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Graduate students in Biostatistics learn ways to develop statistical methodology and theory for scientific research within health-related fields such as medicine, public health, and biology, focusing heavily on applied statistics. Biostatistics students focus on research, choosing one of two methods: applied research or methodological research. Applied researchers use statistical methods to advance scientific exploration, whereas methodological researchers develop the tools used for applied research.

Epidemiology is an area of specialization within Biostatistics. Epidemiology students study the causes of disease and premature death, as well as the factors that contribute to health and well being. Examining the social, environmental, biological, and mental factors that affect health, biostatisticians and epidemiologists develop innovative ways to assess the association between disease and its causes.

Biostatistics is a discipline primarily concerned with statistical science and its ability, through application, to improve public health. The majority of core classes focus on research skills and data analysis, as they relate to health and disease. However, Biostatistics and Epidemiology departments are often a subset of a larger school of public health, and many students compliment their coursework in Biostatistics with research in other medical departments such as genetics and biology.

Degree Information

Students can earn either a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.) or a Masters in Public Health (M.P.H) The typical master’s level program takes between two and three years. A Ph.D. program usually requires a minimum of five years to complete and includes a dissertation.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Degree Program

  • What type of research is the faculty involved in? What research opportunities are available to students?
  • What types of innovative statistical techniques are studied?
  • Do students have the opportunity to study in other academic departments?
  • What are the elective offerings?

Career Overview

Biostatisticians and epidemiologists apply statistical theory and techniques to the evaluation and development of health programs. Professional biostatisticians collect and analyze biological, social, and environmental data, design experiments and observational studies, use computer operating systems to analyze information, develop new methods to study and compare population groups, and prepare probabilistic statements.

Most biostatisticians work in the biotech industry, for pharmaceutical companies, in research organization, in managed care companies, or as teachers in schools of public health, medicine, or math or statistics departments. Some biostatisticians also hold positions in Federal government agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or in Local and state health departments.

Career/Licensing Requirements

There are no specific licensing requirements for a career in Biostatistics.

Salary Information

Since graduates work in academic, private industry, and government, salaries will vary widely, but graduates of a master’s level program can expect to earn between $40,000 and $80,000. Graduates of a Ph.D. program will usually earn over $75,000, with a few earning as much as $125,000 with some experience.

Related Links

Biostatistics is a scholarly journal featuring papers of interest to the Biostatistics community.

American Journal of Epidemiology
The American Journal of Epidemiology is a scholarly journal that publishes research findings, methodological developments and opinion pieces on the subject of Epidemiology.

American College of Epidemiology
The American College of Epidemiology is a professional organization dedicated to continued education for epidemiologists and their efforts to promote the public health.

American Public Health Association (APHA)
The APHA is an organization dedicated to promoting research on issues in public health and influencing public health policies for over 125 years.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC is a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services charged with safeguarding the health and safety of people at home and abroad through the dissemination of accurate information and development of disease prevention programs, among other activities.


  • Biostatistics Courses

  • Applied Disease Epidemiology

  • Communicable Disease Epidemiology

  • Data Management And Statistical Computing

  • Epidemiologic Investigation

  • Introduction To Health Services Epidemiology Courses

  • Introduction To Statistical Methods

  • Methods Of Analysis

  • Nutritional Epidemiology

  • Principles Of Biostatistics

  • Principles Of Epidemiology

  • Psychosocial Epidemiology

  • Quantitative Methods