Biostatistics Graduate Program

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Frequently Asked Questions:

How many applications do you receive in a typical year?  How many students do you admit?

We are a new program, currently accepting applications for our fourth year. So far, in a typical year, we receive about 100 applications and we admit four PhD and four Master’s students each fall.

What are your GRE score requirements?

We do not require a minimum GRE score for admission, though we look for scores to be in 70th percentile or higher on both the verbal and the quantitative tests. We do not screen applications by GRE scores; every application is reviewed in whole.

Do I still need to submit TOEFL scores if I have graduated from a University in the United States?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required for all applicants whose native language is not English and who have not received a degree at an English-speaking university. If you have graduated from a US University the TOEFL is waived.

Do you accept the IELTS (International English Language Testing System)?

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is accepted. Vanderbilt University Medical Center only accepts scores submitted electronically by the IELTS test center. No paper test report forms will be accepted. An institutional code is NOT required. Please contact the test center directly where you took the IELTS test and request that your test scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system. All IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to our institution.

Do I need a specific undergraduate degree to apply?

No. We consider all educational backgrounds as long as they meet the minimum mathematics requirements listed below:

a. 3 semesters of calculus (through Multivariate)

b. 1 semester of linear algebra

c. 1 semester of statistics

d. Familiarity with mathematical notation and reasoning

Some incoming students have found undergraduate courses in biology, probability, and real analysis helpful (but they are not required for admission).

Is a Master’s degree a prerequisite to applying for a PhD?

No, an MS is not required. Incoming students with a Master’s degree in Statistics or Biostatistics can test out of the first year of classes by passing the first year qualifier. However, the option to test out is approved on a case-by-case basis during the admission process.

Can I apply for both the Master’s program and the PhD program?

Yes, the admissions committee will select the degree program that they think is most appropriate for the candidate.

Can I continue working full-time and study for the PhD?

Currently we do not accept part-time students.

When is the application deadline for Fall?

Our application deadline is January 10th, however we will review applications received after that date on a rolling basis if space and funding remain available.

How do you make admission decisions?

The department’s Graduate Program Admission Committee review applications and identify students who are a good fit for our program. Because we only admit 4 PhD and 4 MS students each year, the committee carefully considers each applicant’s training, potential, and motivation. Admission decisions are typically made in the second half of February or early March. Students not selected are notified by email; a few students are placed on a waiting list, and may be offered admission and funding if an admission slot is not initially filled.

Admitted students have until April 15 to make their decisions.  We encourage students admitted to the program to visit us.

Is funding for graduate study available?

All PhD admission offers come with full funding, which includes a 12-month stipend, a full tuition waiver, student health insurance and activity fees. If students make good progress in the program, funding through a research assistantship typically continues for five years.

All students admitted to the Master’s program are offered an 80% tuition waiver.

Can you tell me if my background is good enough to apply?

We do not pre-screen applicants. If you are interested, please apply. There is no application fee and the Admissions Committee reviews all applications.

Can you tell me the backgrounds of accepted students?

We do not release student statistics. Our students have a wide variety of backgrounds including Physicians, PhD scientists, statistical analysts, and undergraduate majors in biology, statistics and mathematics.

Does the department accept international students?

We treat international applicants the same as U.S. citizens.

May students apply to enter in the spring?

We do not accept applications for the spring semester.

May I visit campus?

Students may visit the campus on their own accord, but we strongly advise students to first submit an application and get feedback from the Admission Committee before visiting. Students who are actively being considered for admission by the Admission Committee are sometimes invited to campus for an interview. In such cases, we will help schedule the visit, arrange meetings with individual faculty members and current graduate students, and reimburse students for all or part of the travel costs.






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