What is Biostatistics?

Biostatistics is the science of obtaining, analyzing and interpreting data in order to understand and improve human health. The mission of the Department of Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is to forge advances in science that benefit human health through profound and paradigm-shifting innovations in biostatistical methodology and theory as well as the thoughtful implementation of biostatistical methods in practice. For additional information about the Department, please explore our website or contact us.

How do I apply to a graduate program in Biostatistics?

The Graduate School relies solely on electronic media for the application process. For detailed information regarding the application process online. You are also able to check the status of your application and related materials at this site as well. For departmental information, please contact your academic coordinator.

How do I know that Biostatistics is the right field for me?

If you have a strong mathematical and statistical background with an interest in the health and biomedical sciences or if you have a biological or biomedical degree with good quantitative skills and a strong interest in statistics, you should consider Biostatistics as a field of study for you.

Can I apply directly to the doctoral program with only a bachelor’s degree?

Students with a Bachelor’s degree including strong academic performance in mathematics and statistics can apply directly to the doctoral program. Applicants are also required to have one-year post baccalaureate work experience in public health or a related field for direct admission to that degree.

How long does it take to complete a Master’s degree program?

A typical student should be able to complete all degree requirements for a Master’s degree (MS) in two years.

What is the deadline for completed applications?

There are two application deadlines, the Graduate School and the Department of Biostatistics. The Graduate School deadline is found at http://gradschool.unc.edu/admissions/deadlines.html. This is for students who are interested in merit-based awards offered by the Graduate School. This is on a nomination basis only. The Department of Biostatistics deadline is reflected in the top right corner of the Graduate School application. The department and Graduate School will not accept applications after the deadline.

Must I complete all required courses in my current program of study before I apply?

No. Proof of graduation from your program needs to be submitted at the time of matriculation into our program.

Will the university accept photocopies of GRE and TOEFL?

All scores must be uploaded electronically. While self-reported scores are useful for informal evaluation, the official report of your scores from ETS must arrive before final review and admission can be offered. If you have a problem with your upload, please contact the UNC Graduate School.

What is the department code for GRE and TOEFL?

The Department of Biostatistics has no code number for the purpose of GRE and TOEFL. The institutional code of 5816 is sufficient for sending the scores. You may leave the department code place blank.

What is the UNC institutional code for GRE and TOEFL requirements?

The institutional code for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is 5816. You need not worry about a department code, as ETS sends scores electronically and is downloaded into your record. The Educational Testing Services will not send GRE scores that are older than 5 years or TOEFL scores that are more than 2 years old.

What types of jobs can I get with a doctoral degree in Biostatistics?

A degree in Biostatistics provides different career paths depending on the level of training. Our alumni with a PhD degree accept faculty positions or senior positions in government (Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health) or in industry (pharmaceutical companies or other private research facilities such as Research Triangle Institute, Family Health International, etc).

When will I know the status of my application?

You may track the status of your application via ConnectCarolina as often as you wish. The admission decision is made only after the application is considered complete. All decisions are made by April 15.

As an International student, can I get financial support?

All students, irrespective of their resident status (domestic or international), are eligible for financial support, but such support is not guaranteed with admission. International applicants are strongly encouraged to begin the application process early and to investigate non-university funding sources (such as IIE) thoroughly. All international students must submit a completed financial certificate and required supporting documents specified by the Office of International Student and Scholar Services with the application. Additional information for international students is available from the UNC international center.

How can I find out about financial support?

The financial support available to students can be of different types. The Graduate School and the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health offer merit scholarships (departmentally nominated), and the department supports students through graduate research assistantships. Both domestic and international students are eligible for these types of awards. The Department of Biostatistics also offers National Institutes of Health non-service traineeships to a limited number of US citizens and permanent visa (green card) holders (financial support page). There are additional funding sources available for both domestic and international students for which students can apply directly: Funding Information Portal and Institute of International Education (for international applicants only).

What are the average GRE/GPA scores of admitted students?

The average GRE scores for those who were offered admission for Fall 2012 are: Verbal 163 (electronic) or 595 (paper), Quantitative 165 (electronic) or 800 (paper). Average GPA of admitted students during this period is 3.8* (U.S. Citizens only).

What is the GRE requirement for admission?

All students should take the GRE within the last five years prior to the application deadline. A minimum score in the 50th percentile is recommended in the verbal and quantitative parts of the examination. Although the 50th percentile score varies from year to year, the department’s minimum required scores are generally around 151 (electronic) or 460 (paper) for the verbal and 150 (electronic) or 630 (paper) for the quantitative part of the examination.

Do you admit students in spring semester?

The Department of Biostatistics generally does not admit students in spring semester.

Who can I contact if I have questions about the application or to receive additional information about the program?

You may send an email to Veronica Stallings.

What research areas are emphasized in the training program?

The Department of Biostatistics offers experience in a broad range of research areas, including general biostatistical methodology (both analytical and computer intensive) as well as methodological research relating to specific areas. These areas include clinical trials, cardiovascular disease, cancer, AIDS and other infectious diseases, statistical genetics, demography and population studies, environmental studies, medical imaging, nursing, and many other areas of public health and medical research. (See program concentrations, faculty research projects and faculty publications).

How many applications does the Department of Biostatistics receive each year for the graduate program?

The department typically receives around 300 applications for approximately 30 openings within the two Master’s program and the two doctoral programs. This number tends to increase slightly each year.

Do interested applicants have an opportunity to visit the department?

We encourage applicants to visit during the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s Open House events (usually scheduled in October for applicants and March for those who have received an offer of admission at the time). For more information regarding individual department visits please email Ms. Melissa Hobgood or Ms. Veronica Stallings.

What are the research concentrations in Department of Biostatistics?

There are a variety of projects featured in Department Research.