Biostatistics PhD

Many issues in the health, medical and biological sciences are addressed by collecting and exploring relevant data. The development and application of techniques to better understand such data is a fundamental concern of our program.

This program offers training in the theory of statistics and biostatistics, computer implementation of analytic methods and opportunities to use this knowledge in areas of biological/medical research. The resources of Berkeley Public Health and the UC Berkeley Department of Statistics, together with those of other university departments, offer a broad set of opportunities to satisfy the needs of individual students. Furthermore, the involvement of UCSF faculty from the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology also enriches instructional and research activities.


A PhD degree in Biostatistics requires a program of courses selected from biostatistics, statistics, and at least one other subject area (such as environmental health, epidemiology, or genomics), an oral qualifying examination, and a dissertation. Courses cover traditional topics as well as recent advances in biostatistics and statistics. Those completing the PhD will have acquired a deep knowledge and understanding of the MA subject areas. Since graduates with doctorates often assume academic research and teaching careers, a high degree of mastery in research design, theory, methodology, and execution is expected, as well as the ability to communicate and present concepts in a clear, understandable manner.

The PhD degree program requires 4–6 semesters of coursework, the completion of the qualifying examination and dissertation (in total, a minimum of four semesters of registration is required). Since there are no formal course requirements for the PhD, a program of courses appropriate to a student’s background and interests may be developed with a graduate adviser.


A Master’s degree in Biostatistics or a related field is recommended but not required for admission to the PhD program. Strongly recommended prerequisite courses are calculus, linear algebra, and statistics. Applicants admitted without a Master’s degree may be required to go through the Biostatistics MA curriculum; students can concurrently earn that degree with no additional cost or time to degree. Normative time to degree is 5 years.

Students entering with a relevant master’s degree in biostatistics or statistics must have a faculty advisor who is a member of the Biostatistics Graduate Group committing funding and mentorship support.

GRE Exemption Criteria

GRE General Test scores are required for admission to the Biostatistics PhD program however applicants are exempted from the requirement if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Completed two semesters of calculus for a letter grade and earned a grade of “B” or higher.
  • Completed one semester of linear algebra for a letter grade and earned a grade of “B” or higher.
  • Completed one semester of statistics for a letter grade and earned a grade of “B” or higher.
  • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Overall quantitative/math GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • For students with a Master’s in Biostatistics or a related field, graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • For international students: TOEFL score of 100 or higher OR IELTS score of 7.0 or higher.

Berkeley Public Health also exempts applicants who already hold a doctoral level degree from the GRE requirement.You can find more information on the application instructions page. There is a program page in the Berkeley Graduate Application where you can indicate you meet the criteria for GRE exemption. Applicants who are exempted from the GRE are not at a disadvantage in the application review process.


Many doctoral graduates accept faculty positions in schools of public health, medicine, and statistics and/or math departments at colleges and universities, both in the United States and abroad. Some graduates take research positions, including with pharmaceutical companies, hospital research units, non-profits, and within the tech sector.

Funding and Fee Remission

Prospective students who are US citizens or permanent residents can find more information about applying for an application fee waiver for the Berkeley Graduate Application. Fees will be waived based on financial need or participation in selected programs described on the linked website. International applicants (non-US citizens or Permanent Residents) are not eligible for application fee waivers.

  • More information about funding and fee remission

    All PhD students are fully funded (including tuition and fees and a stipend or salary) with the exception of Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) for the second year, if applicable. NRST is typically waived after the first year of study for PhD students when they advance to candidacy. Information on applying to GSI positions for biostatistics students can be found in the Biostatistics Division student handbook.

    Tuition and fees change each academic year. To view the current tuition and fees, see the fee schedule on the Office of the Registrar website (in the Graduate: Academic section).

    Please contact if you have any questions about funding opportunities for the biostatistics programs.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Division of Biostatistics is committed to challenging systemic inequities in the areas of health, medical, and biological sciences, and to advancing the goals of diversity, equity, and inclusivity in Biostatistics and related fields.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Biostatistics

Admissions Statistics


Admissions Ratio (8/93)


Average GPA of admitted applicants


Average Verbal GRE percentile


Average Quantitative GRE percentile


Average age upon admission


Average years of relevant professional/research experience

Faculty Associated in Biostatistics Graduate Group

  • Peter Bickel PhD
  • David R. Brillinger PhD
  • Perry de Valpine PhD
    Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
  • Haiyan Huang PhD
  • Michael J. Klass PhD
  • Priya Moorjani PhD
    Molecular & Cell Biology
  • Rasmus Nielsen PhD
    Integrative Biology and Statistics
  • Elizabeth Purdom PhD
  • Sophia Rabe-Hesketh PhD
  • John Rice PhD
  • Yun S. Song PhD
    Statistics; Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
  • Bin Yu PhD