The course descriptions below are correct to the best of our knowledge as of April 2016. Instructors reserve the right to update and/or otherwise alter course descriptions as necessary after publication. The listing of a course description here does not guarantee a course’s being offered in a particular semester. The Course Rotation Guide lists the expected semester a course will be taught. Please refer to the published schedule of classes for confirmation a class is actually being taught and for specific course meeting dates and times. In addition to the courses listed in the Bulletin and courses approved after April 1, SPH degree candidates may register for a directed (independent) study with a full-time SPH faculty member. For more information, speak with your faculty advisor or a staff member in the SPH Registrar’s office.

  • SPH BS 700: Essentials of Biostatistics
    "This intensive three-week summer course will provide a comprehensive introduction to the use of biostatistics in the field of public health. Students will learn to compute and interpret descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics will include descriptive statistics and graphical displays of data, probability, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing for means and proportions, linear and logistic regression and survival analysis. "
  • SPH BS 704: Introduction to Biostatistics
    This course meets the biostatistics core course requirement for all degrees and concentrations at SPH. The course replaces BS701 and BS703. Topics include the collection, classification, and presentation of descriptive data; the rationale of estimation and hypothesis testing; analysis of variance; analysis of contingency tables; correlation and regression analaysis; multiple regression, logistic regression, and the statistical control of confounding; sample size and power considerations; survival analysis. Special attention is directed to the ability to recognize and interpret statistical procedures in articles from the current literature. This course gives students the skills to perform, present, and interpret basic statistical analyses using the R statistical package.
  • SPH BS 715: Practical Skills for Biostatistics Collaboration
    Graduate Prerequisites: the MPH biostatistics core course or equivalent or approval of the instructor
    This course will focus on skills required for effective research collaboration with investigators from various disciplines. Emphasis will be on the development of skills to communicate effectively with biostatistician and non‐biostatisticians collaborators, to write data collection and statistical analysisplans for grants, and/or publications, and to organize results in appropriate visual displays or tables. Other issues, including techniques to work efficiently in multi‐disciplinary research teams (e.g.,constructing timelines and deliverables) will also be discussed.
  • SPH BS 722: Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidemiology and biostatistics MPH core requirements or consent of instructor.
    This course covers the development, conduct, and interpretation of clinical trials. It is suitable for concentrators in any department. Topics include principles and practical features such as choice of experimental design, choice of controls, sample size determination, methods of randomization, adverse event monitoring, research ethics, informed consent, data management, and statistical analysis issues. Students write a clinical trial protocol during the semester.
  • SPH BS 723: Introduction to Statistical Computing
    Graduate Prerequisites: Successful completion of the biostatistics MPH core requirement or equivalent or consent of instructor.
    This course introduces students to statistical computing with focus on the SAS package. Emphasis is on manipulating data sets and basic statistical procedures such as t-tests, chi-square tests, correlation and regression. Conditions underlying the appropriate use of these statistical procedures are reviewed. Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to use SAS to: read raw data files and SAS data sets, subset data, create SAS variables, recode data values, analyze data and summarize the results using the statistical methods enumerated above. This course includes hands-on exercises and projects designed to facilitate understanding of all the topics covered in the course. Students use equipment and software available through the Boston University Medical Center. This course is a prerequisite for BS805, BS820, BS821, BS851, BS852, BS853 and BS858.
  • SPH BS 728: Public Health Surveillance,a Methods Based Approach
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH biostatistics core course or equivalent or permission of instructor is required. BS723 is strongly recommended.
    Thacker wrote, "Surveillance is the cornerstone of public health practice." This course will provide an introduction to surveillance and explore its connections to biostatistics and public health practice. Topics will include complex survey design, weighted sampling, capture-recapture methods, time series analyses and basic spatial analyses. Students will learn about available surveillance data, how to analyze these data, and how to write about their findings. Additionally students will propose a new surveillance system or modification of an existing system. This class carries Epidemiology concentration credit.
  • SPH BS 730: Introduction to R: software for statistical computing
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH quantitative core or BS704 or permission of instructor
    Students will learn how to conduct statistical analysis using the public domain and free statistical software, R. Many public, private, and international organizations use R to conduct analysis, thus experience with R is a great skill to add to one's credentials. R offers flexibility, ranging from ease of writing code for simple tasks (e.g. using R as a calculator) to implementing complex analyses using cutting-edge statistical methods and models. Additionally, the R language provides a rich environment for working with data, especially for statistical modeling, graphics, and data visualization. This course will emphasize data manipulation and basic statistical analysis including exploratory data analysis, classical statistical tests, categorical data analysis, and regression. Students will be able to identify appropriate statistical methods for the data or problems and conduct their own analysis using the R environment. This hands-on and project-based course will enable students to develop skills to solve statistical problems using R. R can be used as an alternative or in addition to SAS (BS723). R is compatible with Apple OS, Windows, and Unix environments.
  • SPH BS 740: Design and Conduct of Public Health Research
    This course provides practical experience with the theory and process of public health research. Topics include an overview of study design, principles of sampling and randomization, human subject issues and informed consent, the role of the IRB, qualitative research design and practice, and data management. This is a required course for the Design and Conduct of Public Health Research Certificate.
  • SPH BS 750: Essentials of Quantitative Data Management
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 Introduction to Statistical Computing
    Any data analysis is only is good as the data on which it is based. This course will focus on the importance of high quality data and the skills required for effective data management, including collection, cleaning, auditing, and merging. Students will have hands-on experience with data sets. Examples of what can go wrong and how research can be complicated by or produce erroneous results due to poor quality data will be provided.
  • SPH BS 775: Applications of Statistical Methods in Clinical Research
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics MPH core requirement and SPH BS723 or consent.
    This course provides a non-technical (no computer programming) overview of concepts in statistical methods used for clinical research and their applications. Each week, students read a methodologic article and a clinical research article. The first portion of the class is a didactic presentation; the second portion is a discussion of the clinical research article, incorporating the concepts discussed in the didactic presentation. Students explore statistical test selection, alternative tests or approaches. Students examine interpretations of scientific articles in the lay press.
  • SPH BS 800: Accelerated Statistical Training
    Graduate Prerequisites: Calculus I and II, including multivariable calculus, and linear algebra to cover matrix operations, matrix functions, and singular value decomposition.
    This course is designed for the newly developed MS in Applied Biostatistics program and will cover concepts of descriptive statistics and exploratory data analysis, measures of association in epidemiological studies, probability, statistical inference and computing in R and SAS. It is intended to equip students enrolling in the MS in Applied Biostatistics program with sufficient probability, statistics and computing background to enter 800 levels courses and finish the MS program within a year. The course will be offered during the 3 weeks preceding the Fall semester, and will involve 15 day-long modules. Modules will generally run from 10am to 5pm, combining a traditional lecture (10am to 12pm), a practice session in which students will practice the notions learned in class through exercises (1pm to 2:30pm), and a computer lab (3pm to 5pm) in which the students will learn basic computing in R and SAS and also apply the notions learned in class to real data. Please note one year of calculus to include multivariable calculus and linear algebra are prerequisites for this course. Allowing a student to waive this course is at the discretion of program directors, Paola Sebastiani and Yorghos Tripodis. [2 cr.]
  • SPH BS 803: Statistical Programming for Biostatisticians
    This course will focus on skills required for advanced computing applications in biostatistics. Students will learn statistical programming and methods such as loops, functions, macros as well as data visualization techniques in SAS and R. Furthermore, the course will provide and introduction to Linux and basic statistical programming in Python. Lab sessions S will also provide students with basic computing skills to enroll to more advanced statistical classes such as BS830 and BS857.
  • SPH BS 805: Intermediate Statistical Computing and Applied Regression Analysis
    Graduate Prerequisites: BS723 or consent of the instructor. Students who did not earn a B grade or better in BS723 must meet with the BS805 faculty before registration.
    This course is a sequel to BS723. Emphasis is placed on the use of intermediate-level programming with the SAS statistical computer package to perform analyses using statistical models with emphasis on linear models. Computing topics include advanced data file manipulation, concatenating and merging data sets, working with date variables, array and do-loop programming, and macro construction. Statistical topics include analysis of variance and covariance, multiple linear regression, logistic regression, survival analysis, the analysis of correlated data, and statistical power. Includes a required lab section.
  • SPH BS 806: Multivariable Analysis for Biostatisticians
    This course will focus on skills required for effective conduct of data analysis. This course will focus on the multiple regression modeling and multivariate analysis to cover multi-way anova, multiple linear regression, classification and regression trees, automated model search, model fit and diagnostic, experimental design and multivariate analysis (PCA and cluster analysis) with particular emphasis on applications in medicine and public health.
  • SPH BS 810: Meta-Analysis for Public Health & Medical Research
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics and epidemiology MPH core course requirements and SPH BS723 or consent of instructor,
    Meta-analysis is the statistical analysis of research findings and is widely used in public health and medical research. Typically meta-analysis is employed to provide summary results of the research in an area, but other uses include exploratory analyses to find types of subjects who best respond to a treatment or find study-level factors that affect outcomes. The course will cover the theory and use of the most common meta-analytic methods, the interpretation and limitations of results from these methods, diagnostic procedures, and some advanced topics with a focus on public health application. Grading will be based on homework, an exam and a project.
  • SPH BS 820: Logistic Regression and Survival Analysis
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics and epidemiology MPH core course requirements and BS723 or BS852.
    This course provides basic knowledge of logistic regression and analysis of survival data. Regression modeling of categorical or time-to-event outcomes with continuous and categorical predictors is covered. Checking of model assumptions, goodness of fit, use of maximum likelihood to determine estimates and test hypotheses, use of descriptive and diagnostic plots are emphasized. The SAS statistical package is used to perform analyses. Grading will be based on homework and exams.
  • SPH BS 821: Categorical Data Analysis
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics MPH core requirement and BS723 or consent of instructor.
    This course focuses on the statistical analysis of categorical outcome data. Topics include the binomial and Poisson distributions, logistic and Poisson regression, nonparametric methods for ordinal data, smoothed regression modeling, the analysis of correlated categorical outcome data, cluster analysis, missing data and sample size calculations. The course emphasizes practical application and makes extensive use of the SAS programming language.
  • SPH BS 822: Advanced Methods in Statistical Computing
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS805 & linear algebra (CAS 142 or equivalent) or permission
    This course introduces advanced statistical methods and programming techniques that allow students to examine advanced statistical models that go beyond that available with standard SAS procedures taught in BS805. Topics include simulation studies, bootstrapping and Bayesian analysis. Students will apply these methods in homework assignments.
  • SPH BS 825: Advanced Methods in Infectious Disease Epidemiology
    This course aims to introduce students to statistical and mathematical methods used in infectious disease epidemiology. Students will be able to evaluate and appraise the literature in this field, be able to select which methods to use in different circumstances, implement some methods in simple situations and we will provide sufficient background reading that students can further examine methods that are of particular interest. This will be a hands-on course involving class discussions, computer lab sessions and a class debate on a controversial topic in infectious disease epidemiology.
  • SPH BS 830: Design and Analysis of Microarray Experiments and Next Generation Sequencing
    Graduate Prerequisites: MPH biostatistics core course or BS723 required or consent of instructor ( Recommended: Basic biology.
    In this course, students will be presented with the methods for the analysis of gene expression data measured through microarrays. The course will start with a review of the basic biology of gene expression and an overview of microarray technology. The course will then describe the statistical techniques used to compare gene expression across different conditions and it will progress to describe the analysis of more complex experiments designed to identify genes with similar functions and to build models for molecular classification. The statistical techniques described in this course will include general methods for comparing population means, clustering, classification, simple graphical models and Bayesian networks. Methods for computational and biological validation will be discussed.