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Doctor of Philosophy - Biostatistics

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus - Aurora, CO

The PhD in Biostatistics prepares students for advanced study and research in biostatistics.  The program targets students with strong skills and training in mathematics and statistics who are interested in applications in health care and biological settings.

PhD Biostatisticians typically function as independent investigators or key collaborators and co-investigators with researchers in other areas.  In this function they take the lead in designing studies and analyses.  Many continue to teach and carry out research developing new statistical methods.  Areas of faculty research include analysis of longitudinal data, clinical trials, statistical methods in genetics and genomics, causal modeling, treatment of missing data and imputation, and power and sample size analysis. To see the wide range of projects undertaken by our students, you can review our previous thesis titles.

Coursework (beyond the MS in Biostatistics) includes: advanced applied statistics; advanced theoretical statistics; and electives in a health care or biological area of the student’s choice.

For students with an MS in biostatistics or a related field the program can be completed in three to four years, with most of the first one to two years devoted to coursework and most of the later years to research and dissertation. Research and dissertation work involves developing, comparing and evaluating statistical methods (e.g. methods for analyzing data), typically motivated by an application in health care or biology.​ PhD students are supported by Research or Teaching Assistant positions.  ​

PhD Biostatistics Program Handbook


PhD Biostatistics Program Plan of Study

Program Requirements - PhD Biostatistics

Required MS Biostatistics Courses   20
Elective MS Biostatistics Courses   6
Required Public Health Courses   6

Foundations in Public Health

Public Health Elective

PUBH 6600



Epidemiology EPID 6630 3
Required PhD Biostatistics Courses   6
Advanced Mathematical Statistics I BIOS 7731 3
Advanced Mathematical Statistics II BIOS 7732 3
Elective PhD Biostatistics Courses
(Courses not listed require director approval)
Statistical Methods in Genomics BIOS 7659 3
Analysis of Correlated Data BIOS 7712 1
Statistical Methods for Missing Data BIOS 7713 2
​Advanced Statistical Computing ​BIOS 7714 ​3
​Stochastic Modeling ​BIOS 7715 ​2
​Topics in Statistical Genetics ​BIOS 7716 ​1
​Bayesian Biostatistical Methods ​BIOS 7717 ​1
​Introduction to Biomedical Image Analysis ​BIOS 7718 ​1
Elective Health Sciences Courses   3
Dissertation BIOS 8990 30

PhD Biostatistics Competencies

Identifier PhD Biostatistics Competencies
Collaboration: Work collaboratively with biomedical or public health researchers on the design, implementation, data analysis and dissemination of research studies.
PHD-BIOS 1 Write or modify study aims so that the aims map to testable hypotheses.
PHD-BIOS 2 Develop and refine the design of studies including appropriate formulation of the study aims, parameterization of the underlying research questions, and evaluation of study information requirements (sample size). Modify and develop new study designs when existing/initial approaches are inadequate.
PHD-BIOS 3 Identify, implement, and correctly interpret appropriate data analysis approaches for study aims, and suggest new methods when existing approaches are inadequate.
PHD-BIOS 4 Obtain basic understanding of biomedical or public health subject matter for collaborative project.
PHD-BIOS 5 Establish and foster effective communication with non-statistician collaborators in written, graphical and verbal forms during the lifetime of the project.
Biostatistical Research: Develop and disseminate new biostatistical design, estimation or hypothesis testing approaches.
PHD-BIOS 6 Read (bio) statistical literature on a subject area and synthesize the strengths and weaknesses of existing research.
PHD-BIOS 7 Use statistical theory and biological/public health knowledge to propose new statistical methods to solve statistical problems deriving out of biomedical/public health research.
PHD-BIOS 8 Use appropriate theory or design and implement appropriate simulation studies to exhibit that new methodology has sound statistical features.
PHD-BIOS 9 Apply new statistical methodology to real data problems in biomedical or public health research.
PHD-BIOS 10 Apply and develop statistical and numerical computing algorithms as related to the development of new methodology.
PHD-BIOS 11 Communicate effectively in written, graphical and verbal forms with biostatisticians. Use advanced techniques for summary and visualization of complex data for exploratory analysis and presentation.
PHD-BIOS 12 Demonstrate statistical programming proficiency, good coding style and use of reproducible research principles in leading statistical software.
Biologic or Public Health Relevance: Show how biostatistical tools apply to and influence research and policy in the biomedical and public health arenas.
PHD-BIOS 13 Read subject specific biomedical or public health literature and synthesize issues that are important in the design, implementation, and analysis of research in the subject area.
PHD-BIOS 14 Apply ethical aspects of public health policy and practice, ensure the quality and security of information used in a study and adhere to the principles of research ethics.
PHD-BIOS 15 Identify areas in a specific biomedical or public health area where existing or new statistical approaches might transform the conduct of research or conclusions derived from research in that area.
Communication: Communicate and teach biostatistical concepts to both biostatistical and non-biostatistical audiences
PHD-BIOS 16 Communicate orally and in writing simple and complex statistical ideas and methods to collaborators in non-technical terms.
PHD-BIOS 17 Identify biostatistical knowledge and skills needed by collaborators and develop materials to communicate that knowledge.
PHD-BIOS 18 Identify biostatistical knowledge and skills needed by peers to understand a specific subject area, and develop materials to communicate that knowledge.

Colorado School of Public Health

13001 E. 17th Place
Mail Stop B119
Aurora, CO 80045


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