In a biostatistics Ph.D. program, students learn to use scientific methods for biomedical data collection and applications, including the interpretation, analysis and reporting of experiment results. This program could entail the design and analysis of experimental studies, such as clinical trials, observational experiments and statistical computing. A final research project may be required. Many programs accept only students with master's degrees, but a few accommodate students with bachelor's degrees and incorporate the master's work into the Ph.D. program. All students need a strong undergraduate background in mathematics. It usually takes 3-5 years of full-time study and research to earn a Ph.D. in Biostatistics.
Doctoral Degree Program in Biostatistics
The curriculum involves elements of biology, epidemiology, statistics and environmental health. Common course topics include:
- Definitive data testing
- Statistical applications in medicine and biology
- Multiple variable analysis
- Probability theories in public health
- Human health and pathology
- Bayesian inference methods
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall jobs for statisticians were expected to increase 34% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the pharmaceutical industry is expected to increase demand for biostatisticians in drug research and development. Pharmaceutical companies rely on biostatisticians to conduct research and clinical trials for existing medications and new drugs. According to the BLS, as of 2015, the mean annual salary of statisticians was over $84,440.
Upon completion of a Ph.D. degree program, new biostaticians should be capable of conducting and publishing original research, as well as addressing and providing solutions for public health problems. Graduates could also go on to teach the topic and research methods to other scientists, health professionals and students of biostatistics in private industry or postsecondary academia.
Statistics is an essential component of any analysis of public health, so there is currently a high demand for employees with a doctoral degree in biostatistics. A biostatistics Ph.D. program will allow students to attain all necessary expertise in this field, as well as the opportunity to pursue advanced research in specialty biostatistics areas.