Prospective Students

We appreciate your interest in becoming a student of the Department of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics. We’ve put together this list of information to familiarize you with the fields of biostatistics and bioinformatics, describe the types of students we seek to join our academic programs, and give you information about admission to our program.

You can learn more about our courses and degree programs by visiting our academics page and about the research we conduct at our research and collaboration pages. Students interested in the Master of Public Health degree offered by the School of Public Health and Information Sciences can refer to the MPH program page or view the SPHIS future students page.

What is Biostatistics?

Biostatistics is the development and application of statistical methodology for health sciences including medicine, nursing, dentistry, and public health. If you envision statistics as a set of tools for designing studies, collecting and analyzing data, reporting results, and making evidence-based decisions, then biostatistics is the set of tools you use most often when working with data in the health sciences.

What is Bioinformatics?

Bioinformatics is a rapidly growing field of statistics involving the discovery and application of statistical methods for proteomic, genomic, metabolomic, and other data. Genetic research has made dramatic advances in recent years, creating massive data sets as well as a need for statistical and computational methods for handling such data. Bioinformatics provides the tools necessary for appropriately handling such data and turning masses of genetic data into information.

Careers in Biostatistics

Biostatisticians are very highly sought after, and graduates can find work in varied fields. Academic biostatisticians are engaged in developing new statistical methods, collaborating with scientists in other fields, and teaching. Biostatisticians employed in government agencies like the FDA, NIH, and CDC do much of the same work as academic biostatisticians. Biostatisticians find work in private industry conducting methodological research and statistical data analysis with contract research organizations (CRO), health insurance companies, and in drug and device development with pharmaceutical companies. Head over to our careers page to find links to current job listings in statistics and biostatistics, and get an idea of what kinds of jobs are available.

Biostatisticians are well-compensated for their expertise. An individual with a master’s degree can expect to earn roughly $60,000 annually upon graduation, while Ph.D. graduates can expect to earn around $80,000 in academia and $100,000 in industry. Consult the salary survey of the American Statistical Association for more details

Students We Seek

For our MS and Ph.D. programs, we’re looking for mathematically capable students that are curious about data in the health sciences. While our academic programs are rigorous, we don’t restrict admission to students with degrees in mathematics or statistics. We welcome students from a diverse array of academic backgrounds and can be flexible about prerequisites for admission (although background in multivariable calculus is a necessity for full admission). The ability to communicate is also important, as our graduates often go on to careers in which collaborating with other scientists is a key role.

Our Certificate in Biostatistics is a less mathematically intensive curriculum, invites students with even more diverse backgrounds. We generally welcome any students with interest in clinical research and some introductory-level quantitative training.

Admission to our Program

We accept applications to our Certificate, MS, and Ph.D. programs year-round, but only fully admit students in the Fall semesters of each academic year. Summer admission to the Certificate and provisional summer admission to the MS program are also available. For summer admission to the Certificate or MS programs, all applications must be received by April 1. For Fall admission, applications must be received by June 30. Provisional MS admission can be granted for the Summer semester, as provisions of admission typically relate to our Summer Math Tools courses. Students interested in applying to the MS but lacking prerequisites in multivariable calculus need to apply before April 1 to be considered for Summer semester provisional admission.

Head over to our Admissions page to learn more about prerequisites for our programs and what you'll need to assemble to apply.

Financial Support

Financial support for Ph.D. students is available on a competitive basis. Applicants interested in an assistantship should apply as early as possible and indicate their desire for financial support in their statement of purpose. Interested students are advised to also explore funding opportunities at the University of Louisville outside of the department.

Who Should I Contact with Questions?

Send an e-mail to or call us at 1-502-852-1827. We'll be sure to get back in touch quickly.  For more general information about admission to graduate programs at the University of Louisville, consult the webpage for the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies.

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