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Program Overview

The Ph.D. Biostatistics track in the Statistics Ph.D. program at UMBC is a joint venture between UMBC, the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the University of Maryland Marlene & Steweart Greenebaum Cancer Center. During their stay in the program the students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in collaborative research at the School of Medicine and Greenebaum Cancer Center. This program will be unique in its emphasis on the theoretical foundations of statistical reasoning, as well as in the requirement that graduates have a scientific minor in one of the many important biomedical fields, including clinical trials, bioinformatics, population epidemiology, gerontology, etc.

The program requirements of the Statistics Ph.D. program are 1) A Ph.D. level pass in the written comprehensive examination 2) Passing the doctoral qualifying oral examination 3) Admission to candidacy 4) Completion of the residency requirements 5) Completion and successful defense of a Ph.D. dissertation. The current statistics Ph.D. program requires the students, in consultation with respective advisors and the graduate program director, to focus their coursework on a subfield of statistics. The proposed Biostatistics track is essentially a pre-approved cluster of coursework that would prepare the students for writing a dissertation in Biostatistics with a substantial exposure to applications.

The detailed requirements for the Biostatistics track consists of the following components:

Coursework at UMBC

  • Probability and Statistical Inference
  • Generalized Linear Models (GLM), and/or Categorical Data Analysis
  • Biostatistics: Causal Effect Evaluation Methods and Designs

Scientific minor in Epidemiology and/or Cancer Research

The students will fulfill the scientific minor requirement by carrying on project research and taking at least three courses in one of the following areas of active biostatistical research:

  • Clinical Trials
  • Population Epidemiology
  • Bioinformatics
  • Aging Studies

(The choices for the area for the Scientific Minor are not limited to the list given above. Students can do scientific minor in other research areas related to the existing faculty expertise with prior approval from the graduate program director. )

Recommended Sequence of Courses in first two years

1st Fall Semester 

  • UMBC : Stat 651/611 (Probability), 602 (Classical Design) / 618 (Applied multivariate analysis)
  • UMB: Prev 600 (Epidemiology)

1st Spring Semester 

  • UMBC : Stat 601 (Regression) / 603 (Categorical Data Analysis), 653 (Statistics), 633 (Statistical Computing)

2nd year: 

  • UMBC : Stat 613 (GLM), 619 (Causal Treatment Effect Evaluation and Design),
    Stat 620 (LDA and Survival Analysis)
  • UMB: Prev XXX (two courses for Scientific Minor)

Students may be required to take extra courses if the program committee finds that their background is not adequate. At the time of admission, the program committee will evaluate the transcript and recommend preparatory courses, if necessary.

Students are advised to attend the following seminar series:

  • Statistics colloquium at the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at UMBC.
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics seminars at the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at UMB.
  • Biostatistics Division of Greenebaum Cancer Center at UMB seminar series.

Student Milestones

  • A Ph.D. level pass on the department's written comprehensive examinations, after completing the Stat651/653, and Stat 601/602 sequences. After passing the written exam, student needs to form a dissertation committee, typically co-chaired by UMBC and UMB faculty
  • Completing the coursework for the scientific minor.
  • Passing the Ph.D. qualifying oral examination. Students should prepare a paper/proposal related to their potential thesis topic.
  • Admission to candidacy.
  • Completing residency requirements of the university.
  • Completing and successfully defending a Ph.D. dissertation.