FAQs

Master's ProgramsMaster's Programs

Please note: As we transition our application system to SOPHAS, all information below is subject to change. Please make sure to check back frequently for updates. 


How do I apply to the Biostatistics Program? 

The School of Public Health is transitioning to the SOPHAS online application service for the 2017-18 admissions year.  The next SOPHAS cycle, 2016-2017, will open on August 18, 2016. For more information on how to apply please visit the SOPHAS application Instructions here. If you have any questions, please contact SOPHAS Customer Service at 617-612-2090 or sophasinfo@sophas.org.

Deadline: Applications are due by February 1

Are GREs required?
Results from a recent GRE general test (within five years) are required. Subject tests are not required, but may be submitted. MCAT and other related tests for professional schools cannot be substituted for the GRE. Details on how to submit your GRE scores in SOPHAS can be found here or on their website. Please use Brown SPH SOPHAS- 7765 as the reporting code.

What is the average GRE score of applicants/What GRE scores are you looking for?

There is no minimum GRE score required.  Scores are interpreted in the context of the entire application. However, many of our applicants have scored above 160 on the math section. Scores on the verbal and written portions are often lower, but are important for students applying for the ScM degree that requires a thesis. If scores on one or more parts is unusually low, it may be worth a brief explanation in the personal statement. The GRE Math Subject Test is NOT needed; coursework in math, especially multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and probability and statistics (if taken) is looked at instead. Applicants should send all score reports through the SOPHAS application portal.  Please use Brown SPH SOPHAS- 7765 as the reporting code.

Do I need to send my official documents (GRE, TOEFL, transcript) or are self-reported scores acceptable?

Official GRE and TOEFL test scores are required and should be submitted through SOPHAS using the process described on their website here. Please use Brown SPH SOPHAS- 7765 as the reporting code. Your application will not be considered complete and will not be reviewed until all official test scores are attached.  

What GPA are you looking for?

As with the GRE, the GPA is interpreted in context. We are looking for demonstrated excellence in courses, particularly those related to the proposed field of study.

What type of coursework preparation do I need?
 Students should have good mathematical preparation, including multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and mathematical probability using calculus.You may apply before completing these courses, however they need to have been completed prior to starting the program.

 

What are the requirements for foreign applicants?

No special requirements for foreign applicants other than what is required by the Graduate School – that information can be found here: http://www.brown.edu/academics/gradschool/application-information/international-applicants

Although not required, it may be helpful if one of your letters of recommendation is from a native English speaker who can comment on your spoken and written English proficiency.

Are TOEFL scores required? Do TOEFL scores expire?

TOEFL scores are required of international students, unless a student has or is expecting to receive a BS or MS from a U.S. university or from an institution where the primary language is English. TOEFL or IELTS scores submitted should be from within the last two years. For more detail, see the Graduate School policy. Brown requires a score of at least 90 for admission. TOEFL Scores must be submitted through SOPHAS. Please use Brown SPH SOPHAS- 7765 as the reporting code.

How can I get a TOEFL waiver if I have attended a US University/Institution? 

If you are an international student that has or are expecting a degree from a US University/Institution you will qualify for a TOEFL waiver through SOPHAS. 

How many applications do the programs receive? How many students to you expect to enroll in the program this coming school year?

The number of applications received varies from year to year.  The department aims to have about 15 students in each incoming class

What type of undergraduate degree do I need?

We do not require a specific type of undergraduate degree. Applications from students in applied fields such as biology, biochemistry, economics and computer science are strongly encouraged, with the understanding that necessary mathematical coursework needs to be completed before enrollment in the program.

Should I apply to the ScM or AM program?

Both programs require the same courses, but the ScM program also requires completing a project or thesis, described on the program website.  The ScM degree therefore indicates to prospective employers that the student has carried out and written up a research project which may be advantageous in some circumstances. Students with writing difficulties may be required to switch to an AM.

Is it possible to switch from the ScM to the AM program or vice versa after enrollment?

Yes, this is possible, with the consent of the Program Director.

Should I apply to the PhD or ScM program?

Admission to the PhD program is much more selective. Successful candidates usually have demonstrated strong quantitative skills and often have a prior baccalaureate or Master’s degree in statistics or a related field.

If I am applying to the PHD Program may I also be considered for the Master's Program?

Due to our current switch to the SOPHAS application we are unsure if this will be a possibility. We will update this information as soon as we know the answer.


Are there any circumstances under which the application fee can be waived?

Due to our current switch to the SOPHAS application we are unsure if this will be a possibility. We will update this information as soon as we know the answer.

Do my letters of recommendation have to be written by professors?

Not necessarily, but the letter writers must be in a position to evaluate your academic performance in courses relevant to the proposed field of study. In addition, we like to see letters of support from those who can attest to your interest in and aptitude for quantitative work related to biostatistics as well as those who have supervised you in a biostatistics related job or internship 

Can students be admitted to Biostatistics for the spring semester? 

Not generally, because course sequencing assumes that students will start in the fall semester. In exceptional circumstances, or when course requirements have been satisfied, a spring entry can occur.

Is it possible to pursue a part-time program?

Yes, but most of our students are full-time, and the possibility of part-time study would need to be discussed with the Graduate Program Director.

How and when will I know if I am admitted?

Upon review by the Admissions Committee, suitable candidates’ may be notified informally by the department as their application is reviewed (as early as February). This is not a binding offer. Only the graduate school is allowed to make a formal offer, and these are sent out typically in March.

What financial support is available to incoming students?

All students who apply will be considered for partial tuition scholarship. You will be notified of this upon receiving your decision letter. Additional Master’s funding options can be found here on Brown’s Graduate School website.

 Recognizing that many students need additional funding sources, if accepted to one of our programs we can work with you to identify potential internal and external collaborative relationships to provide research apprenticeships and internship opportunities once you arrive on campus in the fall. While these opportunities vary from year to year, several research apprenticeships have been made available through the Centers within the School of Public Health, with Brown affiliated hospitals and with the RI Department of Public Health. As a Biostatistics Masters Graduate student, you will be made aware of such opportunities when and if they become known, but apprenticeships are not guaranteed.

May admission to a graduate program be deferred?

Yes, a request for deferral of admission based on personal circumstances is considered on a case-by-case basis. Your place in the next year's entering class is reserved.

What does it cost to attend?
 Tuition and fees vary from year to year, but fees are charged by course.  More detailed information on tuition costs and fees can be found on the Graduate School website.
 

(Note: that these figures are based on a 4-course-per-semester schedule and ScM Master's Course load is usually 3-2-2-2, over the course of 4 semesters and AM course load is 3-2-2-1) You are also responsible for Health Services Fee, Student Activity Fee, and Student Recreation Fee and Health Insurance costs.

What statistical software is most emphasized in the program? 

Most courses use most widely used programs are R for instruction. Stata is also commonly used. Training in SAS is also available, from the School of Public Health. Facility in any of these programs is a plus, but is not required, as it is introduced in the curriculum.

May I schedule a visit to learn more about your program?

We normally invite all admitted students to a Masters Recruiting Day in early March. On that day, faculty and administrators are available to meet with students. Candidates who cannot attend that day can arrange to come another day, but are not guaranteed to be able to speak with all faculty.