MS to PhD Admissions

Biostatistics MS students interested in the PhD degree program have the opportunity to internally apply to the program in the summer after their first year, if eligible. The MS-to-PhD admissions process is as rigorous as the regular admissions process; typically one highly qualified student is admitted from the MS to the PhD program each year. This internal application is only available in the summer of the first year. Once admitted, the student switches to the PhD track and commences second year PhD coursework. Students who are not accepted are required to resume and complete all MS degree requirements, but may re-apply to the PhD through the UW Graduate School Application process. 

Current MS students interested in applying to the PhD degree program should see admission requirements and application process below.

Eligibility requirements

  1. Pass the First Year (MS) Statistical Theory Examination at the PhD level and
  2. Earn a grade that is no lower than 3.0 in STAT 512 & 513 and BIOST 514 & 515.

Admission review factors

The MS-to-PhD admissions process is as rigorous as the regular admissions process. The applicant must demonstrate the ability to do PhD-level work as well as an engagement with the field. The Admissions Committee will consider the following as they review each application: 

  • Mastery of first year knowledge and skills demonstrated by:
    • Engagement in class, class exam scores, and overall course grades.
    • Performance on the First Year Theory Exam.
  • Strong research skills as well as potential for PhD-level work (e.g., Independent Study with a faculty member resulting in a research project, RA work resulting in a project, research resulting in a publication, etc.) as evidenced by:
    • Letter of recommendation from Biostatistics faculty.
    • Publication(s), grants received, etc. 
  • Engagement with the field and department as well as a spirit of curiosity and independent inquiry as demonstrated by:
    • Regularly attending Department Seminars and interacting with the guest speaker and faculty.
    • Meaningfully contributing to Student Seminar by attending, presenting research, asking questions, and sharing feedback with the student presenters. 
    • Communicating with/asking questions of course instructors regarding class material and other aspects of the field.
    • Seeking out opportunities to talk with/learn from faculty, guest speakers, and more senior students in the department.

To apply

  1. The student submits a revised Statement of Purpose and arranges for one Letter of Recommendation to be submitted from a Biostatistics faculty member.
  2. This material is sent to, shortly after the First Year Theory Exam. The MS-to-PhD application deadline is provided to eligible students in their First Year Theory Exam results letter.

Review process and decisions

  1. The Admissions Committee reviews the application materials listed above along with the student's UW transcript.
  2. Admissions decisions are communicated by the end of July.