PhD in Biostatistics FAQs

PhD in Biostatistics FAQs

How much will I pay for tuition and fees for the Biostatistics PhD program?
To estimate the tuition and fees, use the calculator provided by the IUPUI Office of the Bursar.

Is financial support available for students in the Biostatistics PhD program?
Financial support is available to qualified students in the form of Teaching Assistantships (TAs), Research Assistantships (RAs), or University Fellowships. In addition, supported students receive a fee scholarship, which remits most of the cost of tuition and payment of the mandatory student health insurance premium. Financial support may be renewed for up to 10 semesters provided the recipient is making satisfactory progress toward the degree and is discharging the teaching or research assignment in an approved and professional manner. As the objective of financial support is to allow the student to devote their full effort to their studies and research responsibilities, it is expected that recipients will not hold any outside employment.

About Teaching Assistantships 
To qualify for a Teaching Assistantship, foreign students must take the SPEAK exam (oral English proficiency) administered by the IUPUI ESL program. Students who do not pass the exam must enroll in G020 Communication Skills for TAs before retaking the exam. Teaching assistants will be responsible for teaching (instruction, recitation, tutoring, and/or grading) up to 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters, plus one of the six-week summer sessions. Vacation time is dictated by the academic calendar and is not to exceed four weeks per academic year. Students whose performance as a TA is deemed unsatisfactory will be notified so they can improve their performance. If sufficient improvement has not been made by the end of the following semester, support will be terminated.

About Research Assistantships
Some program faculty may have research grants that include a 12-month stipend, tuition remission, and fees for graduate students assigned to work on the funded research project. The availability of research assistantships varies each year. Awards are usually not made by the department, but rather are arranged with the professor serving as PI or the leading investigator of the funded research project.
Research Assistants are expected to devote up to 20 hours per week to their assigned research responsibilities during the year. Vacation time must be pre-arranged with the RA supervisor, and is not to exceed four weeks per academic year. Students whose performance as an RA is deemed insufficient will be notified and given one semester to correct the deficiency. If sufficient improvement is not made, support will be terminated.

About University Fellowships
Doctoral students with outstanding credentials may receive competitive first year IUPUI Fellowships. If university stipends are less than support levels offered by the program, students will be guaranteed support equal to minimum program levels after the first year, contingent on satisfactory performance. All first year Fellowships come with fee remission and graduate student health insurance.

Do Biostatistics PhD students have the option of enrolling either full-time or part-time?
Yes, the program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis.

Is the Biostatistics PhD program offered online?
No, the Biostatistics PhD program is not currently offered online. However, some courses in PhD minor areas are offered online.

I would like to meet with the Biostatistics PhD program director. Is that possible?
Yes, e-mail Shawne Mathis,, or call (317) 274-3126 to schedule an appointment.

How many students do you admit each year?
Cohorts of approximately four to six students are admitted to the Biostatistics PhD program for matriculation in the fall semester.

Is there a time limit for courses that may be applied toward a Biostatistics PhD program?
Biostatistics PhD courses must be completed within seven years of the student taking the oral qualifying exam. Courses taken more than seven years prior to taking the qualifying exam must be revalidated before they can be applied to the PhD program.

How long do I have to complete the PhD program?
Admission to the program is valid for 10 years. Course work must be completed in seven years or less, and the dissertation must be completed within the 10-year limit.

What is the application deadline for Biostatistics PhD program?
The application deadline for the Biostatistics PhD program is December 15.

Will my application still be considered if it is submitted after the deadline?
Late or incomplete applications will not be considered after the December 15 deadline.

What are the requirements for admission?
Any applicant who has a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an accredited institution and shows promise for successfully completing all the degree requirements will be considered for admission to this program.

  • Applicants must have at least a B (3.00 GPA on a 4.0 scale) average in courses taken during the last two years of their earlier degree studies, and a grade of B+ (3.50 GPA) in courses required as prerequisites for the program.
  • Students entering this program should have a minimal mathematics background consisting of an undergraduate course sequence in univariate and multivariate calculus (equivalent to MATH 16500, 16600, and 26100 at IUPUI) and a course in linear algebra (including matrix theory). In addition, applicants should have had a calculus-based undergraduate course in probability or statistics. Prospective applicants who do not have this background must acquire it prior to admission to the program.
  • Applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test, and those whose native language is not English must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and achieve a score of at least 570 (or 230 on the computer version of the test, or 79 on the internet-based test).

How do I apply for admission?
Applicants must apply online through SOPHAS, the centralized Schools of Public Health Application Service. Be sure to designate the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health as your school choice, along with your desired program.

To where should my recommendation letters be sent?
You will be asked to submit e-mail addresses for your recommenders as part of the SOPHAS online application. After your online application is submitted, recommendation forms and submission instructions will be sent electronically to your recommenders.

What supporting documents are required for admission to the Biostatistics PhD program?
In addition to completing the online application, you must submit the following documents through SOPHAS:

  • Official transcripts from all U.S. colleges and universities attended. Transcripts should be submitted directly from the institution.
  • World Education Services (WES) ICAP course-by-course evaluation for all post-secondary foreign institutions attended. 
  • Current resume or CV.
  • GRE or other graduate exam test scores. GRE scores, sent directly from the testing service (ETS) to SOPHAS. The Fairbanks School of Public Health SOPHAS code for the GRE is 0167.
  • TOEFL scores if your first language was not English. The SOPHAS TOEFL code is 5688.

I have a graduate degree, and I took the GRE before being admitted to that program. Do I have to take the GRE again?
If you took the GRE five years ago or less, you can have the testing service (ETS) send those scores to SOPHAS for your Biostatistics PhD application. If it has been more than five years since you took the GRE, you will need to take the test again.

Can I submit a paper application?
No, only applications submitted online through SOPHAS will be accepted.

In addition to applying to SOPHAS, will I also need to apply to IUPUI?
Yes, in addition to applying to SOPHAS, all applicants are required to complete an abbreviated application to the IUPUI Online Graduate and Professional Admissions Application system, accessible through the link provided in the SOPHAS application.

What is the application cost?
For the current application cost, visit the SOPHAS website

How can I check on my application status?
You will be notified via email when we have received your application from SOPHAS.

What is the IUPUI Institution Code for the GRE and TOEFL?
The code is 1325.

Is the GRE subject test required?
No, the GRE subject test is not required.

May I send photocopies of my test scores?
No, photocopies are not acceptable. Official test scores are required and must be sent to SOPHAS directly from the testing service (Code: 0167).

If I applied to or graduated from another graduate program at Indiana University, do I have to have my test scores sent from the testing service again?
Yes, you must have your test scores sent to SOPHAS.

I have degrees and/or coursework from Indiana University. Do I need to have my IU transcripts sent to apply for the PhD program?
Yes, you must have your transcripts sent to SOPHAS.

If I have a Master's degree from an American university, do I have to submit scores for the TOEFL exam?
A bachelor's or higher degree from a country designated by IUPUI as predominantly native-English speaking is required to exempt you from taking the TOEFL exam or providing other acceptable proof of English proficiency.

Is it necessary for me to take the English Placement test?
Applicants providing proof of a score 100 or higher on the TOEFL exam, or 7.5 on the IELTS exam are exempt from the requirement to take the EAP exam at IUPUI. Applicants with lower scores are required to take the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) exam.

I would like to know if my degree is the equivalent of an American university B.A. or B.S. degree. Can you tell me if I can be admitted with my current degree?
The SOPHAS application system requires a World Education Services (WES) ICAP course-by-course evaluation for all post-secondary foreign institutions attended. The Admissions Committee will use this document to guide them in their decisions for international students. When the committee recommends admission for an international applicant, IUPUI’s office of International Affairs will conduct their own evaluation to finalize the admission process.

When are admissions decisions made?
Applications for the Biostatistics PhD program will be reviewed by the program's admissions committee after the December 15 application deadline. The committee may conduct face-to-face interviews with applicants. The committee typically begins making admission decisions and notifying applicants of their admission status in March.

How are the admissions decisions made?
The admissions committee uses the submitted application material to assess an applicant’s scientific leadership potential and ability to engage in advanced graduate work. In addition, the admissions committee will compare the applicant’s career goals and objectives with the mission of the Biostatistics PhD program.

I received notification that I have been accepted to the Biostatistics PhD program. Do I have to return the enclosed 'Intent to Accept / Decline' form?
Yes, you are required to complete and return the "Intent to Accept / Decline" by the deadline indicated on the form.

I was accepted to the Biostatistics PhD program. Do I need to meet with my graduate advisor prior to enrolling in courses?
Yes. A faculty advisor will be assigned to you upon acceptance into the program. You will need to talk with your advisor before registering for classes in the fall. If you are unable to meet in person, you can make an appointment for a telephone conversation.

How do I register for classes?
Students register for classes online through a program called OneStart. Registration details will be sent to all admitted students over the summer.

Can I begin a PhD program in the spring semester?
Applications for PhD programs are reviewed only once per year. Students are expected to begin the program the following fall. In special circumstances, other arrangements may be possible.

Is housing provided by the university?
The on-campus housing options include campus apartments, residence halls, and townhomes. Learn more about on campus housing options.

What professional associations are available for me to join?
Professional Associations are a great source of information about internships, career pathways, conferences, scholarships, opportunities to meet people in your field, and a whole host of career-related topics.