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Biostatistics

Department Overview

The department is a center for development and application of statistical methodology across the health sciences, and has collaborative partnerships with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle Children’s hospital Research Institute, Group Health Cooperative, and the Veterans’ Administration. To complement research, the department recently established the Center for Biomedical Statistics to provide consulting and collaborative services.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
H655 Health Sciences, Box 357232
(206) 543-1044
bioadmit@uw.edu

The department offers master of science, master of public health, and doctor of philosophy degrees in quantitative methods applied to the medical and biological sciences. As technological advances generate huge quantities of information, biostatistical tools and concepts are critical for the analysis of these data. Techniques and viewpoints of mathematics and statistics, traditionally peripheral to biology and medicine, are now woven into the life sciences, thereby providing new opportunities in research and teaching.

The biostatistics graduate program equips students to develop and apply the quantitative techniques of mathematics, statistics, and computing appropriate to medicine, biology, and other health-science disciplines.

The department produces graduates at all levels. Students are recruited from programs in mathematics, statistics, and biology and are selected on the basis of quantitative ability.

Master of Public Health

Combines broad training in public health with specific training in biostatistics. Includes core courses in biostatistics, environmental health, epidemiology, health services, and social and behavioral sciences. Successful candidates complete a public health practicum and write a research-based master's thesis. For individuals who anticipate careers as data analysts in public health research or practice and for individuals who plan doctoral work in public health or biomedical field, but who want more methodological training than those PhD programs offer.

Admission Requirements

Doctoral-level degree in another field (e.g., MD, PhD, JD) or currently working on such a doctoral degree. Candidates are not awarded the biostatistics-pathway MPH until they are awarded their doctoral degree. All other prerequisites and required materials are the same for MS, MPH, and PhD applicants.

Degree Requirements

63 credits

  1. Biostatistics Core Courses: BIOST 514, BIOST 515; BIOST 524; BIOST 536, BIOST 537; BIOST 580; BIOST 590. BIOST 514, BIOST 515, BIOST 524, BIOST 536, and BIOST 537 – all taken for a numerical grade, with a minimum 3.0 grade in each course.
  2. Non-biostatistics Core Courses: EPI 512, EPI 513; HSERV 510, HSERV 511; ENV H 511; G H 515. All non-biostatistics core courses taken for a numerical grade, with a minimum 2.7 grade in each non-biostatistics core course and a minimum 3.00 cumulative GPA.
  3. Biostatistics Elective Courses: 6 credits of any approved biostatistics MS elective, or STAT 512 or STAT 513
  4. Biostatistics MPH Practicum: BIOST 595 (3). Three credits in an organization or agency that provides planning or services relevant to public health.
  5. Master’s Thesis: 9 credits of BIOST 700.

See department website for further information on degree requirements.

Master of Science

Offers advanced training in biostatistics. Includes coursework in biostatistics, statistics, and one or more biomedical fields. Successful candidates pass a master's theory examination and write a research-based master's thesis. For individuals who anticipate a career as a data analyst in public health or biomedical research or practice and for individuals who plan doctoral work in a public health or biomedical field, but want more methodological training than those PhD programs offer.

Admission Requirements

  1. 30 or more quarter credits in mathematics and statistics, to include two years of calculus (including multivariate calculus), one course in linear algebra, and one course in probability theory.
  2. Students may apply from an undergraduate major in mathematics, statistics, or a biological field, or are occasionally admitted with backgrounds in other fields.

Potential MS students may enter the graduate program in biostatistics from an undergraduate major in mathematics, statistics, or a biological field. Students are occasionally admitted with backgrounds in other fields; however, all applicants must have 30 or more quarter credits in mathematics and statistics to include two years of calculus (including multivariate calculus), one course in linear algebra, and one course in probability theory.

Degree Requirements

63 credits

  1. Required Courses: BIOST 514, BIOST 515, BIOST 536, BIOST 537, BIOST 580, BIOST 590, STAT 512, STAT 513. Minimum 3.0 grade in each required course (except BIOST 580 and BIOST 590). Required courses may be waived based on prior coursework; the minimum 3.0 grade requirement may be waived when subsequent performance on a relevant qualifying examination is excellent.
  2. Elective Credits: 12 elective credits, including minimum 6 credits with a methodology emphasis, and 6 credits with a biology or public health emphasis (See department for elective-credit lists.)
  3. Examinations: Students who enroll in STAT 512 and STAT 513 must take the MS theory examination the following summer, and if failed, must pass it the following year.
  4. Master's Thesis: BIOST 700 (18 credits). Waived for students who have passed all PhD qualifying examinations at a level appropriate for PhD students. If BIOST 700, BIOST 536, and BIOST 537 are waived, the student must take and pass all required coursework for the PhD degree, including BIOST 533, BIOST 570, STAT 581, STAT 582, STAT 583 and, depending on the pathway, BIOST 571 and BIOST 572, or BIOST 550, BIOST 551, and BIOST 552.

See department website for further information on degree requirements.

Doctor of Philosophy

Includes coursework in biostatistics, statistics, and one or more public health or biomedical fields. Successful candidates must pass PhD applied and theory examinations, complete a biology project, and write a dissertation that reports the results of new biostatistical research undertaken by the candidate.

Admission Requirements

  1. 30 or more quarter credits in mathematics and statistics, to include two years of calculus (including multivariate calculus), one course in linear algebra, and one course in probability theory.
  2. Students apply from programs in mathematics, statistics, or a biological field, or are occasionally admitted with backgrounds in other fields.

Degree Requirements

Minimum 103 credits

Standard Pathway

  1. Required Courses: BIOST 514; BIOST 515; BIOST 533; BIOST 570; BIOST 571; BIOST 572; BIOST 580, BIOST 590, BIOST 800; MATH 576, or equivalent; STAT 512, STAT 513; STAT 581, STAT 582, STAT 583
  2. Minimum 3.0 grade in each required course (except BIOST 580, BIOST 590, or BIOST 800). A placement examination may be taken to waive STAT 512 and STAT 513. Required courses may be waived based on prior coursework; minimum 3.0 grade may be waived when subsequent performance on a relevant qualifying examination is excellent.
  3. Electives (15 credits): Minimum 6 credits with a methodology emphasis and 9 credits with a biology or public health emphasis. Minimum 2.7 grade for elective courses. See department for elective-credit lists.
  4. Examinations: A PhD student who enrolls in STAT 512 and STAT 513 takes the MS theory examination the following summer; the PhD statistical theory examination within two years following first-time completion of STAT 581, STAT 582, STAT 583; the PhD applied examination within two years of first-time completion of BIOST 570; and general and final examinations.
  5. Teaching Assistant: Serve as a TA for at least one quarter.

Statistical Genetics Pathway

  1. Prerequisites: GENOME 371 (or equivalent); GENOME 372, GENOME 453, or GENOME 465 (or equivalent)
  2. Required Courses: BIOST 514, BIOST 515, BIOST 533, BIOST 550, BIOST 551, BIOST 552, BIOST 570, BIOST 581, BIOST 590, BIOST 800; STAT 512, STAT 513, STAT 581, STAT 582, STAT 583; MATH 576 (or equivalent); GENOME 540 or GENOME 541; GENOME 562
  3. Minimum 3.0 grade in each required course (except BIOST 581, BIOST 590, or BIOST 800). A placement examination may be taken to waive STAT 512 and STAT 513. Required courses may be waived based on prior coursework; minimum 3.0 grade in selected courses may be waived when subsequent performance on a relevant qualifying examination is excellent.
  4. Elective Credits: at least 4 credits of elective courses with a methodology emphasis. Minimum 2.7 grade. See department for elective course list
  5. Examinations: A PhD student who enrolls in STAT 512 and STAT 513 takes the MS theory examination the following summer; the PhD statistical theory examination within two years following first-time completion of STAT 581, STAT 582, STAT 583; the PhD applied examination within two years of first-time completion of BIOST 570; and general and final examinations.
  6. Teaching Assistant: Serve as a TA for at least one quarter.

See the department website for further information on degree requirements.