Master of Biostatistics Vs. Statistics

Feb 06, 2018

Master degree programs in biostatistics and statistics have some overlapping coursework and requirements, but are very unique programs. Learn about each degree, including typical course topics and how to apply.

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Students interested in conducting research and data analysis using statistics may want to consider applying to a master of biostatistics or a master of statistics degree program. Both options focus on statistics and data analysis, but biostatistics tends to be a more specialized program. Compare and contrast the two degrees, including their common courses and admissions requirements.

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Comparing a Master of Biostatistics to a Master of Statistics

Master of Biostatistics

Master degree programs in biostatistics are usually related to programs in public health and are ideal for students wishing to conduct research in the field and analyze health data. Students interested in studying biostatistics can pursue a Master of Science in Biostatistics from many different institutions, on-campus or online, that usually take 1 to 2 years to complete. Many of these programs require a thesis or final project and may offer additional concentrations, such as statistical methods and research or statistical bioinformatics. Typical core coursework covers topics in biostatistics, epidemiology, foundations in public health and data analysis. Graduates of master degree programs in biostatistics usually pursue a career in research, such as overseeing projects in public health, conducting clinical trials or analyzing data on new drugs. Graduates are also qualified to take on a leadership role working in academia or the private sector.

Master of Statistics

Master degree programs in statistics are broader programs that can prepare students for doctoral study or professional careers in a wide range of fields. Students may pursue a Master of Arts in Statistics or a Master of Science in Statistics, both of which are typically 1 to 2 years in length. The programs are often available on-campus, online and in a hybrid format and may not require a thesis, but could require a practicum experience. Common core courses for master of statistics programs include topics in probability, regression, data analysis and applied statistics. Graduates of the program typically pursue doctoral study or a career as a statistician conducting research and data analysis for different industries, such as finance, science and technology.

Common Entrance Requirements

Master of biostatistics and master of statistics degree programs usually require applicants to submit the appropriate applications, official transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation and statement of purpose. Master of biostatistics degree programs commonly require applicants to hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and submit a resume. Some biostatistics programs may also require experience with statistical software and prerequisite courses in calculus, statistics and algebra. Master of statistics degree programs generally do not have specific GPA requirements. However, these programs do usually require applicants to have prerequisite coursework in calculus, algebra, statistics and/or computer programming and statistical software.

Students interested in combining their interest in public health, the life sciences and statistics may want to pursue a Master of Science in Biostatistics, while students interested in applying statistics to other fields may want to earn a Master of Arts or Master of Science in Statistics. Both degree programs often require advanced coursework in statistics and data analysis, but also offer unique courses, various concentrations, a range of career opportunities and have different admissions standards.

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