Degree Requirements

  • 6 quarters of BIOST 580 (seminar) are required
  • 18 credits of BIOST 700 (Master’s Thesis) are required.
  • Elective credits: 6 elective credits from Elective List One and 6 elective credits from Elective List Two.
  • Minimum 3.0 grade in each required course and 2.7 minimum in each elective course. Elective courses may be taken S/NS. This is because, to earn the grade of "S," students must achieve a 2.7 or higher.
  • First Year (MS) Statistical Theory Examination (taken after completing STAT 512 and 513). MS Students must pass this exam. NOTE: If a student enrolls in STAT 512 and STAT 513, he or she must take and pass the First (MS) theory examination the following summer. If this examination is failed, it must be passed the following year.
    Additional Course Recommendations
    • In preparation for work on their Thesis, students are expected to master research, presentation, and computational skills at the level covered in BIOST 561, BIOST 562, and BIOST 563. Taking these courses in the first year of MS studies is recommended.
    MS Students Interested in Applying to the PhD Pathway

    In order to be considered for the Ph.D. Pathway, a MS student must pass the First Year (MS) Theory Exam at the Ph.D. level and have a minimum grade no lower than 3.0 in STAT 512/513 and BIOST 514/515.

    • Application process: The student must submit a request to the Admission Committee to change from the MS to the Ph.D. Pathway along with a revised Statement of Purpose and a Letter of Recommendation from a Biostatistics faculty member supporting the change. The request and accompanying material should be submitted within two weeks after the results of the First Year (MS) Theory Exam are known. The Admissions Committee will review the request and respond by the end of July before the beginning of the student’s second year.
    Department Expectations

    Expectations for All Students
    All students in the Department of Biostatistics are expected to participate in the annual Department Retreat, usually held in mid-September.


    Student Progress Expectations for MS Students
    Year 1:

    • Get a Minimum grade of 3.0 in BIOST 514/515 and in STAT 512/513
    • Take at least one List 1 or List 2 Elective Spring Quarter with a Minimum grade of 2.7
    • Take and Pass First Year (MS) Theory Exam
    • Take BIOST 563 Summer Quarter

    Year 2:

    • Identify Thesis Advisor and Thesis Topic no later than Autumn Quarter
    • Start Thesis Credits (BIOST 700) no later than Winter Quarter
    • Get a Minimum grade of 3.0 in BIOST 536/537
    • Complete List1 and List 2 Electives with Minimum grades of 2.7
    • Take and Pass Consulting class
    • Identify Thesis Readers, Complete Thesis and Graduate no later than Summer Quarter


    Department Policy on Waiving Course Requirements
    In order to facilitate more rapid progress through the programs of study administered by the Department of Biostatistics, the departmental faculty will consider petitions for waiving required coursework as described by the policy guidelines given below.

    General Policy

    The overarching principles of this policy are:

    Only in the most extraordinary circumstances can the above general policy be waived for an individual student, and then only if agreed by the faculty as a whole.

    • That the students, through prior comparable coursework at other institutions, have acquired mastery of the overwhelming majority of material taught in the course to be waived,
    • That the students will pursue more advanced coursework in the general area of the course being waived,
    • That by waiving the coursework, the students will be able to make more rapid progress toward completion of the degree, and
    • That any decision to grant the petition for a waiver will be formally documented by the students’ academic advisors, a committee administering a placement exam and/or the current instructors for the course, and the graduate program office for the department. Such documentation must be completed prior to the quarter that the student would normally take the waived course.
    • In general, no students will be allowed a waiver of the requirements for biostatistical consulting (BIOST 590).
    • In general, no students will be allowed a waiver of the requirements for 6 credits in departmental seminars.
    • In general, no students will be allowed a waiver of the requirement for electives with a methodologic emphasis (Elective List One).
    • In general, no students will be allowed a waiver of the requirement for electives with a biology or public health emphasis (Elective List Two).