PhD Program

The Johns Hopkins Department of Biostatistics PhD program prepares persons who have demonstrated excellence in mathematics and the natural or social sciences to become research biostatisticians in academia, industry, or government. PhD graduates:

More detailed information is available below, in the Department of Biostatistics Student Handbook, and in the School of Public Health's Policies and Procedures Memorandum on the PhD degree.

Program Overview | Entrance Requirements | Student Evaluations | Research and Teaching Assistantships | Seminars | Scientific Minor | Recommended Curriculum | School of Public Health's Policies and Procedures Memorandum on the PhD degree |  School of Public Health Course Search Engine | Academic Ethics

Program Overview:

The PhD program of the Johns Hopkins Department of Biostatistics provides training in the theory of probability and statistics and in biostatistical methodology. The program is unique in its emphasis on the foundations of statistical reasoning and in requiring its graduates to complete rigorous training in real analysis-based probability and statistics, equivalent to what is provided in most departments of mathematical statistics. To view the PhD program learning competencies click here

The core curriculum consists of the following components:

Entrance Requirements

Incoming students without a strong background in basic biology are strongly encouraged to register for the course Introduction to the Biomedical Sciences (260.600), held in advance of the first term each year during the latter part of August. (Click here to search for course times and descriptions.)

For more information about admission requirements for the School of Public Health, please contact the School's Admissions Office.

Student Evaluations:

The Department is committed to providing every opportunity for its students to successfully complete the academic program of their choice. To support students in progressing toward the degree and to further their educational experience, the Department offers a comprehensive written examination at the end of the first year and a practice oral exam, usually taken no later than six months after the end of the fourth term of the second year. See the Department of Biostatistics Student Handbook for more details about the first-year PhD comprehensive exam

The main purpose of the practice examination is to evaluate students' ability to communicate statistical ideas and concepts.  Students should prepare a paper/proposal related to their potential thesis topic.  In addition, the University requires students to successfully complete a preliminary oral examination, typically taken at the beginning of the third year where a thesis proposal is presented and discussed, and an oral thesis defense, where the completed thesis is defended in a public forum. 


Research and Teaching Assistantships:

The Department of Biostatistics offers teaching and research assistantships to its PhD students on a competitive basis. All PhD applicants (US and international) are ranked based upon their merits; top candidates are offered assistantships which last five years and include full tuition, health insurance, and a living stipend starting at $25,000 per year over the five years of study. In exchange, students are required to apprentice with faculty as research and teaching assistants for up to 19 hours per week. Students find the teaching and research assistantships to be the most valuable part of their PhD experience.


The Department offers a weekly seminar program featuring recent work by outstanding statistical scientists from around the world. Attendance is required for all graduate students. One seminar per month may be designated to be part of the Biostatistics "Grand Rounds" series, which features statistical analyses addressing important public health questions.

Scientific Minor:

Recommended Curriculum:

Year One

Year Two

Year Three
550.600 Responsible Conduct of Research (if not taken in Year One or Year Two)
550.860 Academic and Research Ethics at JHSPH (if not taken previously)
550.865 Public Health Perspectives on Research (if not taken previously)
Coursework in scientific/statistical electives/special studies for a minimum of 16 credits per term

Years Four-Five
Coursework in scientific/statistical electives/special studies for a minimum of 16 credits per term

In order for PhD students to graduate from the Bloomberg School of Public Health: At least 18 credit units of formal coursework are required in courses outside the student's primary department. At least nine of these credits must be taken in the School of Public Health. Additionally, PhD candidates will successfully complete the courses 550.600 Responsible Conduct of Research, 550.860 Academic and Research Ethics at JHSPH, and 550.865 Public Health Perspectives in Research. A waiver to the requirement for Public Health Perspectives is given automatically if a student earned an MPH from a U.S. institution within the last ten years.

Academic Ethics

Students in the Bloomberg School of Public Health are expected to abide by the highest levels of academic and research integrity.   The Johns Hopkins Academic Ethics Code can be found at:

All students must complete an online module to familiarize themselves with this code. (See

As stated in the Academic Ethics Code, "violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations."

For a Biostatistics student, abiding by the Academic Ethics code includes:

  • Completing work on one's own when an individual assignment or examination is given in a course.

  • Providing proper attribution to others' work by providing citations with quotations and giving proper references for all data analysis projects, research proposals and dissertations and theses.


Return to Academic Program List | Return to Home Page