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PhD candidates are required to demonstrate strong proficiency in the five skill areas listed below. This is accomplished through a combination of satisfactory coursework, participation in Departmental clinics and interdisciplinary collaborations, involvement in research assistantships, two sets of written comprehensive examinations, an oral PhD qualifying examination, composition of a dissertation, an oral dissertation defense, and various presentations and Departmental seminars. In the best traditions of PhD biostatistician candidates across the country, it is expected that students will exhibit strong proficiency in each of these skill areas.

The faculty has identified the following five universal skill areas for which students must demonstrate competency or strong proficiency: (1) theory, (2) application, (3) critical thinking, (4) communication (verbal and written), and (5) computing. The faculty recognizes that intellectual flexibility is a learned skill that must be practiced and reinforced in classrooms, labs, consulting experiences, and research rotations. The program curriculum is designed to introduce, reinforce, and refined these skills in methodologic and theoretical settings.