Why should I pursue a PhD in Biostatistics?

There is strong demand for PhD-level biostatisticians in academic medical centers, in government agencies, and in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Biostatistics graduate programs rank highly among the PhD granting institutions of Statistics or Biostatistics listed in US News and World Report rankings, with three of the top five programs being Biostatistics programs. The UCSD degree will be distinguished by its close integration of training in rigorous data science theory and methods, training in practical collaborative skills, and use of important data from many areas of the biomedical sciences.

How should I decide between a degree in Bioinformatics vs Biostatistics?

While the areas of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics have some overlap, they appeal to different students and they lead to very different training. The students in Bioinformatics are required to have an engineering or biological sciences background; students in Biostatistics are required to have a mathematical and statistical background and often also are familiar with clinical research or public health. Bioinformatics primarily uses tools from computer science for dealing with and processing high-throughput data with an emphasis on ‘omics. Biostatistics has a unique emphasis on rigorous, reproducible and quantifiable inference. It uses modeling approaches from mathematical statistics and probability to identify rigorous and efficient approaches to all kinds of data. Biostatistics is useful in complex settings where there is a temporal or spatial component, where there are correlated variables, or where data are pooled across related experiments or studies. Use of formal biostatistical principles can often identify more powerful approaches to data analysis and can quantify the uncertainty associated with inference from data.

How should I apply for a Phd in Biostatistics at UCSD?

Do you have a minimum GRE requirement?

We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement for admission. We do not screen applications by GRE scores; scores are interpreted in the context of the entire application. However, the applicant pool is very competitive with very competitive GRE scores.

Are TOEFL scores required?

TOEFL scores are required of international students, unless a student has or is expecting to receive a BS or MS from a U.S. university or from an institution where the primary language is English.

How many students do you admit?

We plan to admit 4-6 students each admission cycle.

Do you accept MCAT scores as a substitution for GRE?

No. We only accept GRE scores.

What kind of courses/background make for a strong applicant?

Our PhD program has a fairly rigorous mathematical statistics requirement: 6 of our required courses are taught in the mathematics dept. Hence, an undergraduate or MS degree that emphasizes math would be a huge strength. Here are some upper division math undergrad courses taught at UCSD that we would consider adequate training for admission to our program: 102, 120, 140ABC, 170, 181AB