Biostatistics Application and Admission

Students are admitted into the MS and PhD degree programs in Biostatistics for the fall term only. General admission information, as well as a link to the online application system, can be obtained from the Biomedical Graduate Studies (BGS) Website. BGS accepts electronic applications only. Announcements of admission and fellowship awards to successful candidates are typically made by April 15. See application Frequently Asked Questions for more details.

Admission Requirements: Prior Coursework

Entering students in both the MS and PhD programs must have completed:

  • at least one year of calculus (including multivariable calculus)
  • one semester of linear algebra
  • have a working knowledge of a programming language
  • Previous experience with data analysis and statistical packages is desirable but not required. Advanced courses in mathematics are highly encouraged, particularly for students in the PhD program.

A complete application consists of:

Application Form - A complete, submitted online application. The online application will require you to upload the following documents:

  • Personal Statement - Please discuss your academic and career objectives. It should be around 500 words in length. Be as specific as you can about the area in which you plan to study and your reasons for wishing to study at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • If you are applying to certificate program, your personal statement should include a paragraph (~200 words) reflecting your interest in those programs in addition to the doctoral discipline.
  • Research Statement - Please provide a description of your research experience(s), including the goals of each project, approaches used, results obtained, and implications of the findings for the project and the field at large. You may choose to describe a single research experience or several experiences, but please limit your statement to around 1000 words in length.
  • Resume/CV (Please DO NOT include GPA and/or GRE information)
  • Transcripts - All BGS applicants are required to upload up-to-date unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended. These transcripts must include grades for your most recently completed semester and indicate the courses you are enrolled in for the current semester. Transcripts from completed programs should show proof of degree conferral. A final, official transcript showing conferral of degree will be required of all accepted students prior to matriculation.
  • Letters of Recommendation - You will also be prompted to send requests to three (3) people who are able to provide letters of recommendation. They will be sent an email notification with a link to the online recommendation form, which will allow them to upload a PDF of the letter. The application and letters should identify personal attributes, experiences, and accomplishments relevant to success in the program. Applicants who are currently enrolled in a degree program must arrange for at least one letter of recommendation to be sent from a faculty member at their current department.
  • Standardized Test Scores
    • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): BGS does not require or accept GRE scores (general or subject tests).
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the TOEFL, scores for which are valid for two years from the date of the exam. We must receive an official score from ETS by the application deadline. We will waive the TOEFL for applicants whose native language is not English but who have or will obtain a degree from a U.S. or other approved English-instructed institution. There are no minimum score requirements. Our ETS institution code is 2900. In order for your application to be considered complete, official score reports must be received by the application deadline. In order to ensure that your official scores are received in time, we suggest that you take the exam no later than mid-November.

Once the application is submitted, applicants may login to ApplyWeb to see whether transcripts and recommendation letters have been received. Please allow at least two weeks following the deadline for items to be posted to the application. 

For frequently asked questions about the BGS application process, please visit the BGS FAQs page.

Financial Obligations and Support

Students accepted to Biomedical Graduate Studies’ Ph.D. programs receive a fully funded fellowship—including tuition, fees, health insurance, and a competitive stipend—regardless of financial need. Funds for these fellowships are derived from reserves provided by the School of Medicine and the University Provost, NIH training grants and individual fellowships, research grants, and other funding sources.

In general, students accepted into Biomedical Graduate Studies are awarded financial support for the anticipated five to six years required to attain the doctoral degree. The annual stipend for students entering in Fall 2019 is $34,000. In addition, as of Fall 2014, BGS provides new students with a $1,000 relocation award, to help cover start-up costs such as moving expenses and apartment security deposits.

Students who receive full-time support are expected to accept no additional employment during the same time period. Support for MS students depends on the availability of funds; priority is given to full-time students.

Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships are available for qualified students.

Financial Aid

The Office of Student Financial Services provides students with information on student expenses and billing, processes financial aid applications, awards financial assistance, and administers the Penn Plan payment programs. The Office address is:

Room 100 Franklin Building
3451 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6270

Tuition costs for future years have not yet been determined. The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania reserve the right to increase tuition and fees and to otherwise amend the regulations concerning tuition and fees at any time and to make such changes applicable to students in the University at that time.

Diversity Statement

The Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Informatics (DBEI) values diversity and seeks talented students from diverse backgrounds, including individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Further, the DBEI does not discriminate on the basis of color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a disabled or Vietnam Era veteran in the administration of its educational policies, programs or activities, admissions policies and procedures, and scholarship programs. Women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds are especially encouraged to apply to the DBEI's educational programs.

For additional information, please contact:

Eli Elliott
Coordinator, Graduate Group in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
Tel: 215-573-3881