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, 2019-20)
Student Handbook (PDF, 2019-20)

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 1.  

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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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)
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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)
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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)
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Barbour: 2019 Early Career Excellence Award 

Barbour: 2019 Early Career Excellence Award

Kamil Barbour (BIOST ’11, EPI ’10) is an epidemiologist with the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion for the CDC, currently serving as team lead of the State Chronic Disease Epidemiology Assignee Program. In this hand-selected role, he supervises four senior-level ... (04/22/2019)
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Liu's paper selected for Distinguished Student Paper Award 

Liu's paper selected for Distinguished Student Paper Award

Peng Liu's (BIOST '16, '21) paper "MethylSeqDesign: A framework for Methyl-Seq genome-wide power calculation and study design issues" has been selected for the Distinguished Student Paper Award. Congratulations!  (02/11/2019)
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Pitt Public health students competed and won at Code4PA code-a-thon competition 

Pitt Public health students competed and won at Code4PA code-a-thon competition

At this year's Code4PA event, two teams of Pitt Public Health students won prizes in the regional competition and advanced to the final round. A team of four, including HUANG LIN (BIOS '20), QING YIN (BIOS '21), AND LINGYUN LYU (BIOS '22), won best use of a case/visualization. The other team, inclu... (11/07/2018)
More Biostatistics Student News