Frequently Asked Questions


1. Q: What are the minimum statistical and programming background requirements to enter the PSM Biostatistics Program?

A. SAS experience and STA 216 is required (or its equivalent at another university). Very good performance in this intermediate statistical technique course is required. Good performance in some combination of other undergraduate courses is generally needed also (eg. courses in experimental design, regression such as GVSU's STA 315 and 321). We recommend as many undergraduate statistics courses as possible.

Click here for suggested undergraduate course descriptions.


2. Q: What are the application deadlines?

A. Application options:

  • The fall semester deadline is June 1.
  • If you plan to start in the Fall it is strongly encouraged that you apply by January 1, though it is not required.
  • The winter semester deadline is November 1.
  • With permission of instructor and the Biostatistics Director, it may be possible to take a course within the program as a non-degree student (prior to acceptance but with a Bachelors degree completed).


Q. 3 . How is an applied biostatistics program different from a theory based program?

A. In the PSM program at Grand Valley State University, a thesis is not required. In place of this, students are required to complete an internship related to the biostatistical field.

The focus of the program is not the theory behind statistics, but the emphasis is on the application of statistical methods. However, a background that includes some undergraduate coursework in statistics is advantageous. Courses are taught based on how to apply different statistical techniques to different situations. The use of statistical software (i.e. SAS) is used to help students apply these methods.


Q. 4. Are professors available at other times besides during the day?

A, Most professors are available via email. Due to the classes being in the evening, professors tend to be available before and/or after class. If you need special accommodation due to your schedule, you can speak with individual professors, by phone or email, to ask how they are willing to help you.


Q. 5. Where are classes located?

A. Classes are located on the Allendale campus and at the Cook-Devos Center for Health Sciences (CHS) building in downtown Grand Rapids.


Q. 6. Do undergraduate courses count towards the biostatistics degree?

Undergraduate courses do not count towards the Master's degree.

They do, however, count towards the total credit hours a student is taking. This means if a student needs extra credit hours for some reason and is unable to take a graduate course, the student can take an undergraduate course to count towards the needed time.


Q. 7. What types of electives are available for students?

A. Students are recommended to speak with their advisor on the electives they should take. The advisor will be able to give suggestions based on the long-term goals of the student.

Common electives for Biostatistics students are BMS 523CIS 500 and statistics courses such as survival analysis and multivariate methods.


Q. 8. Where are students able to obtain internships?

A. Internships for biostatistics students are typically available within West Michigan; however, students are welcome to find internships outside of West Michigan and can even obtain an internship out of state.

Students will receive approval from their advisor as to what company and position they can use as credit towards an internship. The Statistics Department and the Biostatistics Director may provide some aid in finding the internship.


Q. 9. Are students able to use their current job as an internship?

A. Students in this position will need approval from the Biostatistics Director. Typically, if the internship is within the student's current company of employment, the internship learning experience is to be different from the student's everyday work.


Q. 10. What can a person do with a degree in biostatistics?

A. A person with a biostatistics degree is able to work in agriculture, chemistry, public health, animal health, epidemiology, pharmacology, and other areas. Career Opportunities


Q. 11. How do I register for classes?

A. Once you are accepted into the program, you will receive a letter containing all information you need to log into Banner through Grand Valley's home website and set up your schedule.


Q. 12. Is there an orientation?

A. There is a new Graduate Student orientation in August which will familiarize the student with the University and all of its available resources


Q. 13. Who can help me with advising/closed class permits?

A. There is assistance for questions on permits:

  • Career advising can be obtained through GVSU Career Services
  • For specific course advising, speak with your advisor and the Director of the Biostatistics program
  • Closed class permits are obtained through the department in which the course is offered. Try contacting the professor who is listed to instruct the course (on Banner) and make sure to allow plenty of time for a response


Q. 14. Where can I find information on getting started, for example, housing, parking, books, support services?

A. The Graduate School is here to assist you, the graduate student, and provides information, resources and professional development


If you have further questions, feel free to email us as



Page last modified August 15, 2017