The Master of Science in Biostatistics program in the Department of Biostatistics requires a minimum of 36 post-baccalaureate credit hours. Students may choose to pursue one of two concentrations within their degree program. The Biostatistical Methods and Practice concentration is designed to facilitate students’ development of a strong theoretical foundation in biostatistics and a broad-based understanding of biostatistical methods. In addition to the core biostatistics courses, students in this concentration will additionally take courses in biostatistical theory, survival analysis, and clinical trials. Alternatively, the Health Data Science concentration will emphasize methodological and computational foundations in data science with applications in public health to prepare students interested in becoming health data scientists. In addition to the core biostatistics courses, students in this concentration will additionally take courses relating modern computing, machine learning, and data visualization techniques to applications in the health sciences. A typical student will be enrolled full-time for two years. Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will be awarded an M.S. degree in biostatistics with the concentration of their choosing.
The principal goal of the M.S. program is to prepare highly qualified individuals for future Ph.D. training and for careers in biostatistics practice. This training is conducted in the innovative and interdisciplinary public health culture of the College of Medicine and the College of Public Health and Health Professions, and it will produce graduates who will help address the shortage of biostatisticians.
We expect our graduates to be highly competitive in three primary settings:
- academic university-based settings
- industry, and federal agencies that involve research
- public health practice
Increasing Demand for Biostatisticians
The demand for trained biostatisticians continues to increase as the world becomes more dependent on predictive data and numerical reasoning, particularly related to research in the health sciences.
Fortune magazine ranked the Master of Biostatistics number one on the list of Best Graduate Degrees for Jobs in 2016, based on long-term outlook for job growth, median salaries and job satisfaction scores. The master’s degree in Biostatistics has a 23% projected growth in jobs by 2024; and 85% of degree-holders said they were “highly satisfied” in one of PayScale’s surveys. This ranking is up from number two on this same list in 2015 which stated:
Those who earn a graduate degree in biostatistics, work in health care, biotech, and life sciences, using computer models to, for example, predict cancer growth in a cell. The degree still isn’t offered by many schools but is gaining traction.
Also, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, improvements in statistical and mapping software will improve analysis, make epidemiological data more useful, and enhance health educators’ and community health workers’ ability to identify healthy habits and behaviors and good health care services that will improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs.
Difference between the MS and MPH Degrees in Biostatistics
The University of Florida offers both a Master of Science (MS) degree in Biostatistics and a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Biostatistics. While both are valuable degrees, the target audiences are different.
- The MS degree is suitable for students with a substantial mathematics background, including at least three semesters of calculus and a semester of linear algebra, as well as some training in statistics and probability, including at least a basic statistics course, and ideally including undergraduate coursework in calculus-based probability and mathematical statistics.
- The MPH degree is a professional degree in public health with an emphasis in applied biostatistics. This program is designed primarily for those with a specific interest in public health or who have a previous graduate degree, particularly in the health sciences, who want to obtain more skills in quantitative and analytic methods for public health research. There are no formal mathematics or statistics prerequisites for the MPH degree.
The mathematical level of the biostatistical courses required by the two degrees differs substantially.