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PhD in Biostatistics

Offering Department: 
Program Description: 

Biostatistics is one of the most exciting areas of applied statistics - biostatisticians collaborate with scientists in nearly every area related to health and biology. Statistical models and methodologies have provided invaluable insight into the etiology of AIDS, cancer, genetics, psychology and numerous other areas of scientific research. The PhD degree program in Biostatistics trains biostatisticians to solve problems in the health sciences and to develop biostatistical methodology. Training combines mathematical statistics, biostatistical methods and a third-field specialization. It is designed to train statisticians who can apply statistical methods to solve problems in the health field and who can conduct theoretical research in statistical methodology.

Preparation for the Degree: 

Mathematics preparation for the program should include at least two years of calculus:

  • ŸMath 31A, B Calculus and Analytic Geometry
  • ŸMath 32A, B Calculus of Several Variables
  • ŸMath 33A, B Matrices, Differential Equations, Infinite Series
  • ŸMath 115A Linear Algebra
  • ŸMath 131A Real Analysis

Biostatistics preparation for the program should include:

  • ŸBiostatistics 202B Topics in Estimation
  • ŸBiostatistics 200A, B, C Biostatistics
  • ŸBiostatistics M215 Survival Analysis

Students entering the Ph.D. with little or no prior background in probability and statistics normally take the following courses during the first year of graduate study: Biostatistics 110A, 110B, 200A, 202A and 202B.

Program Requirements

The program requires the completion of the following elements:

1. Course Requirements

Unless previously taken, students are required to take the following courses:

Field 1: Biostatistics

  • Biostatistics 250A: B Linear Models
  • Biostatistics 251: Multivariate Biostatistics
  • Biostatistics 255: Advanced Topics and Probability in Biostatistics
  • Biostatistics 245: Doctoral Seminar (for more info see #3)
  • Biostatistics 409: Biostatistics Consulting (for more info see #4)
  • One 4-unit course in the Department of Epidemiology (100, 200A)
  • One 4-unit course in board public health (PH 150 or HPM M242)
  • Biostatatistics Special Topics from the 230, 270, 280 series (any 3, 4-unit courses) courses used for the MS degree at UCLA cannot be used here

Field 2: Mathematical Statistics

  • Statistics 200B, C: Large Sample Theory, Including Re-sampling (Recommended Biostat 256, by blue petition) 

Recommended: Applied Probability

  • Statistics 200A
  • Biomathematics 203 

Field 3: (field of application)

The third field should be an area of application of Biostatistics such as AIDS, biology, bioinformatics, epidemiology, infectious diseases, medicine, pharmacology, physiology, psychology, zoology or public health. Electives should be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor. The requirements include at least 16 graduate-course units.

Required courses toward the degree must be taken on a letter grade basis, with the exception of Biostat 245 & 409. 

2. Written Examinations

Before advancement to candidacy, students must pass two written qualifying examinations and the University Oral Qualifying Examination. The written mathematical statistics examination is normally taken in Fall Quarter of the second year in residence. The written biostatistics examination is normally taken in Fall Quarter of the second year. The University Oral Qualifying Examination is taken before advancement to candidacy and after successful completion of the written examinations. The examination is administered by the doctoral committee and usually consists of a preliminary defense of the dissertation proposal. A failed examination may be repeated once. The timing of reexaminations is specified by the department in the case of written examinations or by the student's committee in the case of the oral examination. Students who do not take the reexaminations at the specified time forfeit their right to reexamination.
 

a) Theoretical Statistics Written Qualifying Examination

Courses that help to prepare for the examination include the following:

  • Biostatistics 202A: Theoretical Principles of Biostatistics
  • Biostatistics 202B: Topics in Estimation
  • Biostatistics 255: Advanced Topics and Probability in Biostatistics
  • Biostatistics 256: Advanced Methods of Mathematical Studies
  • Statistics 200B, C: Statistical Theory 

b) Biostatistics Written Qualifying Examination

Courses that help to prepare for the examination include the following:

  • Biostatistics 110A: B Basic Biostatistics
  • Biostatistics 202A: Theoretical Principles of Biostatistics
  • Biostatistics 202B: Topics in Estimation
  • Biostatistics 200A, B, C: Biostatistics
  • Biostatistics M215: Survival Analysis
  • Biostatistics 250A: B Linear Models
  • Biostatistics 251: Multivariate Biostatistics 

3. Doctoral Seminar: Biostatistics 245

All doctoral students must register for Biostatistics 245, advanced seminar, every quarter and attend regular weekly seminar scheduled by the Department. At least once each year, each student will present a seminar. 

4. Consulting: Biostatistics 409

All registered doctoral students must also enroll in Biostatistics 409 (doctoral statistical consulting seminar: field training course) for three consecutive quarters before advancement to candidacy.

5. Oral Examinations and Dissertation

a) Oral Qualifying Examination

The student’s understanding of statistical theory and his/her ability to apply it is evaluated in this oral examination. The proposed dissertation topic is also reviewed. The student must pass this examination before official advancement to candidacy.

b) Dissertation and Defense

After successfully completing a dissertation under the guidance of a Biostatistics faculty member, an oral examination defending the dissertation is required.

Time To Degree

The PhD in Biostatistics is typically a four-year year program after the MS, although some students may complete the program in less time.

Typical Course Sequencing

The sequence of classes to be taken during the first year of study depends on the student’s background. Doctoral students establish a sequence of courses in consultation with their academic advisor to best prepare them for the Comprehensive exams.

Admissions

Desired Qualifications

In addition to the University’s minimum requirements, applicants for the PhD should have a good MS background in Statistics, or occasionally in other fields. They should have an extra year of mathematics, and demonstrated ability to succeed at the highest level.

Mathematics preparation for the program should include at least two years of calculus:

  • Math 31A, B: Calculus and Analytic Geometry
  • Math 32A, B: Calculus of Several Variables
  • Math 33A, B: Matrices, Differential Equations, Infinite Series
  • Math 115A: Linear Algebra
  • Math 131A: Real Analysis

Biostatistics preparation for the program should include:

  • Biostatistics 202B: Topics in Estimation
  • Biostatistics 200A, B, C: Biostatistics
  • Biostatistics M215: Survival Analysis

Students entering the PhD with little or no prior background in probability and statistics normally take the following course during the first year of graduate study: Biostatistics 110A, 110B, 200A, 202A and 202B.

Admissions Process

Applicants are only admitted in the Fall.  Applicants who wish to be considered for all financial aid considerations should have their applications, letters, transcripts and official GRE scores here at the School of Public Health by December 1 of the year preceding the desired entrance year.

The department will accept late applications, but we encourage you to apply as early as possible. After June 1 you should probably consider applying for the following year's admission cycle. Late applicants are less likely to be considered for financial aid.

The application process has three steps. You must:

  1. Submit an on-line application and pay the application fee at SOPHAS,
  2. Submit an online application and pay the application fee at UCLA Graduate Admissions, and
  3. Mail required academic documents and test scores to SOPHAS and to UCLA's School of Public Health.

For complete application instructions and the list of required materials, review UCLA School of Public Health Admission Application Check List and Submission Instructions.

As we receive many more qualified applicants for the program than there are available spaces, meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission to the program.  

Tuition and Fees

Total new student mandatory fees for 2015-16 for residents are $15,929.74. For new student non-residents, total mandatory fees are $31,031.74.  Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

Please see FSPH Financial Opportunities page for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment, summer internship funding, and need-based aid. Please note that opportunities listed under 'Summer Internship Funding' are only applicable to MPH students.

Careers

Graduates from UCLA's Biostatistics programs are recruited by top-notch employers. Our students get jobs at excellent universities, companies, and government agencies. Many graduates stay in the Los Angeles area or elsewhere in California, but our graduates are recruited by employers across the United States and indeed around the world.

Graduates of the program can contribute to transforming health in a number of ways, whether it be through their work as faculty members, as leaders in government research organizations, or through work in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, to name a few. Graduates with a UCLA PhD are exceptionally well prepared for academic careers and for industry and government careers.

Faculty in this Department

For a list of faculty in this department, please click here.

To search all School of Public Health faculty members by name, department or area of expertise, click here.

Helpful Links

Who to Contact for More Information

For more information or for questions on the program, please contact Roxy Naranjo at rlnaranjo@ph.ucla.edu or 310.267.2186.

 

*This information is intended as an overview, and should be used as a guide only. Requirements, course offerings and other elements may change, and this overview may not list all details of the program. 

Attachments: 

* Admission requirements listed are Departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

** Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.