VCU Bulletins

Biostatistics, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

McClish, Dr. Donna K.
Director, Graduate Programs in Biostatistics
mcclish@vcu.edu
(804) 827-2050

Boyle, Russell M.
Associate Director, Graduate Programs in Biostatistics
boyle@vcu.edu
(804) 827-2049

Web:
www.biostatistics.vcu.edu

Admission requirements summary

Biostatistics, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Degree:

Ph.D.
Semester(s)
of entry:

Fall preferred
Deadline
dates:

Applications received prior to Jan 15 given priority consideration
Test
requirements:

GRE
Special requirements:
Applicants must complete the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections of the Graduate Record Exam. The following mathematics courses or their equivalents are required for admission: MATH 307 Multivariate Calculus, MATH 309 Introduction to Probability Theory, MATH 310 Linear Algebra, STAT 213 Introductory Statistics.

The Department of Biostatistics at Virginia Commonwealth University offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biostatistics. It is part of the School of Medicine on the university’s MCV Campus.

While committed to excellence in biostatistical research and in its graduate program, the department also collaborates in biomedical research with other departments on the MCV Campus. Its faculty members are nationally recognized for their biostatistical work in the areas of clinical trials, pharmacology, toxicology and genomics. The department continues to emphasize scholarship and graduate education, and its graduates are in demand for jobs throughout the country in government, academia and the private sector.

The program is committed to diversifying the racial and ethnic composition of people who become biostatisticians. Individuals from all racial or cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Student learning outcomes

Ph.D. in Biostatistics requirements

Ph.D. students will complete at least 58 semester credit hours of course work worth three or more credits. In addition to the first-year sequence, each student is required to take BIOS 615, BIOS 616, BIOS 625, BIOS 631, BIOS 647 and OVPR 601; two 600-level BIOS/STAT courses from the list below; STAT 503 and one other 600-level BIOS/STAT or MATH course (if STAT 503 has been taken, then two 600-level BIOS/STAT or MATH courses); and one graduate-level non-BIOS/STAT/MATH course. Full-time Ph.D. students must take eight semesters of BIOS 516 Biostatistical Consulting and BIOS 690 Biostatistical Research Seminar. In addition, students will participate in the Student Summer Research Program and present at the Biostatistics Student Research Day each September.

First-year sequence Credits
BIOS/STAT 513 Mathematical Statistics I 3
BIOS/STAT 514 Mathematical Statistics II 3
BIOS 524 Biostatistical Computing 3
BIOS 546 Theory of Linear Models 3
BIOS 553 Linear Regression 3
BIOS 554 Analysis of Variance 3
BIOS 571 Clinical Trials 3
BIOS 572 Statistical Analysis of Biomedical Data 3
   
Advanced years (required)  
BIOS 615 Advanced Inference 4
BIOS 616 Advanced Inference 4
BIOS 625 Categorical Data Analysis and Generalized Linear Models 4
BIOS 631 Multivariate Analysis I 4
BIOS 647 Survival Analysis 3
OVPR 601 Scientific integrity 1
   
Choose two of the BIOS courses below  
BIOS 567 Statistical Methods for High-throughput Genomic Data I 3
BIOS 632 Multivariate Analysis II 3
BIOS 638 Statistical Design and Analysis in Toxicology 3
BIOS 639 Statistical Design and Analysis in Toxicology 3
BIOS 667 Statistical Learning and Data Mining 3
BIOS 671 Nonlinear Models 3
BIOS 688 Applied Bayesian Biostatistics 3
BIOS 691 Special Topics in Biostatistics
(Choose from topics of statistical genetics, microarray II or hierarchical linear models)
3
   
Additional course requirements  
Two other 600-level BIOS/STAT, STAT 503 or MATH courses with approval 6
One other non-BIOS/STAT or MATH course with approval 3

Ph.D. requirements – genomic biostatistics concentration

Ph.D. students will complete at least 58 semester credit hours of course work worth three or more credits. In addition to the first year sequence, each student is required to take BIOS 567, BIOS 615, BIOS 616, BIOS 625, BIOS 632, BIOS 647, BIOS 668; a relevant course pertaining to bioinformatics or molecular biology (BIOL 540 suggested); OVPR 601; one of BIOS 667 or BIOS 691 (with a topic of statistical genetics or systems biology); and one other 600-level BIOS/STAT course. Full-time Ph.D. students must take eight semesters of BIOS 516 Biostatistical Consulting and BIOS 690 Biostatistical Research Seminar. In addition, students will participate in the Student Summer Research Program for two summers and present at the Biostatistics Student Research Day each September.

First-year sequence Credits
BIOS/STAT 513 Mathematical Statistics I 3
BIOS/STAT 514 Mathematical Statistics II 3
BIOS 524 Biostatistical Computing 3
BIOS 546 Theory of Linear Models 3
BIOS 553 Linear Regression 3
BIOS 554 Analysis of Variance 3
BIOS 571 Clinical Trials 3
BIOS 572 Statistical Analysis of Biomedical Data 3
   
Advanced years (required)  
BIOL/BNFO 540 Fundamentals of Molecular Genetics (or other relevant course) 3
BIOS 567 Statistical Methods for High-throughput Genomic Data I 3
BIOS 615 Advanced Inference 4
BIOS 616 Advanced Inference 4
BIOS 625 Categorical Data Analysis and Generalized Linear Models 4
BIOS 632 Multivariate Analysis II 4
BIOS 647 Survival Analysis 3
BIOS 668 Statistical Methods for High-throughput Genomic Data II
(microarray II)
3
OVPR 601 Scientific integrity 1
   
Choose one of the BIOS courses below  
BIOS 667 Statistical Learning and Data Mining 3
BIOS 691 Special Topics in Biostatistics
(Choose from topics of statistical genetics or systems biology)
3
   
Additional course requirements  
One other 600-level BIOS/STAT course with approval 3

Qualifying exam

Students pursuing the Ph.D. degree must pass a qualifying examination administered at the end of May or the beginning of June after completion of the first-year courses. The examination is an in-class, closed-book exam given over a period of two days and covers material from the following first-year courses:

Part A (applied): covers BIOS 553, 554, 571 and 572.

Part B (theoretical): covers BIOS 513, 514 and 546.

Each part of the exam is graded with a pass/fail. A student who fails Part A or Part B of the exam at the Ph.D. level must retake that part of the qualifying exam. Such a student may petition the Examination Committee of the Department of Biostatistics for a winter administration of the qualifying exam.

Comprehensive exam

Students pursuing the Ph.D. degree who have passed the qualifying exam must pass a comprehensive exam consisting of two parts.

Part A: written comprehensive exam

This exam is an in-class, closed-book exam administered in June after completion of the advanced years courses (usually at the end of the third year for full-time students). The exam covers material from the following courses: BIOS 615-616 Advanced Inference, BIOS 625 Analysis of Categorical Data, BIOS 631 Multivariate Analysis I and BIOS 674 Survival Analysis.

For students pursuing a genomics concentration, the exam covers material from the following courses: BIOS 615-616 Advanced Inference, BIOS 625 Categorical Data Analysis and Generalized Linear Models, BIOS 632 Multivariate Analysis II, BIOS 674 Survival Analysis and BIOS 691 Special Topics in Biostatistics with a topic of microarray II.

Part B: data/analytic/consulting oral exam

This exam tests for problem-solving abilities and draws from material presented in BIOS 516 and advanced required and elective courses.

For students pursuing a genomics concentration, this exam tests for problem-solving abilities and is expected to pertain to gene, protein or microRNA expression, metabolite, methylation, genetic or other data arising from molecular assays.

Students have two weeks to complete a statistical analysis of a data set and submit a written report describing the analysis. The student will present an oral report defending the analysis a week later. The exam will be written and evaluated by the student’s dissertation committee.

The data/analytic/consulting oral exam cannot be taken until the student has passed the written comprehensive exam.

Dissertation

A comprehensive dissertation reporting the results of original research is required for the Ph.D. degree.

For students pursuing a genomics concentration, a comprehensive dissertation reporting the results of original research related to genomics topics is required. It is expected that the dissertation will make use of some high-throughput genomic technology as an application for the methodological development.

Final examination

All Ph.D. students must defend their dissertations at a final oral examination. A public presentation will precede a Ph.D. defense closed to all but the student’s committee. Questions are restricted to the topic of the dissertation for the Ph.D. student.

 

 

Comments/feedback about this site   |   Bulletin (catalog) archives/printer-friendly bulletins   |   About these bulletins

Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia
Contact us: bulletin@vcu.edu

Last update: 9/11/2013

Created by VCU University Relations