Degree Programs

Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD program is designed for those who have demonstrated both interest and ability in scholarly research. The department’s program is designed to prepare students for careers in the theory and practice of biostatistics and bioinformatics, and includes training in the development of methodology, consulting, teaching, and collaboration on a broad spectrum of problems related to human health, genomics, and basic biology.

The Ph.D. program in Biostatistics prepares students in the following five competencies:

    1. Applying innovative probabilistic and statistical theory and computing methods to the development of new biostatistical or bioinformatics methodology, publishing of original methodological research, and the solution of public health problems
    2. Providing scientific and biostatistical or bioinformatics leadership in the design, conduct, and analysis of collaborative research studies in medicine and public health
    3. Applying modern statistical and computational methods to effectively analyze complex medical and public health data, including the development of new software for non-standard problems and simulation methods
    4. Collaborating and communicating effectively with research scientists in related disciplines
    5. Teaching biostatistics or bioinformatics effectively to health professionals, research scientists, and graduate students

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

All candidates for admission to the Ph.D. and Master’s programs must have:
  • Successfully completed calculus through multivariable integration and one semester of linear algebra
  • Knowledge of a programming language
All candidates for admission to the Ph.D. and Master’s programs are encouraged to have:
  • Completed courses in: probability, statistics, advanced calculus or real analysis, and numerical analysis
  • Practical knowledge of a statistical computing package such as SAS, Splus, R, Stata, or SPSS
  • Have completed courses in biology, computational biology, and genetics, if interested in bioinformatics
  • Knowledge of a scripting language such as Python or Perl and some familiarity with relational databases, if interested in bioinformatics

From time to time the Department will admit students to our programs without this level of preparation with the understanding that the student will promptly make up any deficiencies, usually by taking additional courses prior to entering the program.

FUNDING

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
  • Competitive HSPH & GSAS 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.

APPLICATION INFORMATION

Qualified applicants may apply to this program without a prior advanced degree.

Online application for admission to the Ph.D. program is located on the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Admissions Office website.
For more information on general requirements for admission:
GSAS Admissions Office
(617) 496-6100


Master of Science Degrees

The Master of Science programs in Biostatistics train students in the basics of statistical theory, biostatistical and bioinformatics methods in planning studies, conducting analyses, and writing reports, the interpretation of numeric data for scientific inference in studies in medicine and public health, and the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively with scientists in related disciplines. Application areas include observational studies, clinical trials, computational biology and quantitative genomics, statistical genetics, and medical and public health research, among other areas.

The Department of Biostatistics offers 4 Master of Science programs – each are designed for students with varying backgrounds and goals:

80-credit Master of Science in Biostatistics 

Provides training in statistical theory and a variety of statistical, computational, and bioinformatics methods for application in medicine and public health. Two areas of interest are offered: Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. This program is appropriate for students considering doctoral level work or Master’s level medical research positions upon completion.

60-credit Master of Science in Biostatistics

Designed to prepare students with a quantitative undergraduate degree for applied research positions in universities, hospitals, and industry.  This program requires the completion of a thesis in addition to coursework.

42.5-credit Master of Science in Biostatistics

Designed for students with a mathematical and statistical background sufficient to achieve a level of proficiency after one year of study comparable to that obtained in the 80-credit program. Students who have a Master’s degree in one of the mathematical sciences or a doctorate in a quantitative field may be qualified for a one-year SM program.

80-credit Master of Science in Computational Biology & Quantitative Genetics

Offered jointly with the Department of Epidemiology, this program provides students with the rigorous quantitative training and essential skills needed to successfully meet the challenges presented by large-scale public health data — “Big Data” — in biomedical research.  It is intended as a terminal professional degree which will enable you to launch your career in bioinformatics. It can also provide the foundation for further doctoral studies in biostatistics, epidemiology, computational biology, and other related fields.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

All candidates for admission to the Ph.D. and Master’s programs must have:
  • Successfully completed calculus through multivariable integration and one semester of linear algebra
  • Knowledge of a programming language
All candidates for admission to the Ph.D. and Master’s programs are encouraged to have:
  • Completed courses in: probability, statistics, advanced calculus or real analysis, and numerical analysis
  • Practical knowledge of a statistical computing package such as SAS, Splus, R, Stata, or SPSS
  • Have completed courses in biology, computational biology, and genetics, if interested in bioinformatics
  • Knowledge of a scripting language such as Python or Perl and some familiarity with relational databases, if interested in bioinformatics

From time to time the Department will admit students to our programs without this level of preparation with the understanding that the student will promptly make up any deficiencies, usually by taking additional courses prior to entering the program.

FUNDING

Funding for master’s students is limited, and all applicants are encouraged to apply for outside scholarships.  The Department will try to match master’s applicants with competitive Harvard scholarships in the area of their research interest, master’s students are encouraged to find part-time research or teaching assistantships.

For further assistance with funding for master’s programs, please contact HSPH Student Financial Services.

 

APPLICATION INFORMATION: Master’s Degrees

Online application for admission to the SM programs is located on the School of Public Health Admissions Office website.
For information on general requirements for admission: HSPH Catalog or HSPH Admissions Office
(617) 432-1031