Master's degree programs in biostatistics are commonly available as traditional on-campus programs. Students who are interested in studying the field of biostatistics at the graduate level will likely want to consider a number of factors when deciding which program to pursue. Below, we will discuss some details about these programs, like common courses and admission requirements.
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Master's Degree Programs in Biostatistics
Students who would like to pursue a master's degree program in biostatistics have the option of enrolling in a Master of Arts (MA) program or a Master of Science (MS) program. Both options will prepare students for the workforce, though MS programs typically require that students complete more original research and are typically the programs of choice for students who plan to also complete a doctoral degree. These programs often have a core curriculum that students are required to complete, though students have more flexibility when selecting their elective courses. Below, we will look at a few course that are commonly found in these programs.
Fundamentals/Introduction to Statistical Methods & Theory
These programs require students to have a solid foundation in statistical methods and theory and typically require that students take an entry-level course, or courses, in the topic. Students will learn about various statistical theories and how to apply them to real-world data. This course will cover topics like probability, parameter estimation, and discrete and continuous cases.
Because biostatistics is often used in the field of public health, these programs often require that students take a public health-oriented course to gain a deeper understanding of the field. In this course, students will learn how biostatistics are used in public health, as in the design of surveys, data analysis, weighted sampling, and data capture. This course will expose students to different types of biostatical methods and surveillance systems that are currently used in public health.
In a course focused on linear models, students will learn how to use different types of linear models when working with both balanced and unbalanced data. The course will familiarize students will concepts in logistic regression, Poisson regression, minimal and ordinal multinomial regression, and binary and binomial data. In addition to learning theory, students will also learn about practical applications for these models.
Statistical Methods in Epidemiology
Biostatistics is also commonly used in the epidemiology field, so these programs often include a course that exposes students to how to analyze data in epidemiologic studies. In this course, students will learn advanced methods for designing studies based on samples and analyzing the resulting data from these studies. Students may be expected to work with various statistical software in this course.
Programs in biostatistics will often require or allow students the opportunity to take a course in clinical trials, as these trials are a common part of public health and epidemiology. In this course, students will learn how to properly design and set up a clinical trial using human participants. Organizational aspects of clinical trials will be discussed, as well as the various ethical guidelines that typically need to be followed to have a successful and viable trial.
General Admission Requirements for Master's Degree Programs in Biostatistics
To be admitted into a master's degree program in biostatistics, students typically must have completed a number of prerequisite courses typically in calculus, advanced algebra, and biology. In addition, students need to have completed a bachelor's degree or be in the process of obtaining one when they apply. When completing their application, a student must submit their academic transcripts, GRE results, and letters of recommendation. Some programs may also require that students submit a personal statement expressing their interest in the program.
To summarize, students have the option of enrolling in either a Master of Arts or Master of Science program in biostatistics. These programs typically have specific admission standards and require students to complete a core curriculum along with electives of their choice.