Students in a classroom at the Zilber School of Public Health

The biostatistics master’s program provides an innovative curriculum to meet a range of professional needs and interests.

The program trains students in study design, appropriate use of statistical and computational techniques, and interpretation of data analysis results arising from public health and biomedical research. 

Program Type


Program Format

On Campus

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What Is Public Health?

“I like to treat public health like an engineering problem, wherein the system is the population. The population could be as broad as humans, it could be people in a certain city, or people of a certain race in a certain area, or people afflicted with a certain genetic disorder. 

“And then your surroundings would be the environment that they’re placed in. So your job as someone in public health is to identify the boundaries or those surroundings that preclude someone from obtaining a good health outcome.”

Geoff Chapelle, MS-Biostatistics

Geoff Chapelle
Geoff Chappelle answers the question, “What is public health?”

Biostatistics master’s students learn both classical and modern statistical methods and apply their statistical skills and knowledge to solve big data problems. They have the opportunity to work with faculty on cutting-edge research projects, such as discovering genetic causes of common diseases, developing statistical algorithms to monitor treatment efficacy, and reducing medical costs through electronic health record.

Biostatistics Master’s Program

The Master of Science in Biostatistics is a two-year program, preparing graduates to be effective collaborators in many settings, including the biomedical industry, academia, and public service at all levels of national and international government. Students will be trained to lead the design and data analysis of health research studies both in applied and academic settings. Coursework focuses on applied biostatistical methods, statistical consulting, computing, and the intersection of public health and statistical research. Biostatistics master’s students must complete 39 graduate credits beyond the bachelor’s degree, plus an additional 3 credits dedicated toward thesis writing and research, for a total of 42 credits. Completion of a high-quality master thesis based on original research is a key indicator of the student’s capacity to integrate and apply various biostatistical methods and public health knowledge in real world problems.

Required Courses (33 credits)

PH 702: Introduction to Biostatistics 3
PH 704: Principles & Methods of Epidemiology3
PH 711: Intermediate Biostatistics 3
PH 712: Probability and Statistical Inference3
PH 715: Applied Categorical Data 3
PH 716: Applied Survival Analysis3
PH 717: Applied Longitudinal Analysis3
PH 718: Data Management and Visualization in R3
PH 801: Seminar in Public Health Research3
PH 813: Practice of Biostatistical Consulting3
PH 895: Research and Thesis for MS in Biostatistics3

Subject Matter “S”electives (Choose two courses, six credits)

PH 714: Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology3
PH 721: Introduction to Translational Bioinformatics3
PH 722: An Introduction to Bayesian Statistics3
PH 723: Design, Conduct and Analysis of Clinical Trials3
PH 812: Statistical Learning and Data Mining3
PH 818: Statistical Computing3
ED PSY 823: Structural Equation Modeling3
ED PSY 832: Theory of Hierarchical Linear Modeling 3
COMPSCI 708: Scientific Computing3
COMPSCI 711: Introduction to Machine Learning3

Public Health and Biology Electives (choose one course, three credits)

PH 703: Environmental Health Sciences 3
PH 705: Principles of Public Health Policy and Administration 3
PH 706: Perspectives on Community and Behavioral Health3
BIO SCI 490: Molecular Genetics3

Visit the Academic Catalog for the most up-to-date information.

Biostatistics MS Competencies

1. Perform all responsibilities of a statistician in collaborative research; in particular: design studies, manage and analyze data and interpret findings from a variety of biomedical, clinical or public health experimental and observational studies.

2. Communicate statistical information effectively with individuals with varying degrees of statistical knowledge through written and oral presentations.

3. Use statistical, bioinformatic and other computing software to organize, analyze and visualize data.

4. Review and critique statistical methods and interpretation of results in published research studies, presentations or reports.

5. Understand and implement modern statistical approaches emerging in the literature to improve biomedical and public health.

Careers in Biostatistics

Graduates of the biostatistics master’s program are prepared for many career paths, including academia, managed care organizations, the pharmaceutical industry, and public service at all levels of local, national and international government.

Chiang-Ching Huang
  • Professor, Biostatistics
Laleh Jamshidi
  • Assistant Professor, Biostatistics
Zhiyang Zhou
  • Assistant Professor, Biostatistics

Biostatistics Faculty Expertise

  • Genetic determinants of common chronic diseases, including heart disease, bleeding disorders, Type II diabetes, stroke and colorectal cancer.
  • Using genomic technologies and bioinformatic and biostatistical techniques to accurately predict risk and treatment response in cancer and cardiovascular disease .
  • Major molecular mechanisms and pathways that modulate disease progression, using biomedical informatics, mathematical modeling and simulations to characterize and predict the use of genetics in medical practice and in particular pathology.
  • Use of high-throughput genetic technologies, such as micro-arrays and next generation sequencers, in the discovery and applications of genetics to complex diseases and environmental-gene development pathways.
  • Statistical methods and computational tools to identify genetic variants that influence the susceptibility to complex diseases, such as cancer of the breast, colon/rectum, lung and prostate.