Doctor of Philosophy in Biostatistics

The PhD in biostatistics is an academic degree program for students with a background in mathematics and a strong interest in biology and public health. The program emphasizes statistical theory and methods so that students are prepared to be effective statistical collaborators in interdisciplinary studies; lead the design and execution of studies; and develop biostatistics methodology.


Recent graduates hold the following positions:

  • Data scientist, Google 
  • Senior research statistician, AbbVie Inc.
  • Biostatistics manager, Amgen
  • Senior biostatistician, Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Senior research investigator, Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Biostatistician, Duke Clinical Research Institute
  • Aassistant professor, Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Assistant professor, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Assistant professor, University of Florida
  • Postdoctoral associate, University of Pittsburgh
  • Mathematical statistician, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Recent Dissertation Titles

Browse titles in D-Scholarship, the institutional repository for research output at the University of Pittsburgh


Graduates will be able to...

  • Quantitatively address a novel or complex health problem by developing an innovative statistical methodology or adapting existing methods to a new problem
  • Demonstrate mastery of advanced statistical theory and applications
  • Understand and implement innovative statistical approaches emerging in the literature to biomedical and public health issues
  • Communicate the results of biostatistical analyses to individuals with varying degrees of statistical knowledge
  • Recognize strengths and weaknesses of proposed approaches, including alternative designs, data sources, and analytic methods
  • Determine the data best suited to address public health issues, program planning, and program evaluation
  • Contribute to the body of knowledge in the field of biostatistics by submitting an article for publication in peer-reviewed journal, or preparing a book chapter or book for publication


72 credits, including...

  • Coursework in fundamentals of statistical theory and applications
  • A statistical consulting practicum
  • Coursework in epidemiology and public health
  • Advanced dissertation research in an area of specialization

Full program information

PhD Degree Requirements Worksheet (PDF, 2020-21)
Student Handbook (PDF, 2020-21)


Statistical Genetics

Doctoral students interested in statistical genetics can pursue that training through either the biostatistics PhD program or the human genetics PhD program. Within the biostatistics PhD program, statistical genetics students take the usual requirements for a biostatistical major but their electives are appropriately selected genetics courses. Students interested in statistical genetics should state that in their application.

A partial list of faculty with interest in statistical genetics

Department of Biostatistics
Yan Lin
Yong Seok Park
Chien-Cheng (George) Tseng

Department of Human Genetics with secondary appointment in the Department of Biostatistics
Daniel E. Weeks
Eleanor Feingold

Application deadline

Applications for fall admission are due by January 1.  

Apply online now

Using  SOPHAS, the centralized application service for graduate schools of public health.


Why Pittsburgh?

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We’re in one of the best cities in the country, no lie... a “most livable” burgh, loved by tech nerds, foodies, outdoor adventurers, artists, and home-bodies. 

Find out what's to love about
life in Pittsburgh.


Want to explore interest areas and career options, find the best fit among our degree programs and departments, and meet students and faculty?

Visit the school, participate in an information session, or attend our annual Open House each fall.

Biostats PhD News


Wang wins ICSA Student Paper Award 

Wang wins ICSA Student Paper Award

Xinjun (David) Wang (BIOST ’22) wins 2020 ICSA Student Travel Award for his paper entitled “BREM-SC: A Bayesian Random Effects Mixture Model for Joint Clustering Single Cell Multi-omics Data”.  (04/26/2021)

2020 Best Oral Presentation - Tao Sun 

2020 Best Oral Presentation - Tao Sun

Congratulations to doctoral candidate Tao Sun (BIOS '20) who was awarded Best Oral Presentation at the annual Biostatistics Research Day on February 27 for his work on "GWAS-based Deep Learning for Survival Prediction.”  (03/16/2020)

2020 Best Oral Presentation Honorable Mention - Luna Wei 

2020 Best Oral Presentation Honorable Mention - Luna Wei

Congratulations to doctoral student Yue (Luna) Wei (BIOS '21) on winning Best Oral Presentation Honorable Mention at the annual Biostatistics Research Day on February 27 for her work on “A Simultaneous Inference Procedure to Identify Subgroups in Targeted Therapy Development with Time-to-event Outc... (03/01/2020)

BIOST students Jia and Liu win national ENAR distinguished paper award 

BIOST students Jia and Liu win national ENAR distinguished paper award

Congratulations to Yichen Jia (BIOST ’22, front-left) and Peng Liu (BIOST '16 '21, front-right), winners of the national ENAR Distinguished Paper Award. The two doctoral students will present their award-winning work at one of the country's largest professional gatherings of biostatisticians, the E... (02/03/2020)

Meet Lingyun Lyu, Pitt Biostats MS graduate and PhD candidate  

Meet Lingyun Lyu, Pitt Biostats MS graduate and PhD candidate

Lingyun Lyu (BIOST PhD '22) is a second-year Ph.D. student in Biostatistics at Pitt Public Health. She came to Pitt in 2016 and earned her M.S. in Biostatistics in 2018. She loved the master’s program and thinks that it’s really well-designed. In addition to many essential statistical theory and ap... (12/09/2019)

Meet Peng Liu, MS grad, PhD candidate in biostatistics 

Meet Peng Liu, MS grad, PhD candidate in biostatistics

“I started doing research in the second year of my master’s program and that’s where I started to feel like research is kind of exciting and I enjoy doing it. My advisor at that time was Dr. Jonathan Yabes, who is also a graduate of our program and who is now working in the medical school. He helpe... (10/23/2019)
More Biostatistics Student News