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Biostatistics

Overview

Public health professionals analyze and develop programs that protect the health of individuals, families and communities in the United States and abroad. Using education, development of healthy lifestyles, research and program implementation, public health professionals are agents for disease prevention and health promotion.

The United States is placing a high priority on building up the nation's public health workforce. A career in public health opens the door to diverse opportunities in a variety of sectors such as federal, private and non-governmental organizations. 

What does this mean for you? It means that with a degree in public health, you’ll be in high demand – and on a career path filled with advancement opportunities.

Biostatistics is the science that applies statistical theory and mathematical principals to research in medicine, biology, environmental science, public health and related fields. Public health biostatisticians use mathematical and scientific methods to determine the cause of disease and injuries and to identify health trends within communities.

For instance, if you go into this career, your research may include estimating the number of deaths from gun violence or determining trends in drunk driving injuries. It may also include (among other tasks):

  • Analyzing the effectiveness of new drugs
  • Analyzing risk factors for different illnesses
  • Planning health care interventions
  • Explaining biological phenomena

If you like collecting and studying information, forecasting scenarios and drawing conclusions, this may be the perfect health career for you.

Working Conditions

Career opportunities for graduates offer competitive salaries. Positions are available in data management, pharmaceutical and clinical trials, data analysis and academia. In addition, biostatisticians are needed at the federal, state and local levels.

Academic Requirements

Before applying to a biostatistics program, you should have a broad knowledge of biology and a solid understanding of mathematics and statistical methods and measures. You can search for schools in this field on the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health's (ASPPH) website. SOPHAS is the centralized online application service for students applying to a school or program of public health accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). A complete list of accredited schools and programs can be found on the CEPH website.