Degree Requirements (Ph.D)

Students in the Ph.D. program must complete 40-credits post-masters as well as a 12-credit doctoral dissertation. Admitted students must have completed the course requirements (or equivalents) for the master’s degree in biostatistics and have a strong coursework in multivariable calculus and linear algebra. While students may be admitted to the program with a less complete background, they would be expected to achieve this level during the first year of admission to the Ph.D. program.

Students who wish to pursue the Ph.D. degree must pass the comprehensive written exam after completing the core courses. The exam consists of 2 categories: the Theoretical section and the Applied section. The Theoretical section will be based on the course content of BIST 600 - Probability Theory and BIST 605 - Advanced Statistical Inference. The Applied section will be based on the course content of BIST 610 - Generalized Linear Models and BIST 620 - Longitudinal Data Analysis.

After successfully passing the written comprehensive exam, a student will identify a dissertation advisor and a research topic. If a mentor is identified who is not a member of the Georgetown faculty, a member of the Georgetown faculty must serve as co-mentor to regularly monitor the candidate’s research and progress toward the degree. The student, followed by a question-answer period covering the special research topic as well as coursework related to the dissertation topic, will give a 30-minute oral presentation.

Student officially advances to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree upon successfully passing the qualifying exams, having identified a dissertation topic, a dissertation advisor, and a Dissertation Committee. (Advancement to candidacy will be granted when it is determined that the student has completed all the requirements for the doctoral degree except the dissertation.)

The dissertation is based on independent research by the candidate and should constitute significant original contribution to the field of biostatistics, involving the development and evaluation of biostatistical methodology although the methods are motivated by biomedical research problems. (The dissertation committee will consists of at least four members, all of whom must hold the rank of assistant professor or above.)

The final stage of graduate training involves an oral presentation of the thesis. In attendance will be the Thesis Committee, program members, and interested Medical Center personnel.