion of the research committee, satisfactory research progress is not being made, 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 research performance. At the end of this time, financial support may be discontinued, if applicable.

Doctoral Minor in Biostatistics

This is a 12-credit hour minor in Biostatistics offered by the program which provides students in other Ph.D. programs with a rigorous grounding in the application of biostatistics in health-related research. This minor requires a strong quantitative aptitude and an interest in biomedical and public health application. Students who have already completed any of the required courses as part of their previous degrees or current Ph.D. requirements cannot apply these courses toward their minor in Biostatistics. Students must work with their faculty advisor to identify other courses relevant to the minor in Biostatistics.

Academic Bulletins

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