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Thank you for considering the Department of Biostatistics in the Harvard School of Public Health

We offer both the PhD (through the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) and the Master of Science (through the Harvard School of Public Health) degrees in Biostatistics.  Biostatistics students can also select an area of interest in Bioinformatics at either the PhD or Master’s level.  Students can also apply to the new Master of Science in Computational Biology and Quantitative Genetics, jointly offered with the Department of Epidemiology.

We work hard to ensure that our programs of study provide an outstanding opportunity for graduate training.  A central tenet that underlies our programs is the importance of combining solid training in statistical theory, methods, and computing with exposure to important applications in public health, the biological sciences, medicine, and computational biology.  This belief is reflected in all of our courses, as well as in the research topics selected for doctoral dissertations. Our location in the heart of Boston’s Longwood Medical Area – home to many world-class hospitals – makes collaboration with eminent clinical researchers both convenient and a natural extension of the educational experience.

For a detailed description of our degree programs and requirements, please refer to our Graduate Student Handbook. You can also direct questions about our degree programs to our Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Nan Laird, or about the application process to our Manager of Academic Services, Ms. Jelena Follweiler.

We provide full financial support (tuition, fees, and stipend) to all doctoral students in good standing for 4 to 5 years. This support comes from a variety of sources, including NIH training and research grants, teaching fellowships, and competitive HSPH scholarships. We also encourage doctoral students to apply for outside funding during their senior year of undergraduate study, such as NSF and NDSEG fellowships, which often award stipends larger than those provided by the Department.  Foreign applicants may be eligible for funding from Harvard-related sources based in their home country as well. Applicants to the doctoral program should identify their specific field of interest, if any, in their personal essay.

Prospective doctoral applicants to the Department of Biostatistics who are  interested in statistical genetics or epidemiologic methods are strongly encouraged to apply both to the Department of Biostatistics, and to the Department of Epidemiology with either Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics or Epidemiologic Methods as their area of interest, respectively. Some admissions criteria, such as quality of fit with each department or quality of fit with specific mentors in each department, may vary across departments. In addition, the availability of funding may also vary across departments.

Funding for Master’s students is more limited, and all applicants are encouraged to apply for outside scholarships. The Director of Graduate Studies will also try to match applicants with competitive Harvard scholarships in the area of their research interest.

We believe our students’ graduate experience is enriched and enhanced by a diverse student body. The Harvard School of Public Health and our Department are committed to diversity at all levels, and we welcome applications from underrepresented minority, women, disabled, and economically-disadvantaged students.  Our Department draws students from all parts of the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Eastern and Western Europe.  We particularly encourage applications from international students in the developing world, and invite them to apply for the Vasilios Stavros Lagakos Scholarship.

We believe the extensive resources of our Department, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Harvard University create an ideal environment for the study of biostatistics and bioinformatics.  We hope that you will consider our Department for your graduate education.

Victor DeGruttola, Department Chair

Victor DeGruttola
Chair, Department of Biostatistics