Master of Arts in Biostatistics

The MA in Biostatistics program is jointly administered by the Department of Biostatistics of the School of Public Health and the Department of Mathematics & Statistics of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The MA program is aimed primarily at students who have at least the equivalent of bachelor of arts or sciences degree and wish to pursue advanced study in the theory and methods of biostatistics. The program prepares students to function as collaborators on research projects in academia, industry, or government, and also prepares students for doctoral programs.

Students who complete the MA program will gain knowledge in probability, statistical inference and hypothesis testing, the design and conduct of experimental and epidemiological studies, statistical computation, and data analysis. Research interests of the faculty include multivariate analysis, survival analysis, medical statistics, clinical trials methodology, statistical genetics, robust statistics, longitudinal data analysis, time series, regression, estimation theory, and the design of experiments.


Application for the MA in Biostatistics program must be completed on the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website. The deadline for fall admission is December 1. We do not have spring admission.

Requirements for Admission:

  • At least the equivalent of a bachelor of arts/bachelor of science degree; no specific undergraduate major is required
  • One year of calculus, including multivariate calculus
  • One formal course in linear algebra (with a minimum of four credits)
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • One-page personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official report of GRE scores from within the past 5 years (school code is 3087)
  • Official report of TOEFL scores for applicants whose native language is not English
  • NEW: Previous coursework document (click to download)

Degree programs at SPH permit full- or part-time study, with afternoon and evening courses.

Graduate programs are jointly administered by the Department of Biostatistics at SPH and the Department of Mathematics & Statistics in BU’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Program degrees are conferred by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.


Assistantships are rarely given to students enrolled in our master’s program. Most MA students fund tuition and expenses through savings or loans. Please visit GRS’s financial aid page for available fellowships and scholarships and SPH’s Financing your Education page for potential internal and external funding opportunities.

All requests or questions related to admissions and financial aid should be sent to Applicants should not directly contact faculty members regarding admissions or funding opportunities.

Program of Study

To earn the MA degree, students are expected to complete 32 credit hours with grades of at least B– in every course.

Required Core Courses

  • CAS MA 575 Linear Models
  • CAS/MET MA 581 Probability
  • CAS/MET MA 582 Mathematical Statistics
  • EP 713 Introduction to Epidemiology
  • BS 805 Intermediate Statistical Computing and Applied Regression Analysis
  • BS 852 Statistical Methods for Epidemiology

These core courses provide a theoretical background in biostatistics and the basic skills necessary for applications in public health.

The remaining two courses (8 credits) are selected from elective courses in biostatistics and epidemiology at the School of Public Health or the Graduate School Mathematics Department.

A full list of required and elective courses is available in the Biostatistics MA/PhD Handbook.

It is expected that students take courses from both the Biostatistics Department in the School of Public Health and the Mathematics & Statistics Department in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Upon completion of coursework, each student must pass Qualifying Examinations.

For complete information on the MA in Biostatistics program of study, please review the Biostatistics Program Handbook 2016–2017 and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Bulletin.

Program Directors:
Howard Cabral
Laura White

Program Contact

Marisa Crowley
Academic Program Manager
Department of Biostatistics
801 Massachusetts Avenue, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02118