Core Requirements & Exemption Exams

Core Requirements

All degree-seeking students at UM SPH, including MS and PhD students, are required to complete core biostatistics and epidemiology coursework. For PhD students, if you have completed an existing graduate degree from an accredited Public Health program or school, the departmental admissions committee may approve an exemption from the Epidemiology/Biostatistics requirement.

**NOTE** Students pursuing a MPH degree are NOT eligible to take the Biostatistics or Epidemiology exemption exams.

Exemption Exams

Biostatistics Exemption Exam


This exam is available to non-biostatistics students from the following degree programs MHI, MS, PhD who have received a grade of A- or higher in a college statistics course or a grade of 4 or higher in an AP statistics course. This course should have covered analysis of data, including t-tests, chi-squared tests, simple and multiple linear regression.

*Although the Biostatistics Exemption Exam does not explicitly test aptitude with statistical software packages such as R or SAS, any student going directly into BIOS 522 will be expected to have familiarity with basic functions in one of these packages.

* View a copy of the BIOSTAT 521 syllabus.

Passing the exam exempts students from: BIOSTAT 501/521.

Exam Details

  • This will be an in-person, proctored examination held on Friday, August 25th from 9:00-10:00am .
  • You will have 60 Minutes to complete the exam.
  • The exam will be closed book and you will not have access to phones or the internet during the exam.
  • You may bring a calculator to perform basic arithmetic; statistical tables are NOT needed.
  • There are seven questions on the exam. You must get at least six correct to ensure a passing score.
  • The exam is based on material from OpenIntro Statistics, 4th edition by Diez, Cetinkaya-Rundel, and Barr. Access a free PDF of the text.
  • You will receive an email notifying you of exam results.


If you have questions about the registration form, please contact the SPH Registrar at Exam specific questions can be directed to Nicole Fenech,

Epidemiology Exemption Exam


This exam is available to Non-epidemiology students from the following degree programs MHI, MS, PhD.

Passing this exam exempts students from: PUBHLTH 512 (MHI, MS, PhD).

Exam Details

  • The exam will be  multiple-choice and fully accessible online through Canvas.
  • You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam. After 90 minutes, the exam will close, and you cannot re-enter the exam. It will not be offered any other time during the year. 
  • You may use a calculator during the exam. No other materials may be used.
  • The exam consists of questions that are based on PH512. In theory, any introductory text (Gordis Epidemiology, 6th Edition, Authors: David Celentano and Moyses Szklo) will help in the preparation, but there is a synthesis of material that will likely only come from having previous instruction in epidemiology.
  • A score of 80% or above is considered passing.
  • You will receive an email notifying you of exam results at the time of submission.

The exam will open on August 20th at 9 a.m. (EDT) and close on August 24th at 9 a.m. (EDT). Please plan for 90 minutes to complete the exam. You must complete the exam during that time period. 


If you have questions about the registration form, please contact the SPH Registrar at

HMP Economics Placement Exam - HMP Students Only

HMP offers a two-course sequence (HMP 660 and 674) that integrates intermediate microeconomic theory and health economics. The economics placement exam allows the student to skip the microeconomics segments of HMP 660. A student exempting this segment must register for a 1-credit independent study in the fall semester. During the independent study, the student will attend and be responsible for assignments in the health economics segments of HMP 660.

The placement exam will involve defining and applying basic, non-calculus-based microeconomic concepts. Several basic problems will be included. The exam is closed book, but you may bring a non-programmable calculator. Cell phones are not permitted to be used during this exam.  No sample exam is available, but any standard intermediate microeconomics text will be adequate for preparation.

Questions may be sent to Charlita Daniels,