Requirements and How to Apply to Biostatistics

Please review these detailed requirements and instructions for applying to the MS or PhD graduate program at University of Iowa Department of Biostatistics.

Admission Requirements

MS in Biostatistics

  • You must have earned a bachelor’s or professional degree.
  • You must have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0.
  • The GRE examination is not a requirement for fall 2025.
  • International students, except permanent residents, must submit scores from TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo.   An acceptable TOEFL score is a minimum of 600 (250 computer-based test or 100 internet-based test) or a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 (with no subscore lower than 6.0).  The minimum Duolingo test score is 110.  Automatic waivers of this requirement are granted for persons who have, or will have, completed a bachelor’s degree (or higher) at an accredited university in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada (excluding French Quebec), Africa (English speaking), Australia, or New Zealand.
  • You must have the ability to program in at least one computer language.
  • You must have three collegiate-level courses in calculus [topics to include single variable, integral and multivariable] (at the level of University of Iowa courses MATH:1850, MATH:1860, and MATH:2850 — see descriptions below) and a collegiate-level course in linear algebra (at the level of University of Iowa course MATH:2700 — see description below). Those applying to the Biostatistics program should provide, as part of the application, transcript verification and/or a brief statement indicating whether and how these prerequisites have been met, either through coursework at the University of Iowa or through regularly-scheduled coursework or independent study at other institutions.
  • A background of science, mathematics, or health sciences is recommended.
  • Previous coursework or experience in statistical methods or data analysis is preferred

PhD in Biostatistics

Entrance requirements for the PhD are the same as for the MS degree.

University of Iowa course descriptions of prerequisite coursework

  • MATH:1850 Calculus I (4 s.h.) Fundamental concepts, methods, techniques of single-variable differential and integral calculus; differentiation, techniques of integration, series, applications. General Education: quantitative or formal reasoning.
  • MATH:1860 Calculus II (4 s.h.) Continuation of MATH:1850.
  • MATH:2850 Calculus III (4 s.h.) Multivariable calculus; vector functions, line integrals, total differentials, gradient, implicit functions, coordinate systems, Taylor’s expansion, extrema, multiple integrals, vector fields, surface integrals, Stokes’s theorem.
  • MATH:2700 Introduction to Linear Algebra (4 s.h.) Vector algebra and geometry of three-dimensional Euclidean space and extensions to n-space and vector spaces; lines and planes, matrices, linear transformations, systems of linear equations, reduction to row echelon form, dimension, rank, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Admission
    • December 1 (Deadline for consideration for financial support and for PhD applications)
    • January 10 (final deadline for MS applications)
  • Spring Admission  (application begins mid-August 2024)
    • October 15 (Limited availability to PhD applicants who have an MS degree in biostatistics/statistics)
    • We do not consider MS applications for Spring admission

If you are a current University of Iowa graduate student, please contact for application procedures.

Instructions for Submitting an Application

To complete an application to the University of Iowa Biostatistics Program, one must submit an application and supporting documents to the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS).   After the application is complete and verified, you will be instructed by email with procedures to pay a supplemental application fee to the University of Iowa Office of Graduate Admissions.

Application Requirements
A complete application, and therefore one that will be reviewed by the admissions committee, consists of the following 2 steps.

Step 1: Schools of Public Health (SOPHAS) Application

All domestic and international applicants must apply through SOPHAS at You will be required to:

  • Complete an application.
  • Domestic transcripts:
    • Provide official transcripts showing all previous undergraduate, graduate, and professional work.
    • Send your official transcripts to SOPHAS.   (If you are still working towards a degree at the time of application, you will be required to send your transcripts twice: once to SOPHAS at the time of application and a second time to our Graduate Admissions Office once your degree is conferred by your current institution.)
    • University of Iowa (UI) transcripts must be sent to SOPHAS, but do not need to be sent to the UI Graduate Admissions Office.
  • International transcripts:
    • International transcripts should be evaluated by World Education Service (WES) and submitted to SOPHAS. International transcripts do not need to be sent separately to the University of Iowa unless requested.
    • International applicants must have the equivalent of a U.S baccalaureate degree to be considered for admission.
  • GRE scores are not required for the MS or PhD program.
  • Provide Three (3) Letters of Reference. These letters are submitted by your letter writers through SOPHAS, which has detailed instructions on how these letters are submitted.  We recommend letters of reference from your academic experiences, but will accept professional references.
  • Upload your résumé or CV describing educational and employment history.
  • Upload a personal statement (1,500-word limit).
  • International students, except permanent residents, must submit scores from TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo. The SOPHAS TOEFL code is 5688 (see above or English Proficiency Requirements for waivers of this requirement). 
  • Upload writing sample (PhD applications only).

It is highly recommended that you submit your SOPHAS application for verification as soon possible.  Application errors are common and can delay verification.  After application submission, it may take as many as seven days for verification during peak times.

Step 2: Set up UI account and pay supplemental University of Iowa fee

  • Once you have submitted your materials to SOPHAS, your transcripts have been verified by SOPHAS and your application is complete, you will receive an email from the University of Iowa which will provide you with detailed instructions on setting up a University of Iowa account (if you do not already have one) and paying the supplemental University of Iowa fee ($60 US citizens, $100 international applicants). Your application will be reviewed once this step is complete.
  • All students currently in a degree program (except those whose undergraduate degree was conferred at the University of Iowa), will need to send their final transcript (showing degree conferral) to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Applicants may be eligible for a fee waiver for the University of Iowa supplemental fee. Please refer to Graduate Fee Waiver for detailed information. International applicants are not eligible for application fee waivers.

If additional questions, please contact