Programs and Degrees
News, Seminars & Events
Information and Resources
Department of Biostatistics
Welcome Prospective Students
Thank you for your interest in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Michigan. If you have interest in a career developing and learning about mathematics and statistics used in biomedical research, we would like to invite you to consider joining our Department. Our deadline for applying for full consideration of funding is December 15, 2012, however applications for admission are considered on a rolling basis until the fall term begins.
- Our faculty and students conduct cutting-edge research in bioinformatics, imaging, longitudinal data, missing data, survival analysis, statistical genetics, and many other areas.
- We offer MS, MPH and PhD programs in Biostatistics.
- We offer excellent training in the development and application of statistical and mathematical methods to the design and analysis of biomedical research.
- We offer a large number of funding opportunities (link to funding) for our students including graduate student instructorships, graduate student research assistantships, training grants, scholarships, and fellowships.
- Our graduates have great job opportunities in fields such as academics, government, industry (e.g. biotech, pharmaceuticals) and medical research institutions.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Biostatistics concerns the development and application of statistical and mathematical methods to the design and analysis of studies in public health, biological, and biomedical research.
To contribute to the discovery and use of knowledge in the health field, a biostatistician must have considerable knowledge of health problems and of statistical techniques, including their theoretical foundations and their application to the processing and interpretation of data from health studies. Thus, each student’s program includes training in both the “bio” or life science, and “statistics” portions of biostatistics. These two components of training complement each other.
The specific objectives of the statistics portion of a student’s training are that the student be well-versed in the application of these techniques and have a thorough understanding of the theory behind these techniques. To implement these objectives, a wide range of courses are offered on statistical theory and application. Statistical computing is an important focus in the applied course work.
A specific objective for training in a “bio” area is to ensure that the biostatistics student develops enough knowledge for effective collaboration with scientists in that area.
Currently, faculty, staff and students in the Department of Biostatistics are engaged in the design and analysis of studies on the effects of exercise and medical treatment on the cardiovascular system, on clinical and basic research projects involving cancer, on the role of PET scans in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, on the control of diabetes, on methods for assessing the health of workers relative to exposure to contaminant, and on mapping the genes for adult-onset diabetes and several yes disorders. Biostatistics personnel are participating in the analysis and interpretation of studies on the cancer-causing potential of compounds in animals, on the treatment of osteoporosis, and on the care of burned patients. Biostatistics personnel are also involved in collaborative research on other basic medical, environmental, and epidemiological programs. In addition, there is emphasis within the department on research on biostatistical methodology for surveys, laboratory experiments, data management, clinical trials, generic studies, and epidemiological studies.
- The minimum mathematics prerequisite for admission is one-and-one-half years of calculus, a course in matrix or linear algebra, and an introductory course in statistics or biostatistics or the equivalent. It is recommended that students who have not had recent exposure to these prerequisites review these topics, particularly, but not limited to, multivariable calculus and matrix algebra.
- Additional mathematics or statistics courses, such as advanced calculus, numerical analysis , probability , statistical inference or courses involving data analysis are helpful but not required.
- Knowledge of a computer programming language such as C or Fortran or statistical software packages including SAS or R are helpful but not required.
- Courses in the life or behavioral sciences are also desirable but not required.
- The minimum grade point average required for admission is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and successful applicants must have demonstrated an ability to earn grades of B or better in mathematics and statistics courses. We recommend applying for the MS program if you do not have a graduate degree comparable to our MS in Biostatistics. There is a fast track available within the MS program for those intending to go on to our PhD program. Admission decisions are based upon grades in relevant courses taken from your transcript(s), GRE scores, three letters of recommendation and a Statement of Purpose. Foreign students are also required to take a TOEFL exam as part of the application process.
- Students with inadequate preparation in mathematics or statistics may be admitted conditionally to the Master's program with the stipulation that the prerequisites be taken prior to the beginning of the Fall term. Courses in calculus, matrix or linear algebra, or in introductory biostatistics will not be counted toward the credits needed to fulfill the degree requirements.
- If one is unable to complete the prerequisites prior to Fall term, there is a possibility of admission as a non-candidate-for-degree in order to take missing pre-requisites from the University of Michigan. This would most likely add an additional year of study during which one would not be considered for funding opportunities. A subsequent application to the Master's program is required to move from non-candidate-for-degree status. Hence the best course of action is usually to complete missing prerequisites prior to arriving in the Fall.
- The best time to visit the department is during the Prospective Students Day in Fall or the Open House in Spring. However the department can accommodate students whose schedules cannot allow them to attend these two events. To schedule a visit call Nicole Fenech at 734-615-9817.
- Applicants for the M.S. or Ph.D. programs should fill out a Rackham School application. An M.P.H. program application is available through SOPHAS (Schools of Public Health Application Service).
- For students whose native language is not English, the TOEFL must have been taken within 2 years of the time the application is sent in unless the student possesses a degree from an accredited institution of higher learning in the U.S. or other English speaking country where the majority of instruction is in English. TOEFL scores are sent electronically from ETS directly to the University of Michigan (institution code: 1839). There are currently three types of TOEFL exam formats: 1) computer based (2) paper based and (3) internet based. The University requires students to take English Language Institute courses if the score falls in a low range.
- 1. For a computer-based TOEFL score, one needs a minimum score of 220 (out of 300) for UM admission. If one’s score is between 220 and 250, or if any section score is below 25, or the test of written English is below 5.0, one is required by UM to take more English upon arrival.
- 2. For a paper-based TOEFL score, one needs a minimum score of 560 (of 677 points) for UM admission. If a paper-based TOEFL score is between 560 and 600, or any section score is below 60, or the test of written English is below 5.0, one is required by UM to take more English upon arrival.
- 3. For an internet-based TOEFL score, one needs a minimum score of 84 (of 120 points) for UM admission. If an internet-based TOEFL score is between 84 and102, or section scores are below specified cutoffs (RD below 26, LIST below 26, SPK below 23 or WR below 27), one is required by UM to take more English upon arrival.
- To be considered for funding opportunities, higher TOEFL scores give an advantage as strong English communication skills are weighed heavily in these decisions.
- There are no cut-off scores. Admission is based on a combination of factors among them: GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, courses taken in the past etc...
- The code for both the GRE and TOEFL is 1839.
- For transfer credit guidelines to an M.S. see http://www.rackham.umich.edu/masters_students/ , for M.P.H., http://www.sph.umich.edu/academics/policies/transfer_credit.html . No There is not transfer of credits to a P.h.D program.
- Minimum requirements
- Completed Application MS. Ph.D. or M.P.H.
- GRE scores
- TOEFL scores (if your most recent academic degree is from a university where English is NOT the primary language of instruction)
- Three letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose
- Personal statement