Academics : M.S. in Biostatistics

M.S. in Biostatistics

The Master’s program in Biostatistics is intended for outstanding
individuals with prior professional experience or a professional
degree (e.g., PhD or MD) or outstanding individuals with a suitable
undergraduate degree who are seeking an intensive course of study in
biostatistical theory and methods. Graduates of the program are
expected to assume positions in research or professional settings as
data analysts where they will do some or all of the following: (1)
Design research studies; (2) Draw rigorous inferences from
quantitative data; (3) Use statistical reasoning and theory to deal
effectively with non-standard statistical problems; (4) Perform major
statistical analyses to address public health or statistical research

The degree permits a flexible and rigorous curriculum covering
probability, mathematical statistics, and biostatistics and is
structured around four pairs of courses: a regression sequence
consisting of linear regression and generalized linear regression, an
inference sequence consisting of probability and distribution theory
and statistical inference, a multivariate sequence consisting of
applied modern multivariate methods and longitudinal data, and a
clinical trials sequence consisting of survival analysis and clinical
trials. Enrichment is provided by a statistical practicum. A major
paper is required to demonstrate proficiency with the major concepts.

The normal time of completion for the program is two years as a fulltime student.
Students will follow either a Track A or Track B program.

Track A: Students who meet prerequisite requirements

(1) A minimum of three semesters of calculus, including partial derivatives and techniques for solving multiple integrals, (2) One semester of linear algebra, (3) One semester of probability theory, (4) Four additional courses in statistics or biostatistics. The four courses are to include a general introduction, linear regression, introductory mathematical statistics and at least one more course (commonly drawn from survey sampling, multivariate, time series, nonparametrics, etc.).

Track B: Do not meet all prerequisite requirements

During the first year, students are expected to make up any deficiencies. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the graduate program director.

Major Paper or Thesis

Students will be required to write a Major Paper (3 credits) or in some special cases a Thesis (6 credits). In a Major Paper, a student is expected to explain a collection of related methods in some branch of statistics, use several of them to solve a motivated problem, explaining and contrasting the results. In a Thesis a student would be expected to explain a collection of related methods in some branch of statistics, motivate and develop a non-trivial variation on one of them, elucidate its properties and use it to solve a problem of interest, and compare the new method to some established methods.

In the Major Paper option a student would have an advisor and a second reader. Both the advisor and the second reader would have to approve the Paper. At least one of the two advisory roles (supervisor and second reader) must be a qualified statistician or biostatistician approved by the Biostatistics Graduate Committee.

Theses must be prepared according to the rules of the Graduate School.


The following courses represents a typical program of study for a fulltime student.

Fall Y1 Course Credits
MTH 524 Introduction to Probability Theory 3
MTH 542 Statistical Analysis 3
EPH 500 Introduction to Public Health 3
Total 9
Spring Y1 Course Credits
MTH 525 Introduction to Mathematical Statistics 3
EPH 521 Fundamentals of Epidemiology 3
BST 575 Generalized Linear Models 3
Total 9
Fall Y2 Course Credits
EPH 651 Survival analysis in Clinical Trials 3
BST 640 Applied Modern Multivariate Analysis 3
BST 650 Topics in Biostatistics Research 1
BST 665 Advanced Clinical Trials 3
Total 10
Spring Y2 Course Credits
BST 510 Consulting Practicum 3
BST 630 Longitudinal Data 3
BST 650 Topics in Biostatistics Research 1
BST 698/699 Major Paper/Thesis Project 3/1-6
Total 8-14