Distance learning training in biostatistics is usually offered by four-year universities and colleges at the graduate level. Students can take standalone introductory courses in the field, or they can complete a certificate or master's degree program. Schools offer online graduate programs that lead to a Certificate in Applied Biostatistics or a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree. MPH degree programs generally include some required coursework in biostatistics, and they may also require students to complete an internship or practicum.
Admission guidelines vary, but graduate-level programs require students to have a bachelor's degree to be eligible for enrollment. Other factors that may be considered include GRE or GMAT scores, recommendation letters and personal statements. Online biostatistics programs may require that applicants complete prerequisite coursework in areas like calculus and statistics.
Learning & Coursework
Distance learning course content is generally delivered using an online delivery system, such as BlackBoard, Moodle or WebCT. Students do not meet with instructors in person, but rather communicate through e-mail, class message boards or web conferencing. Virtual classroom environments provide access to lectures, assignments and other instructional materials. Distance learners can often view these items any time of day, but coursework due dates usually apply.
Online graduate certificate programs in biostatistics are geared towards professionals working for healthcare, pharmaceutical and medical organizations that conduct research. Students learn how to correctly apply statistics, design experiments for various biomedical and biological fields and correctly interpret results. Online classes in a biostatistics certificate program may cover the following areas:
- Medical biometry
- SAS programming
- Clinical biostatistics
- Clinical research methods
- Biostatistical methods
Master of Public Health
Like on-campus programs in the same field of study, online MPH programs focus on the health issues that affect populations at every level, from the local to the global community. These programs usually have a core set of courses that all students in the program take, which often covers biostatistics, epidemiology, disease, prevention methods and public health policies. From there, distance learners can usually take electives that focus on an area of interest like biostatistics. While many schools offer public health graduate programs online, an internship or practicum is a common degree requirement.
Some schools may offer distance learning training in biostatistics through their continuing education or professional development departments. These classes may have little to no strict admission requirements and are designed to help students expand their knowledge in the field in a self-paced format. In some cases, a university's biostatistics department might have guest lecturers present on-campus seminars on developments in the field and then upload recordings of them for public access.
For prospective graduate students who are specifically interested in biostatistics, an online certificate program focuses entirely on the fundamentals of the field. In online MPH programs, students get broader training in community health-related topics, including biostatistics.