Jul 20, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biostatistics, Ph.D.

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Admission Requirements

Applicants to the Ph.D. program in biostatistics must hold a bachelor’s degree and must have taken mathematics courses through advanced calculus and linear algebra. Some background in biology or medicine is helpful but not required. Applicants must have taken the GRE graduate school admission test and have excellent English communication skills. International students applying from countries where English is not the native language are required to provide scores on the TOEFL English language proficiency test. This requirement is waived for students who have received undergraduate degrees from an English-language institution located in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in biostatistics requires a minimum of 60 credit hours, no more than 12 of which can be in dissertation research. Students complete their coursework in two to three years (four courses per term in the first year, three or four courses per term in the second year, and the final two years consisting primarily of research). In addition, students must pass the Comprehensive Exams, the Ph.D. Qualifying Exam, and the prospectus exam, and complete and defend a dissertation.

Modern Computational Biology (1-3 Credit Hours)

Students must take at least one credit hour in statistical genetics, genomics, or bioinformatics. Students can satisfy this requirement by taking either an elective at SMU (see below for options) or one of the courses offered each spring at UT Southwestern.

Elective Courses (15-26 Credit Hours)

The Department of Statistical Science offers advanced elective courses each semester. Students complete the remaining required credit hours from among these courses, or from courses offered in other departments at SMU or UTSW with approval from the program director. Students may also take reading courses to satisfy elective credits; registration in reading courses is reserved for doctoral students who have passed the Basic Exam and are either discerning a dissertation topic or undertaking the early stages of dissertation research. Examples of frequently offered electives include the following:

Comprehensive Exams

Students must pass the Comprehensive (Basic) Exams, typically at the end of the first year.

Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

This is a personalized exam that assesses the student’s readiness for research. It is typically taken before the end of the second year.

Prospectus Exam

Students present initial dissertation results and a proposal for the remainder of the dissertation.

Dissertation (0-12 Credit Hours)

Students must write and successfully defend a dissertation. While not required, students may choose to enroll in dissertation research courses, with no more than 12 credit hours counting toward the degree (STAT 8198 , STAT 8398 , STAT 8698 ).

Total: 60 Credit Hours

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