Graduate Certificate in Modern Biostatistics in Clinical Trials

The Graduate Certificate in Modern Biostatistics in Clinical Trials provides training in the most updated statistical methods for randomized clinical trials. Participants will gain skills and knowledge in:

• specific statistical approaches used to create novel designs to conduct clinical trials

• a wide range of techniques to analyze data from clinical trials

These novel designs can lead to major savings for academic medical research, the pharmaceutical industry, and the national government, and can lead to patients receiving truly efficacious treatments that may have been incorrectly deemed inefficacious otherwise.

Program Requirements

The Graduate Certificate in Modern Biostatistics in Clinical Trials is open to graduate students across Boston University and to domestic, non-degree students or to international students who already hold a visa that allows part-time study in a non-degree status.

Admission Requirements and Procedures

To be eligible applicants must:

1) hold an earned bachelor’s degree in statistics, biostatistics, or public health with appropriate quantitative background; or

2) be enrolled in a program for a graduate degree in a public health-related field or have statistical programming experience; and

3) must have successfully completed graduate-level, introductory courses in biostatistics and in statistical programming.

Although the certificate program is open to all current MPH students who meet the prerequisites, this certificate program is best for MPH biostatistics or epidemiology concentrators who have a specific interest in clinical trials or working professionals in the field of biostatistics.

Applicants internal to Boston University apply through the Department of Biostatistics at SPH.

External applicants apply through SOPHAS, the central application service for schools of public health.

Materials for admission will be accepted beginning in fall, and the program will start with the Spring Semester. Students may petition the Program Director for permission to start the program in fall, particularly if they are already in a degree program at BU. Once completed materials are received, the Program Admissions Committee will review the applications. Students will be notified of acceptance or rejection approximately one month after completed materials are received.


Completion of 16 credits of coursework with a grade of B or better in all courses.

All students must complete SPH BS 851 Applied Statistics in Clinical Trials I

The remaining courses may be selected from among:

  • SPH BS 722 Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials
  • SPH BS 861 Applied Statistics in Clinical Trials II
  • SPH BS 854 Bayesian Methods in Clinical Trials
  • SPH BS 856 Adaptive Designs Methods in Clinical Trials

No more than 4 credits from:

  • SPH BS 901 Directed Study in Biostatistics
  • SPH BS 902 Directed Research in Biostatistics

Note: No more than 4 credits of Directed Study or Directed Research may count toward the certificate. Continuing student status may not apply toward the certificate.


Complete and present (or publish) at least one piece of research in the field of statistical genetics. Presentation of the research may take one of several forms:

Poster presentation at a Boston University research event such as the Genome Science Institute Research Symposium, BU Science and Engineering Day, BUSPH Research Day, or Biostatistics in Public Health Day (each of which is an annual event that supports student presentations)

Poster or oral presentation (first author position on an abstract) at a national/international meeting (including the Genetic Analysis Workshop held biennially)

Primary authorship on a manuscript submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. Primary authorship would be considered first (or joint-first), second or last (or joint-last authorship). Authorship on statistical genetics papers involving large studies or consortium is complex. Students can petition the Statistical Genetics Certificate Program Committee regarding other authorship positions.

Research for the certificate may be completed as part of a dissertation or an existing collaboration or project the student is involved in. If the student does not have a research opportunity available to them, they will identify one of the statistical genetics certificate faculty members as a research mentor. Faculty members are available and willing to serve as research mentors as they readily do for MPH students.

Certificate Program Length

It is expected that it would take 18 months to two years as a full-time student to complete all program requirements. Non-degree, part-time students taking one course per semester will need a minimum of two years to complete all program requirements.

For students who are currently enrolled in the Boston University MPH or Biostatistics Program (either MA or PhD), courses may count toward both the degree and the certificate. However, completion of the certificate may require taking additional credits beyond those required to complete the degree. Courses from the above list taken at Boston University prior to enrollment in the certificate program can be counted toward the completion of the certificate. However, the certificate cannot be awarded to students or alumni who completed all requirements prior to the initiation of this certificate program.

Continuation and Exit Requirements

Certificate program participants must earn a B or better in all certificate program courses to remain eligible to participate in the program. If a student in the certificate program is also enrolled in a Boston University MPH, MA, or PhD program, he/she must meet all requirements of that program to remain in the certificate program. Grade requirements differ across programs. If a student does not meet the required grade level, he/she will need to retake the course at full cost if he/she still desires a certificate.

Certificate Program Completion

The Program Director, in concert with the Department of Biostatistics Curriculum Coordinator, will track program requirements and completion.