PhD in Biostatistics - Statistical Genetics Pathway


The curriculum for the Statistical Genetics pathway serves as part of the core curriculum for PhD students in Biostatistics, with directed core coursework covering this exciting area of research. In Autumn 2000 the Departments of Biostatistics and Statistics at the University of Washington, together with colleagues in Genetics, Zoology, Medicine, and Molecular Biotechnology, initiated a new program of graduate study in Statistical Genetics. The curriculum is intended to serve as a part of the core curriculum for Ph.D. students in Biostatistics and Statistics following the new Statistical Genetics pathway in these two programs.


Students interested in graduate study in Statistical Genetics should apply directly to the Statistics or Biostatistics department in the usual way. At the University of Washington, these two departments maintain a close partnership in their graduate programs, and the Statistical Genetics curriculum is a joint endeavor.   Students should apply to whichever department they feel is most generally suited to their interests and should specify clearly an interest in Statistical Genetics.

Concurrent Option:   PhD/MD

Application Deadline:  Dec 1 - Autumn Quarter Entry


Upon satisfactory completion of the PhD in Biostatistics, graduates will be able to:

  • Meet the learning objectives of the MS program in Biostatistics;
  • Recommend and defend appropriate choices of methods to analyze independent outcome data; 
  • Implement non-standard statistical methods accurately and efficiently; 
  • Provide rigorous proofs characterizing the properties of standard statistical methods;
  • Consult effectively with other scientists, addressing statistical issues in the design and analysis of public health or biomedical studies; and
  • Design and carry out biostatistical research that will propose a new statistical method or will provide new information about the properties of existing methods.

Learning objectives for the PhD program in Biostatistics in the Statistical Genetics Pathway: 

The Statistical Genetics Pathway provides training in the areas of Statistical Genetics, Population Genetics, and Computational Molecular Biology. Upon satisfactory completion of the PhD program in Biostatistics in the Statistical Genetics Pathway, graduates will be able to: 

  • Read and probe current theoretical, methodological and applied literature in Statistical Genetics, including literature relating to models for the analysis of population or molecular genetic data, i) explain strengths and weaknesses of alternative approaches; ii) choose appropriate approaches; iii) develop methods and models that extend our understanding of data that are the outcome of genetic and evolutionary mechanisms; and iv) interpret analyses; 
  • Evaluate models of Population and Quantitative Genetics and of Computational Molecular Biology, in order to relate the models and data of statistical genetics to the constraints of inheritance and the molecular mechanisms of DNA replication and repair; and
  • Explain the structure of molecular genetic data, including DNA sequence data and demonstrate skills to work with massive data sets.