Use mathematical and scientific methods to determine the cause of disease

Career opportunities: Biostatistician, data analyst, informatics, information systems manager, academic


Biostatistics uses data analysis to investigate the cause of disease and injuries, as well as to identify health trends within communities. Students entering a biostatistics program should possess a solid understanding of mathematics and a broad knowledge of statistical methods, measures, and biology. The biostatistics concentration is designed primarily for students with a previous undergraduate degree, particularly in the health sciences, who want to obtain a solid background in quantitative and analytical methods for public health research. The coursework exposes students to methodology typically used to analyze different types of public health data and gives them opportunities to apply these methodologies themselves.

Faculty in the Department of Biostatistics teach courses and advise students in the biostatistics concentration. The curriculum is designed to enable students to develop competence in very specific biostatistical skills. Students are required to develop basic skills in regression analysis, survival analysis, and epidemiology methods. Each biostatistics MPH student has an opportunity to take public health electives and complete his/her program of study with an internship that includes a special analytical project.

If you are interested in the biostatistics concentration, please contact Katherine Pizarro-Gutierrez.

Biostatistics Curricula

Additional information on the curriculum, including plans of study, can be found in the MPH Student Handbook.

Biostatistics Core Courses

  • PHC 6000 Epidemiology Research Methods I
    Prerequisite: PHC 6001, and PHC 6052 or PHC 6050
  • PHC 6053 Regression Methods for the Health and Life Sciences
    Prerequisite: PHC 6052 or equivalent.
  • PHC 6059 Introduction to Applied Survival Analysis
    Prerequisite: PHC 6052 or equivalent, knowledge of multiple regression, SAS programming experience.
  • PHC 6089 Public Health Computing
    Prerequisite: PHC 6052 or approval of instructor.

Internship/Applied Practice Experience

The purpose of the MPH internship/APE (usually a research internship for biostatistics students) is to (1) apply the skills learned across the MPH curriculum and within the biostatistics concentration specifically, and (2) to advance the student’s understanding of biostatistics and public health in a real-world application and setting. Based on students’ goals, the internship setting may be in a public health agency, academic setting, or another related organization or agency. Within those settings, students may focus on a variety of specific disciplines or content areas of research, such as infectious or chronic disease, genetics, or cancer.

Special Analytical Project/Capstone

Students must complete a special project/capstone project that demonstrates their ability to define an issue, apply methods appropriate to their concentration, and produce results. These final activities of the MPH program are intended to encourage students to understand their projects in the larger context of public health as a cross-disciplinary field and in relation to the competencies expected of all MPH graduates.

Interested in the other concentrations offered in the MPH program? Explore more options on the Concentrations page.