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PhD in Biostatistics

The PhD program in Biostatistics educates advanced students in the theory and application of biostatistics and data science methods and prepares them to be on the forefront of leadership in these areas. Education in the advanced theory of probability and statistical inference is combined with applied methods in complex study design and analysis.

Graduates from the PhD program typically pursue careers as academic researchers and teachers; in industry, such as the pharmaceutical and biomedical fields; and in other research pursuits, both public and private. Typical roles include teaching, collaborative research and independent research in statistics, biostatistics, bioinformatics methods, design, and data analysis. 

Admission Requirements

Students seeking a doctoral degree from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine must meet the school's general admission requirements and submit materials per the application requirements. All candidates must have completed a master's degree in biostatistics or a closely related field.

The Department of Biostatistics requires the following from prospective doctoral students: one year of college level calculus, including multivariate calculus; one formal course in linear algebra.

Degree Program Requirements

Please visit the university course catalog for:

Degree Program Requirements (entry prior to Fall 2018)

The PhD program requires a minimum of 72 post-baccalaureate degree credits, with at least 30 credits of doctoral study at Tulane SPHTM. Up to 42 credits may be applied from the MPH or equivalent master’s degree.  These credits will be reviewed and those that do not fulfill the PhD competencies may not be accepted. If a prerequisite course or equivalent has not been fulfilled, the student must take the course in addition to the 30 credits of advanced doctoral study, but may count toward the total 72 credits. 

The advisor works with the students in identifying the course of study in the doctoral program. If the doctoral student does not have a prior public health degree, they must obtain a grounding in public health. See Doctoral Student Handbook.

Prerequisite Coursework (from prior master's degree)

Students who do not have these prerequisites are required to take these or equivalent courses.

  • BIOS 6040 Intermediate Biostatistics
  • BIOS 7060 Regression Analysis
  • BIOS 7080 Design of Experiments
  • BIOS 7150 Categorical Data Analysis
  • BIOS 7250 Principles of Sampling
  • BIOS 7300 Statistical Methods for Survival Data Analysis
  • EPID 6030 Epidemiologic Methods I
  • MATH 6070 Introduction to Probability
  • MATH 6080 Introduction to Statistical Inference


  • 15 credit hours of Biostatistics electives at 6000 level or above.

Required Courses (at least 19 credits)

  • BIOS 8270* Asymptotic Inference with Applications in Biostatistics (3)
  • BIOS 8350 Clustered and Longitudinal Data Analysis (3)
  • BIOS 8500 Monte Carlo and Bootstrapping Methods (3)
  • BIOS 8800 Applied Data Analysis (3)
  • BIOS 8820 Multivariate Methods (3)
  • EPID 7120 Epidemiological Methods II (3)
  • SPHL 8500 Interdisciplinary Doctoral Seminar (1)

Elective Courses (minimum 11 credits)

Selected from courses offered within the department, school, or university in consultation with an academic advisor. Additional credits may be needed to obtain a total of 72 credits. No more than 12 credits of special (independent) studies may be applied toward the doctoral degree.

* Pending approval of the SPHTM Curriculum Credit

Research Ethics

Students are required to take online research ethics training via CITI or another equivalent training program in research ethics. This certification must remain current throughout the program duration.

Comprehensive Exam

Students are required to pass a written comprehensive examination that demonstrates general knowledge of biostatistical methods and research applications.


Students must prepare and defend a prospectus of proposed research.


Students must conduct original biostatistics research and defend a dissertation based on that research.

Contact Us

Department Chair: John Lefante, PhD

Program Director: John Lefante, PhD

Administrative Program Coordinator: Farhana Chaudhry


Phone: (504) 988-2042

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