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Doctor of Philosophy


Program of Study

The biostatistics doctorate requires you to earn 60 credits and complete a dissertation. For the first two years, you follow the curriculum for the master’s in biostatistics program. After that, you work with your faculty advisor to develop a specialization through your remaining coursework. Finally, you design a biostatistical study in your area of interest and report your findings in a publishable report.


See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

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Research Opportunities

Learn first-hand from faculty who actively address public health issues facing New York State (NYS). More than 75% of faculty in the School of Public Health hold appointments with the NYS Department of Health, which provides many research opportunities in the labs of the internationally recognized Wadsworth Center.

You may also work with biotechnology firms located on UAlbany’s Health Sciences Campus and with faculty in the University’s Cancer Research Center, Prevention Research Center, Public Health Preparedness Center, Cardiac Quality Improvement Initiative, and Center for Health Workforce Studies.

Research Topics

Biostatistics students frequently work on research projects related to vector-borne diseases, human immunodeficiency virus, sexually transmitted diseases, hospital admissions, vital records, toxicology, outbreak investigations, chronic diseases, nutrition, and environmental and occupational epidemiology.


Career Paths

The PhD program in Biostatistics prepares you for employment in multiple settings including universities, hospitals, public health and other government agencies, nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and health care and pharmaceutical companies.

Alumni have obtained academic research and teaching positions at Duke University, Pennsylvania State University, John Hopkins University, and Harvard University.

Other doctorate students pursue jobs with titles like: nutritional epidemiology statistician, pharmacogenomics statistical analyst, health economist, geospatial statistician, clinical research analyst, disease control specialist, medical research biostatistician, and quantitative health analyst.

Classroom biostatistics presentation

International Students

This degree is designated as a STEM program. International students maintaining F-1 status are allowed to apply for up to 12 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion/graduation from their degree program. Currently, this degree program is also designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an eligible degree for the F-1 STEM OPT work authorization extension; students who secure qualifying employment may be eligible to apply for the STEM OPT extension for a cumulative total of up to 36 months of F-1 OPT work authorization.

Admission Requirements


Priority: January 5

Applicants who wish to be considered for a doctoral graduate assistantship or scholarship must submit their application by the priority deadline.  Some scholarships require that applications be received earlier than the published priority deadline. Students who wish to be considered for one of the early submission scholarships should consult our Financing Your Degree page and must submit the degree application and any additional required documents by the stated date for that scholarship.

Fee waivers are available for the first program you apply to in SOPHAS to cover the initial $145 application fee. There are three types of fee waivers: financial-based, service-based, and international-based. You may only apply for one type of fee waiver, and the waiver request must be submitted before you submit your SOPHAS application. Fee waivers are granted on a first come, first served basis, so applicants are strongly encouraged to apply before the priority deadline when requesting a waiver. For more information, visit SOPHAS Fees and Fee Waivers.

Applications may be accepted on a space available basis after the priority deadline. Contact the department directly at [email protected] with questions about submitting your application after the priority deadline.

PhD Biostatistics Degree Application

The application and all supporting materials for the PhD in Biostatistics must be submitted through SOPHAS.

Visit the SOPHAS Applicant Help Center for help with starting your SOPHAS application.


Application Requirements

  • Must hold a bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing
  • MS degree in Biostatistics is strongly recommended
  • Grade point average of 3.00 or better
  • It is very strongly recommended* to have an undergraduate major in mathematics, statistics, computer science, the biology, physical or social sciences
  • One semester in linear algebra, multivariate calculus and computer programming

*Students with undergraduate majors in areas other than those listed may be admitted on the basis of relevant work experience and course work as a non-major in the recommended disciplines. Linear algebra, multivariate calculus and computer programming are required for the successful completion of the program.  Highly qualified students who are deficient in these prerequisites may make up such deficiencies.

For application specific questions, contact us at [email protected].


International Requirements

  • International students must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 98 or IELTS score of 7.0. We will only accept official scores sent by the testing institution.
  • UAlbany SOPHAS TOEFL code is 5688. We do not use department codes. 
  • The TOEFL or IELTS is not required for international students who have completed at least four semesters of full-time study within a four-year time frame from time of application, and maintained at least a B average at a college or university in the United States or a country from an approved list.  For questions regarding English Language Proficiency waivers, please email Soha Acosta at [email protected].
  • International students must request a transcript evaluation from World Education Services (WES). The WES evaluation must be sent directly to SOPHAS, NOT the University at Albany or the School of Public Health.

Required Application Materials

Official transcripts 

  • Official transcripts from EVERY post-secondary academic institution attended, including college coursework completed during high school, must be sent directly from the institution to SOPHAS. You must report all colleges and universities attended and submit official transcripts, even if your transfer credits are listed on your primary transcript. See Sending Official Transcripts for more guidelines.
  • UAlbany students must have an official UAlbany transcript sent directly to SOPHAS.
  • Applicants who use the transcript entry service provided by SOPHAS should note that the entry process adds TWO FULL WEEKS to the time it takes for an application to be verified and considered complete by the admissions committee.


Standardized Exam

  • The standardized test requirement may be waived for applicants who have completed a graduate degree program from an accredited US institution and received a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the program. Applicants should consult directly with the department to determine waiver eligibility.   

Three letters of recommendation

  • A minimum of two letters must be from academic faculty 
  • At least one letter must be from a university faculty member in the major field of study
  • Applicants who have been out of school for five or more years may submit professional references
  • Letters must be signed and on institutional/organizational letterhead


Personal Statement

  • Why do you wish to pursue a career in public health and why are you interested in your chosen area of study?
  • 2-page limit
  • The personal statement must have well-defined research interests and should be very specific in nature




Application Submission

Applicants should submit their application as soon as the items you have control over are complete (personal statement, resume/CV, institutions attended, coursework entry, and all other required sections of the online application). Test scores, transcripts and letters of recommendation will be added as they are received, after which SOPHAS will begin verifying your application.

Applications will not be reviewed until all required items, including official transcripts, official test scores, and required letters of recommendation, have been received and your application has been verified.  Please note that once SOPHAS has received all of your application materials, it may take up to 4 full weeks to be verified by SOPHAS.  Be sure to request all transcripts, recommendations, and standardized test scores in advance so that your application can be completed and verified by the specified application deadline.

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Core Competencies
  • Describe the roles biostatistics serves in the discipline of public health.
  • Describe basic concepts of probability, random variation and commonly used statistical probability distributions.
  • Describe preferred methodological alternatives to commonly used statistical methods when assumptions are not met.
  • Distinguish among the different measurement scales and the implications for selection of statistical methods to be used based on these distinctions.
  • Apply descriptive techniques commonly used to summarize public health data.
  • Apply common statistical methods for inference.
  • Apply descriptive and inferential methodologies according to the type of study design for answering a particular research question.
  • Apply basic informatics techniques with vital statistics and public health records in the description of public health characteristics and in public health research and evaluation.
  • Interpret results of statistical analyses found in public health studies.
  • Develop written and oral presentations based on statistical analyses for both public health professionals and educated lay audiences.
  • Capability to build statistical model over real health data.
  • Estimate and compare efficiency of models.
  • Use statistical software to analyze health –related data.
  • Be able to explain the advantages of a Bayesian data analysis.
  • Perform univariate data analysis for continuous and categorical variables.
  • Interpret inferential findings within Bayesian thinking (e.g. credible intervals, hypothesis testing).
  • Conduct inference via posterior simulation and simulations tool.