A faculty member points at a laptop screen while talking to a student

Biostatistics Ph.D. Program

Our Ph.D. in biostatistics program is ideal for students who want to dive into a comprehensive curriculum, work on cutting-edge research projects and publish their work.

Applications due January 8 for fall 2024 admission!

Our students serve as biostatisticians on research assistantships in collaboration with health sciences researchers and organizations, which often leads to collaborative, peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Students also earn credit each semester via our Biostatistical Consulting Laboratory where they help design studies, create and maintain research databases, analyze data and report statistical evidence.

The first two summers are spent working with faculty members on a health sciences or methodological research project.

Optional Concentration

Students can add an optional concentration that allows specialization within biostatistics:

Financial Support

Full-time Ph.D. students are eligible for stipend and full tuition support. Stipends start at $34,000 a year (in addition to tuition and fees) for up to five years and are contingent upon availability and student performance. We aim to support all full-time students.

Students who receive full support are not permitted to hold other jobs. Priority for financial assistance is given to students who apply by Dec. 1 prior to the fall semester. Applications will be accepted until Jan. 8 for fall admission.

The VCU Graduate School also provides financial advising and opportunities.

Student Profile

Students in our Ph.D. program typically:

  • Pursue leadership positions in the pharmaceutical industry or government
  • Seek a university faculty appointment
  • Have extensive theoretical backgrounds

Meet our students

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants for the Ph.D. in biostatistics (including the genomics concentration) must complete the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections of the Graduate Record Exam.

All applicants are expected to hold at least a B.S. or B.A. degree and have completed courses as specified in the VCU Bulletin (multivariate calculus, linear algebra, probability theory, and statistics). The deadline to be considered for admission with full funding is December 1, 2023. (Additional applications may be accepted until January 8, 2024, but funding consideration is not guaranteed.)

Our departmental admissions committee evaluates all applicants for graduate work in biostatistics and arranges personal interviews when possible.

Complete Ph.D. admission requirements

Admissions items to note:

  • Unofficial test scores (GRE) and transcripts are suitable for the application. Admitted students will need to submit official materials before the fall 2024 semester begins.
  • International students no longer need to provide evaluated transcripts. The International Admissions office at VCU will evaluate educational materials internally.

Degree Requirements

In addition to the general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, Ph.D. students must complete a minimum total of 78 credit hours (59 didactic hours, eight hours each of seminar and consulting, and three hours of research).

After completing the eight core courses (BIOS 513, BIOS 514, BIOS 524, BIOS 601, BIOS 602, BIOS 606, BIOS 653, and BIOS 654), students must pass a two-part qualifying examination to continue in the Ph.D. program. A dissertation and proposal defense are also required.

Ph.D. curriculum and exams

Ph.D. Student Perspective - Christine Orndahl

“I believe that the engagement of the faculty in my learning is unparalleled. I have been able to go to faculty with questions, and they have taken the time to make sure that I not only know the answer, but also that I understand the process.  Because the department is on the smaller side, I don't feel like I am just a number, but a person who has aspirations that the faculty and my peers are willing to help me achieve.”