MPH in Biostatistics Programs

Jul 16, 2018

Master of Public Health in Biostatistics degree programs are ideal for students wishing to combine their skills in mathematics and statistics with their interest in public health. Explore this degree program, including common coursework.

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Master of Public Health (MPH) degree programs usually offer a variety of concentrations, including one in biostatistics. MPH in Biostatistics programs are designed for students who are interested in data analysis, and they may offer additional areas of concentration, such as global health or public health modeling. Find out more about these degree programs and what makes them unique.

Information on MPH in Biostatistics Programs

MPH in Biostatistics programs can usually be completed in 2 to 3 years and may include an internship experience for hands-on learning. Students in these programs typically take various statistics and public health courses, including some of the more common courses discussed below.

Public Health Ethics

Courses in public health ethics are usually lecture- or seminar-based courses that explore the ethical practices and implications of public health programs. Some of these courses may focus exclusively on the public health systems and ethics procedures in the United States, while others may include an international perspective. These courses may use case studies and other examples to discuss areas like the ethical challenges in public health research, issues of privacy and public health law.

Healthcare Systems and Policy

Although some of the topics discussed in public health ethics courses may overlap a little, a course that focuses on health policy and the healthcare systems in the United States is required in most MPH programs. Students begin learning how to create policy, predict consequences of policy, evaluate healthcare systems and design healthcare systems. These courses also usually discuss the ins and outs of the United States' healthcare system, such as how it is organized, the politics of health reform and how the system compares to other countries.


Students usually take a course in introductory probability that may also cover some key concepts in statistics. Students receive an overview of probability and discuss such topics as independence, the central limit theorem, key distributions, conditional probability and probability spaces. Some of these courses may have a prerequisite calculus course.

Categorical Data Analysis

Courses in categorical data analysis examine the various methods for analyzing and interpreting categorical data commonly found in epidemiology, medicine and public health. Students learn how to use multiplicative models and current software in the field to evaluate analyses found in public health literature and/or analyze data sets. Students typically need to have taken some courses in biostatistics prior to these courses.

Longitudinal and Multilevel Data Analysis

These courses train students to analyze data obtained with repeated measures over time. Students may explore clustered data, linear and nonlinear models, nonparametric longitudinal responses and the consideration of spatial data alongside longitudinal data. These courses usually provide hands-on experience with current software in the field, such as SAS and/or S-Plus.

Common Entrance Requirements

Many MPH in Biostatistics degree programs require applicants to hold a particular level of education and/or work experience. For example, some programs may require applicants to hold a doctoral degree in a related field or a master's degree with 2 years of related work experience. A bachelor's degree with experience of 5 years or more might also qualify applicants for these programs. Some programs also require a particular amount of mathematics and statistical coursework prior to admittance. Most applicants for these degree programs need to submit an application with their official transcripts, GRE or other official test scores and letters of recommendation. Some programs may also request a resume and/or statement of purpose.

MPH in Biostatistics programs prepare students for data analysis careers in the field of public health. Some of these programs include internship opportunities and may offer additional concentrations in a student's particular area of interest.

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