Ph.D. STAT-BB: Program Requirements

Doctoral students in the Biostatistics/Bioinformatics (STAT-BB) program must fulfill several requirements prior to graduation, including coursework, candidacy exams, and a dissertation. Use the headings below to find details on each requirement.


A doctoral student must complete a minimum of 36 hours of formal courses (at least 27 at the 600/700 level) with at least a B average (3.0 on a 4.0 scale); at least 18 of the graduate credits must be taken in Statistics. In addition, the University requires at least 12 hours of STAT 899 or EPIB 899 (Doctoral research) given by any participating faculty member as the major advisor.

The following courses are required:

  • STAT 410 Introduction to Probability Theory
  • STAT 650 Applied Stochastic Processes
  • STAT 700 Mathematical Statistics I
  • STAT 701 Mathematical Statistics II
  • STAT 705 Computational Statistics
  • STAT 740 Linear Statistical Models I
  • STAT 741 Linear Statistical Models II (STAT 740 is the prerequisite)
  • STAT 770 Analysis of Categorical Data
  • STAT 702 Survival Analysis
  • STAT 899 or EPIB 899 Doctoral Research (12 credits)

In addition, each student is required to take at least three courses in STAT, EPIB, or CMSC with the approval of the Advisory Committee.

Students who focus their studies on biostatistics are also required to take at least two of the following three courses:

  • EPIB 652 Categorical Data Analysis
  • EPIB 653 Applied Survival Data Analysis
  • EPIB 655 Longitudinal Data Analysis

Students interested in bioinformatics will complete the required coursework and can select specialized courses such as:

  • CMSC 423 Bioinformatic Algorithms, Databases and Tools
  • CMSC 701 Computational Genomics
  • CMSC 702 Computational Systems Biology

Interested students can select a faculty advisor with expertise in computational biology but will be expected to have a solid background in computer science for this option.

Qualifying Requirements for PhD Students

1. Students must pass at least two written qualifying exams at the Ph.D. level from the following list:

  • Statistics (based on STAT 700-701)
  • Applied Statistics (based on STAT 740-741)
  • Applied Probability (based on STAT 410-650)
  • Biostatistics/Bioinformatics

These examinations will take place twice a year in January and August at the same time as the usual qualifying exams of the STAT program. The problems required for STAT-BB students in these exams will come from and be graded by the relevant faculty members who have taught those courses. A student may take one or more examinations at a time.

2. Students who choose to take only two written qualifying exams must take four semesters of coursework from the list below:

  • STAT 650* (Applied Stochastic Processes)
  • STAT 700, STAT 701* (Mathematical Statistics I, II)
  • STAT 740, STAT 741* (Applied Statistics I, II)
  • STAT 702 (Survival Analysis)
  • STAT 705 (Computational Statistics)
  • STAT 770 (Categorical Data Analysis)
  • EPIB 652 (Applied Categorical Analysis)
  • EPIB 653 (Applied Survival Analysis)
  • EPIB 655 (Longitudinal Data Analysis)
  • CMSC 701 (Computational Genomics)
  • CMSC 702 (Computational Systems Biology)

The grade in each of the four courses must be B (3.0) or better, and students must attain a GPA of at least 3.3 for the courses used to satisfy this requirement. Each of the courses used to satisfy this requirement must have serious assessments (graded homeworks, projects, etc.) There should be an assessment which can only be completed by the student, ( for example, in-class exams or oral presentations but not homework).

3. Courses marked with * may not be used to satisfy this requirement if the student has taken the corresponding written qualifying exam. For example, a student who passes the Applied Statistics exam may not use STAT 741 to satisfy Requirement 2.

Dissertation Advisors and Candidacy Examination Policies

1. Before taking the candidacy exam, each student must officially declare his/her dissertation advisor(s) by informing the Statistics Program Director. Each student will have an internal (co)advisor from either STAT or EPIB and may also have an external participating faculty member as (co)advisor. The STAT or EPIB (co)advisor will chair the dissertation committee. The Advisory Committee will advise the Statistics Program Director on the suitability of faculty as participating advisors.

2. Due to the vast breadth of this STAT-BB program, if a student passes the oral candidacy exam under one advisor and later wishes to change to a different dissertation advisor, upon the advice and decision of the Advisory Committee and Statistics Program Director, it may be required that the student first study under the new advisor, then re-take the candidacy exam.

The participating faculty will include members of the STAT and EPIB programs and certain members of the Computer Science Department (those specializing in bioinformatics). There will also be an association with faculty members of the Medical School at the U-M Baltimore campus.