April 9, 2020
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What Exactly is “Biostatistics”?

According to the Oxford Journal of Life Sciences, Mathematics and Physical Science, Biostatistics is a field whose primary goal is “to advance statistical science and its application to problems of human health and disease, with the ultimate goal of advancing the public’s health”.

What is Biostatistics?

Biostatistics (or biometry) deals with the statistical processes and methods applied to the analysis of biological phenomena. The science of biostatistics incorporates the design of biological experiments and interpreting the collection, summarization, and analysis of data from those experiments.

What are the Degree Options for a Career in Biostatistics?

The journey to becoming a Biostatistician can be intensive and lengthy, however it can also be a rewarding and well paid career path. Most educational programs in biostatistics are at the postgraduate level and are usually found in schools of public health, affiliated with schools of medicine, forestry, or agriculture, or as a focus area in statistics departments. The Master’s and Doctoral programs in Biostatistics are designed to develop fundamental skills in the statistical sciences with an emphasis on applications in the health sciences by utilizing the basic elements of epidemiology, biology and computing science, to maintain the character and independent characteristics of statistics. Although Master’s degrees in Biostatistics are readily available, for example a Master of Science in Biostatistics, it is sometimes available as a specialization area within a graduate degree program in public health, professional science, or computer science.

  • Master’s Degree in Biostatistics – A Master’s Degree Program in Biostatistics usually consists of between 30-48 credit hours and can take two to three years for completion. The length of time for degree completion can be shorter or longer, depending on the individual program, previous college credit, and whether it is a full time or part time program. A Master’s Degree in Biostatistics focuses on applying both descriptive and inferential statistics as it applies to biomedical research and clinical, public health, and industrial issues related to human populations. Coursework can include: Principles of Biostatistics, Statistical Computing and Epidemiology. Completion of a Master’s Degree may require students to complete a data analysis project with their results are presented
  • Doctoral Degree in Biostatistics – The doctoral degree program prepares individuals for research and teaching positions within academic institutions, and for executive leadership positions in health based organizations and industry. Most Biostatistics doctoral candidates have completed a Master’s Degree in Biostatistics or an equivalent advanced degree and possess strong backgrounds in mathematics, biostatistics, statistics or other quantitative fields. A PhD program in Biostatistics is designed for those individuals who wish to pursue careers in biological, medical, or health sciences. Curriculum can be tailored to match background and interests.

What Does Someone Do With A Degree in Biostatistics?

Biostatisticians are employed in health organizations, government agencies, universities, and even private companies. They are responsible for monitoring spread of disease and the causes of death to protect the population. Biostatistics is a billion dollar industry and it is an important part in improving human health and increasing knowledge of public health issues. The government and the pharmaceutical industry are the main contributors to the Biostatistics industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that The job outlook for Biostatisticians will have an average growth of 5.68 percent per year and the demand for Biostatisticians is expected to increase, with an expected 2,670 new jobs filled by 2018.

The field of Biostatistics is a highly respected, well-paid field of practice. Individuals with the right skill set can pursue an exciting and important career. For individuals with a strong interest in mathematics, science, statistics and health, a position as a Biostatistician is an excellent way to combine your strengths.

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