2012-2013 Program Requirements for UCLA Graduate Degrees
Applicable only to students admitted during the 2012-2013 academic year.
School of Public Health
The Department of Biostatistics offers the Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in Biostatistics.
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772
Leading to the degree of
Admission Limited to
Deadline to apply
GRE (General and/or Subject)
Letters of Recommendation
3 (two from professors and one from an employer, or, if no employer, three from professors)
In addition to the University's minimum requirements and those listed above, all applicants are expected to submit the departmental application through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS] and a statement of purpose. Applicants with bachelor's degrees in mathematics, computer science, or a field of application in biostatistics are preferred.
Prior field experience is not required as a condition of admission, although a background of public health experience may be considered
Undergraduate preparation for the program should include second-year calculus or equivalent.
An adviser is appointed for each new master's student by the head of the respective department. Student and adviser together agree upon a study list for each academic quarter and any subsequent alterations must be approved by both the adviser and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs. Students are expected to meet with their advisers each quarter. A departmental guidance committee is established when the student has completed approximately half of the program for the master's degree. Members of the departmental guidance committee are nominated by the department chair after consultation with the student and the student's adviser.
An adviser is responsible for the student's academic progress. Progress is evaluated on an ongoing basis. At the end of each quarter, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs reviews academic listings of students and notifies them and the advisers when the cumulative grade-point average is below 3.0. Advisers review each case with their advisees and make recommendations to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs for continuance or dismissal. Students who wish to change advisers must file a petition that must be approved by the new adviser, the department chair, and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.
Areas of Study
Consult the graduate adviser for the areas of specialization. Typical course plans are listed below.
Foreign Language Requirement
The M.S. degree requires a minimum of nine graduate and upper division courses, of which at least five must be graduate courses (200 and 500 series). The five required graduate courses must be in biostatistics or mathematical statistics, including at least three courses in biostatistics. Unless previously taken, the following courses must be included in the degree program: Biostatistics 110A, 110B, 200A, 200B-200C, 202A, 202B, M215, 240, 402A, 402B, 596; and 12 units of special topics courses from Biostatistics M210 through M238 (except M215), 403A, or 410 through 419. At least four of the 12 units must be in the 200 series.
Exceptional students who have had a year course in probability and theoretical statistics plus one or more courses in applied statistics may be able to complete the degree in one year. Other courses in biostatistics or mathematical statistics, or in related areas such as biology, physiology, public health, management, or mathematics, are selected with the adviser's consent and approved by the chair. A written report and written comprehensive examination covering the above course material must be passed. A failed examination can be repeated only once.
Comprehensive Examination Plan
Students are required to pass a written comprehensive examination that covers the content of the required courses. No more than one reexamination after failure is allowed. Students who do not take the reexamination at the time specified by the department forfeit their right to reexamination.
From graduate admission to award of the degree (depending upon the program), normal progress is from three to seven quarters. Upper time limit for completion of all requirements is seven quarters of enrollment, including quarters enrolled in previous graduate study at a UC campus prior to admission to the School of Public Health. Maximum time allowable from enrollment to graduation, including leaves of absence, is five years.
A faculty adviser is appointed for each beginning doctoral student by the department chair. The adviser meets with the student each quarter to discuss academic progress. When the student advances to candidacy, the chair of the dissertation committee becomes the student's adviser.
Major Fields or Subdisciplines
Consult the graduate adviser.
Foreign Language Requirement
Students must complete the following courses, unless previously taken: Biostatistics 250A-250B, 251, 255; Statistics 200B-200C; and at least three 4-unit special topics courses from the Biostatistics 230, 270, and 280 series. Some substitution is accepted from courses in statistics and biomathematics. For students who have not completed a master's degree or equivalent in Biostatistics, the following additional courses must be included in the degree program, unless previously taken: Biostatistics 200A-200B-200C, 202B, M215.
In addition, the student's full program of study must be approved by the department and must include, at the graduate level, three areas of knowledge: biostatistics; mathematical statistics; and a third field such as AIDS, biology, epidemiology, infectious diseases, medicine, microbiology, pharmacology, physiology, psychology, zoology, or public health. Students must also enroll in Biostatistics 409 for three consecutive quarters and Biostatistics 245 every quarter.
Teaching experience is recommended but not required.
Written and Oral Qualifying Examinations
Academic Senate regulations require all doctoral students to complete and pass University written and oral qualifying examinations prior to doctoral advancement to candidacy. Also, under Senate regulations the University oral qualifying examination is open only to the student and appointed members of the doctoral committee. In addition to University requirements, some graduate programs have other pre-candidacy examination requirements. What follows in this section is how students are required to fulfill all of these requirements for this doctoral program.
Before advancement to candidacy, students must pass two written qualifying examinations and the University Oral Qualifying Examination.
The written mathematical statistics examination is normally taken in Fall Quarter of the second year in residence. The written biostatistics examination is normally taken in Fall Quarter of the second year. The University Oral Qualifying Examination is taken before advancement to candidacy and after successful completion of the written examinations. The examination is administered by the doctoral committee and usually consists of a preliminary defense of the dissertation proposal.
A failed examination may be repeated once. The timing of reexaminations is specified by the department in the case of written examinations or by the student's committee in the case of the oral examination. Students who do not take the reexaminations at the specified time forfeit their right to reexamination.
Advancement to Candidacy
Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.
Every doctoral degree program requires the completion of an approved dissertation that demonstrates the student's ability to perform original, independent research and constitutes a distinct contribution to knowledge in the principal field of study.
Final Oral Examination (Defense of the Dissertation)
Required for all students in the program.
Maximum allowable time for the attainment of the degree is 20 quarters of enrollment or eight years. This limitation includes quarters enrolled in previous graduate study at a UC campus prior to admission to the doctoral degree program and leaves of absence. It is expected that students without a master's degree normally will: complete the written qualifying examinations at the end of the second year of residence (six quarters); advance to candidacy by the end of the third year (nine quarters); and complete the dissertation and defense within 18 months of advancement to candidacy. The doctoral program is usually shortened by one year if students enter with a master's degree.
Termination of Graduate Study and Appeal of Termination
A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be recommended for termination of graduate study. A graduate student may be disqualified from continuing in the graduate program for a variety of reasons. The most common is failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00) required by the Academic Senate to remain in good standing (some programs require a higher grade point average). Other examples include failure of examinations, lack of timely progress toward the degree and poor performance in core courses. Probationary students (those with cumulative grade point averages below 3.00) are subject to immediate dismissal upon the recommendation of their department. University guidelines governing termination of graduate students, including the appeal procedure, are outlined in Standards and Procedures for Graduate Study at UCLA.
Special Departmental or Program Policy
In addition to the standard reasons outlined above, a student may be recommended for termination for failure to complete the required course work within seven quarters of matriculation.
In addition to the standard reasons outlined above, a student may be recommended for termination for failure to maintain a 3.00 grade point average for two consecutive quarters following matriculation into the doctoral program; a second failure of any written qualifying examination in the major or minor fields; a second failure of either oral examination; or exceeding enrollment time limits.
A student may appeal a recommendation for termination first to the departmental chair, then to the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, then to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and finally to the dean of the school.