Biostatisticians play a critical role in studies of risk factors for disease, in assessing safety and efficacy of new therapies in clinical trials, and in the evaluation of patient outcomes. The results of these studies have public health and policy implications. From discussions with investigators about fine-tuning research questions to developing appropriate study designs, planning and implementing proper statistical analyses and writing up the results, biostatisticians are involved in all aspects of research investigations.

The Master of Public Health program with a concentration in biostatistics provides students with the knowledge and skills to plan and evaluate study designs, to map out and implement appropriate statistical methods for data analysis, and to draw valid conclusions from analytical results. Students will gain practical skills that can be applied immediately in a variety of career pathways as well as the breadth and depth of knowledge that will provide a foundation for understanding the goals of quantitative research. Graduates are prepared for further study or for careers in research and project management in academia, government, or the private sector.

Students can further develop their skills by participating in departmental research. Opportunities include the Clinical Trials Working Group, the Framingham Heart Study Working Group, Statistical Genetics Working Group, and the New England Centenarian Study.


In addition to the program competencies that all MPH students master, upon completing the requirements for the MPH in Biostatistics, graduates are able to:

  • analyze data from observational studies, clinical trials, epidemiological studies, medical surveys, and evaluations of health care programs using statistical programming software
  • identify potential sources of bias and confounding in study design, and develop analytic and design strategies to minimize these effects
  • interpret and communicate the results and limitations of statistical analyses of public health data in both technical and nontechnical terms

For detailed course listings, visit the Biostatistics Concentrator’s Guide or the BU online bulletin.