Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do you have an interdisciplinary program? How is this program different from biostatistics PhD programs offered elsewhere?
A: Our program incorporates Biostatistics faculty from both the Department of Statistics and the Division of Biostatistics in the College of Public Health. Many PhD programs offered elsewhere are offered by a Biostatistics Department in either a School of Public Health or a Department of Statistics. Very rarely is there a joint program between the two areas.

Q: How do I apply for the PhD in Biostatistics? Where do I send my application materials?
A: Applications are processed through the OSU Graduate School. Please see Application Procedures for more information. DO NOT use SOPHAS (Schools of Public Health Application Service) to apply to the Biostatistics PhD program.

Q: Should I contact faculty members directly about a Teaching Assistant (TA) or  Research Assistant (RA) position?
A: Please do not contact individual faculty members about TA/RA positions. All TA and RA offers come from the admissions committee.

Q: What sort of jobs are available with a PhD in biostatistics?
A: Opportunities exist for graduates in academic, government, and industry.

Q: When do I declare my specialization preference?
A: After passing Qualifier I, usually in the start of the second year.

Q: What is the difference between the two specializations?
A: There are differences in the required coursework. Detailed program information is available on the Program Information page.

Q: If I am in the Methodology specialization, can I work with a faculty member in Public Health? If I am in the Public Health specialization, can I work with a faculty member in Statistics?
A: Yes. Any Biostatistics faculty member may advise any Biostatistics student, regardless of specialization.

Q: Do you offer a master's degree in biostatistics?
A: The Interdisciplinary program only offers a PhD degree. However, the College of Public Health offers both an MS and an MPH with specialization in Biostatistics. For more information about these programs, please visit and

Q: I am currently in the Statistics PhD and am interested in switching to the Biostatistics PhD. What is the process?
A: Current Statistics PhD students who would like to switch to the Biostatistics PhD program must submit an abbreviated application to the Admissions Committee. This includes a faculty recommendation, the form for which can be obtained by contacting the Biostatistics Graduate Studies Chair. Please contact the Biostatistics Graduate Studies Chair for more information.