PhD

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.

Careers

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

Competencies

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

Requirements

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, 2022-23)
Student Handbook (PDF, 2022-23)

Admissions

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 5.  

Apply online now

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

Questions?

biostat@pitt.edu

Why Pittsburgh?

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PLAN A VISIT

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

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Cai awarded for best research presentation at Graduate Student Research Conference 

Cai awarded for best research presentation at Graduate Student Research Conference

Congratulations to Manqi Cai (BIOST '24) who is one of four prize winners of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences (NISS) Graduate Student Research Conference 2022. Cai is recognized for the best presentation of original research for her presentation titled "Robust and accurate estimation ... (05/31/2022)
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Yue receives abstract scholarship and award at annual American Thoracic Society conference 

Yue receives abstract scholarship and award at annual American Thoracic Society conference

Congratulations to Molin Yue (BIOST) on receiving the abstract scholarship and 3rd place American Thoracic Society (ATS) Pediatric Trainee abstract award in San Francisco at the annual American Thoracic Society conference, the most prestigious clinical conference in pulmonary medicine. Yue presente... (05/25/2022)
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Na Bo wins ASA Student Paper Award 

Na Bo wins ASA Student Paper Award

Congratulations to Na Bo (BIOST '25) who won the 2022 ASA Student Paper Award, LiDS section, for her paper titled "A Meta-Learner Framework to Estimate Individualized Treatment Effects for Survival Outcomes".  Winners receive a cash prize to cover expenses for the Joint Statistical Meetings (JSM) c... (02/08/2022)
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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)
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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)
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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)
More Biostatistics Student News