Skip to main content

About Us


Vanderbilt’s graduate program in biostatistics is devoted to training flexible thinkers versed in modern methodologies who will become leaders in academia, industry, and government.


Biostatistics is the branch of statistics responsible for proper collection, analysis, and interpretation of data generated in the biological, public health, and biomedical sciences. Biostatisticians routinely encounter data that are complex, high-dimensional, and/or large in scale. Statistical methods and their potential applications are now too numerous to list. Biostatisticians must rely on a broad framework of mathematical, statistical, and scientific principles that will lead them to learn from data properly and reliably.

Biostatisticians must be trained as apt mathematicians and cogent scientists. Our graduate program features rigorous classroom training, real-world apprenticing, exceptional computational preparation, and one-to-one mentoring in the theory, methodology, and application of biostatistics in biomedical research. Our program emphasizes modern statistical thought and features the foundations of statistical inference—a topic of critical importance when interpreting data as scientific evidence. The program aims to strike a balance between theoretical rigor, methodological proficiency, and functional aptitude. There is a strong emphasis on reproducible research and how to achieve it from a statistical perspective. The curriculum is nondenominational with respect to the foundations of statistical inference (i.e., frequentist, Bayesian, likelihood), modern in its emphasis on computing and teaching of statistical principles, and progressive with its emphasis on communication skills.

Our PhD and MS programs meet the range of biostatistical career opportunities in academia, industry, and government. Students have learning goals in five major domains: aptitude in statistical theory, proficiency in biostatistics methodology, adeptness in statistical computing, written and verbal communication, and community engagement.

Rankings and Numbers

10th in the nation in total research grant support provided by the NIH in FY2023

13th in the latest (2022) U.S. News and World Report list of best biostatistics programs (survey conducted every four years)

5th in the 2023 U.S. News and World Report list of best medical schools: research

1st in Tennessee and 19th on the 2022 U.S. News and World Report roster of America’s Best Hospitals

Fellows of the American Statistical Association on the faculty. All the officers of the Mid-Tennessee ASA chapter are from our department, and some national representatives are as well.

All incoming PhD students are funded!

Funding of active projects (some with student collaborators): more than $21 million (at end of FY2022)

51 primary faculty members • 8 MS students • 27 PhD students

Nashville is 4th among Best Cities for Techies, and ranked as a top destination in numerous other polls, including The South’s Best Cities (Southern Living, March 2023). In 2023, Nashville placed 8th in Travel & Leisure‘s 15 Favorite Cities in the United States survey.

The department celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2023!

Conferences convening in Nashville within the next two years include:

The department hosted SMI 2022 and led the organization of useR!2022. Members actively participated in ENAR 2023 and regularly present talks and workshops around the world.