PhD in Biostatistics

PhD in Biostatistics admission requirements

Any applicant to the PhD in Biostatistics who has a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited institution and shows promise for successfully completing all the degree requirements will be considered for admission to this program.

Application, admission, and degree-granting requirements and regulations shall be applied equitably to all individuals, applicants and students regardless of age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or national origin.

Application criteria and requirements

In addition to completing the SOPHAS application, you are also required to submit the following supporting documentation directly to SOPHAS.

In addition to satisfying general Indiana University Graduate School requirements for admission, applicants must have at least a B (3.00 GPA) average in courses taken during the last two years of their earlier degree studies, and a grade of B+ (3.50 GPA) in courses required as prerequisites for the program.

Students entering this program should have a minimal mathematics background consisting of an undergraduate course sequence in univariate and multivariate calculus (equivalent to MATH 16500, 16600 and 26100 at IUPUI) and a course in linear algebra (including matrix theory). In addition, applicants should have had a calculus-based undergraduate level course in probability or statistics. Prospective applicants who do not have this background must acquire it prior to admission to the program.

Those whose native language is not English must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and achieve a score of 570 (or 230 on the computer version of the test, or 79 on the internet-based test). Final admission decisions will be made by a faculty admission committee.

GRE scores are not required for admission, however, if you plan to attend the PhD program as a full-time funded student, you are strongly encouraged to submit them with your application, since some funding sources require current GRE scores (less than five years old) in order for students to be eligible.  Applicants must submit GRE scores to SOPHAS using the following designation DI Code 0167.

The admission committee does not list expected minimum scores.

Provide an essay of approximately 750 words describing your past education, experience, and current professional career objectives. You are encouraged to comment on any or all of the following: plans you have to use your education and training; the needs and/or challenges you perceive as important in your field of study, and; any personal qualities, characteristics, and skills you believe will enable you to be successful in your chosen field of study.

For each position on the résumé or CV, provide the job title, employing agency, dates employed, and responsibilities held. Indicate any additional strengths or skills such as fluency in foreign languages, research experience, teaching experience, community service, and demonstration of leadership skills. Include professional certifications, honors, and awards.

Transcripts from all U.S. institutions attended are required (must be sent directly from the institutions to SOPHAS). This includes previous study at Indiana University. It is strongly recommended that all transcripts be submitted no later than December 15 to allow SOPHAS adequate time to verify transcripts. Please note that it can take up to four weeks for transcripts to be verified.

World Education Services (WES) ICAP evaluation of foreign academic credentials
The Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health requires all applicants with foreign academic credentials to provide a World Education Services (WES) ICAP course-by-course evaluation of those credentials. Applicants should submit their transcripts to WES at least one month in advance of the application deadline to ensure that the evaluation is completed in time.

Through special arrangements with SOPHAS, WES will deliver its credential evaluation report directly to SOPHAS by secure electronic transmission. This expedites the delivery of the evaluation report—as well as images of the applicant’s verified transcripts—to SOPHAS and allows SOPHAS to process the report most efficiently.

Visit WES for more information

U.S. applicants who have attended post-secondary institutions outside of the U.S. as part of a study-abroad program at a U.S. college or university, do not need to provide a WES evaluation of their foreign coursework as long as it is noted on their U.S. transcript.

Please note: Upon admission to IUPUI, international students will be required to provide the Indiana University Office of International Affairs with original transcripts from all universities attended in the U.S. and abroad.

Three letters of recommendation are required from persons qualified to assess your academic work; clinical, public health, or professional experiences; or leadership potential in public health. These letters should be from professional sources that can provide an unbiased, current and critical assessment of your abilities, skills, strengths, and weaknesses related to successfully completing a doctoral program.

The applicants are invited to interview at the discretion of the admission committee.

The PhD in Biostatistics admissions committee conducts interviews using Skype video conferencing for applicants who are unable to travel to Indianapolis for the interview. Skype is a free software application that allows users to connect through the internet to communicate. Note that applicants will need access to a webcam and microphone for the interview.

Applicants whose native language is not English or whose academic study was done exclusively at non-English speaking institutions must:

  1. Prove English proficiency by providing either official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores
  2. Minimum requirements for admission for IU Programs: TOEFL (79) and 6.5 IELTS. Students who are admitted with TOEFL of 79-99 or IELTS of 6.5-7.0 will take the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) placement test. Depending on your EAP rest results, you may need to take EAP courses at the same time as your academic major courses for one or two semesters.
  3. The preferred minimum English language test scores for admission to the Fairbanks School of Public Health are:
      • Internet-based TOEFL: minimum score of 100
      • Computer-based TOEFL: minimum score of 250
      • Paper-based TOEFL: minimum score of 600
      • IELTS (total band score): minimum score of 7
  1. Scores must be less than two years old.
  2. TOEFL scores to SOPHAS using the following designation DI Code 5688. IELTS scores can be uploaded electronically to SOPHAS and official copy sent to IUPUI School code 1325.

English language test waiver

The English language test requirement may be waived if an applicant has earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from the U.S. or other English-speaking country.

See more information

Review of application

Completed applications will be carefully reviewed by the Biostatistics PhD admissions committee after the program deadline. Applicants are notified of their admission status in March. The admissions committee will determine each applicant’s acceptance or non-acceptance to the Biostatistics PhD program by using the following selection criteria:

  • Scientific leadership potential: Assessed by the applicant’s résumé/curriculum vita, personal statement, and personal interview.
  • Ability to engage in advanced graduate work: Assessed by the applicant’s personal interview, evaluation of letters of recommendation, overall grade point average in prior graduate work, and scores from the GRE or other graduate entrance exams.
  • Learning goals and objectives: Assessed by the applicant’s personal statement and personal interview.

Apply now

You may apply to our Biostatistics PhD program online via SOPHAS, the centralized Schools of Public Health Application Service.

Remember to designate the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health as one of your school choices, along with your desired program.

We'll notify you by email once your application has been received. If you have questions about the application process or about the PhD in Biostatistics program, contact Shawne Mathis at

Note: All applications must be verified by SOPHAS prior to the deadline to be guaranteed review by the PhD Biostatistics admissions committee. Applications that are not verified by the deadline are not guaranteed review. Applications take four to five weeks to be verified by SOPHAS. We recommend submitting your application to SOPHAS no later than one month prior to the deadline.

Upon offer of admission, applicants will need to complete the IU Graduate CAS, a required secondary application, by using the invitation code and link provided with the admission offer. The IU Graduate CAS application resembles the SOPHAS application. To apply, unofficial transcripts earned at bachelor's, master's, or doctorate-granting institutions must be uploaded.