2022 Best Online Masters in Biostatistics Programs

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If you are interested in a statistics career that influences public health and epidemiology, you may want to sign up for an online masters in biostatistics program. These programs consist of classes in data analytics, survey methods, modeling, and programming.

Best Online Masters in Biostatistics Programs

A master’s degree in biostatistics can help you get ready to step into one of the many career opportunities available for statisticians in healthcare and related industries. Careers in this field are seeing very positive job growth.

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Your work as a biostatistician may inform health-related decisions and could be influential in improving the well-being of individuals and communities.

Online Masters in Biostatistics Programs

Man taking Online Masters in Biostatistics

All sorts of industries rely on the work of statisticians. In health-related fields, statisticians have a special title: biostatistician. Biostatistical methods are useful in public health, biology, medicine, and biotechnology.

To prepare for such work, biostatistics students learn about more than just statistics. They usually study topics like epidemiology and public health as well. As trained statisticians, they have skills that are useful in many different industries. Their specific preparation, though, makes them uniquely suited for work in life and health sciences.

Subjects typically studied in biostatistics graduate programs include:

  • Clinical trials
  • Computational statistics
  • Consulting
  • Data mining
  • Epidemiology
  • Modeling
  • Public health
  • Statistical methods
  • Survey sampling
  • Survival analysis

As with an online masters in biomedical informatics, a biostatistics master’s degree can be earned online. Online programs can give you the opportunity to learn about these topics through distance classes and work your way toward an accredited degree.

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Some biostatistics programs are for standalone degrees. Most of these are for a Master of Science (MS) in Biostatistics. Other biostatistics studies are specialization tracks within other master’s degree programs. For example, you might earn a Master of Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in biostatistics. Some schools combine epidemiology and biostatistics into one concentration.

If you get an MS in Biostatistics, you may be able to specialize with a concentration. The options might focus on biostatistical methods, big data, or public health. Not all programs have concentrations available. Instead, you may be able to customize your studies with an assortment of elective classes. This can give you the chance to select the classes that best support your career goals and areas of interest.

Some programs, whether MS or MPH, require the completion of a thesis before graduation. A thesis is a research project. It could involve gathering data in a real-world work setting. Your final project might include a lengthy paper and a presentation.

After graduation, you may get a job as a biostatistician. Hospitals are one potential employer. You might also work for a health-related government agency. Medical supply and pharmaceutical companies also hire people for this role.

Biostatistics Careers & Salaries

Biostatistics Careers & Salaries

Many people who pursue degrees in biostatistics plan to become biostatisticians. They may work for employers like hospitals, health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, or research firms.

The statistics skills learned in this graduate program could apply to other fields as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that industries hiring statisticians include universities, insurance carriers, and social service agencies.

Operations research analysts study data to identify solutions to organizations’ problems. Your knowledge of statistics could help you do this job for healthcare facilities or other organizations. With the right educational background, you might qualify to work as a medical scientist or an epidemiologist. For example, biostatistics often pairs well with a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science.

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Epidemiology might be paired with biostatistics studies in a Master of Public Health program. Similarly, your training may prepare you to work in software development. You might become a software engineer who contributes to programs used for biostatistical analysis.

Although less common for biostatistics professionals, your ability to handle data might make you a good candidate for an information-related job. Examples include information research scientists and information systems managers.

Finally, graduate degrees can potentially put you on the pathway toward a career in academia. You might eventually become a professor who teaches statistics or similar topics to college students.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, math-related jobs pay an average annual salary of $98,680.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Computer and Information Systems Managers $159,010
Computer and Information Research Scientists $131,490-
Software Developers $120,730
Data Scientists $100,910
Mathematicians 108,100
Statisticians $95,570
Medical Scientists $95,310
Operations Research Analysts $82,360
Postsecondary Teachers $79,640
Epidemiologists $78,830

Some of these jobs may require a PhD, a professional doctorate, or other work or education experience in addition to your master’s degree in biostatistics.

MS in Biostatistics Online Curriculum & Courses

People getting MS in Biostatistics, working on a project

For your Master of Biostatistics, you will probably need to earn between 30 and 45 credits. The curriculum can vary from school to school, but yours may include:

  • Clinical Databases: This class covers how to work with and manage systems for storing and organizing sets of data.
  • Clinical Trials: This course covers how clinical trials are planned and the data is analyzed.
  • Consulting: To prepare you for working with professionals across various disciplines, you may take a class on working as a biostatistics consultant.
  • Data Mining: If you plan to work with big data sets, you may want to take a data mining class to help you learn specific techniques for doing so.
  • Epidemiology: This course explores the distribution and determinants of common health concerns and also discusses how biostatistics relates to epidemiology.
  • Fundamentals of Biostatistics: Toward the beginning of your program, you’ll likely take an overview class that surveys foundational concepts, such as probability and linear regression.
  • Meta-analysis: This class can help you learn how to evaluate multiple studies on the same topic and draw conclusions based on the trends you spot.
  • Public Health Principles: This class provides an overview of the field of public health and surveillance methods used for public health monitoring.
  • Statistics Programming: In one or more classes, you may study both the SAS and R programming languages used in biostatistics.
  • Survival Analysis: This class teaches how to use modeling and statistical programming to analyze survival data, which is a skill set specific to biostatistics professionals.

There’s usually some sort of major project toward the end of a biostatistics program. For you, that might be a thesis paper, an internship, or a critique of a research study.

Admissions Requirements

Woman preparing some documents for MS in Biostatistics degree

Biostatistics is a rigorous program, so the admissions process can be strict. To get into an online biostatistics program, you may need to assemble an application packet that includes the following:

  • Proof of an accredited bachelor’s degree and accompanying transcripts
  • GRE scores (not needed for all colleges)
  • Recommendation letters
  • Resume
  • Statement of purpose

Some programs specify prerequisite courses that must be taken at the undergraduate level before starting master’s-level classes. For example, you may need to have passed classes in linear algebra, probability, or calculus.

Online Biostatistics Masters Programs Accreditation

University offering Online Biostatistics Masters

For your biostatistics graduate program, it is important to select a school that holds regional accreditation. Attending a school that has the approval of a regional accrediting organization will help to ensure that you’ll receive a good education.

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Biostatistics is a rigorous, academic field. Your degree will likely mean much more — and hold more value — if it comes from an accredited school. That could help you land a desirable job or get into a PhD program. If you need to make a change mid-program, you’ll be glad you chose a regionally accredited school. Credits from accredited programs are more likely to transfer to another college than those from non-accredited programs.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Online Biostatistics Masters Financial Aid

You may not have to pay for your full biostatistics master’s degree out of pocket. Various financial aid programs may help reduce the cost.

From state and federal governments, you might receive loans. Student assistance loans allow you to borrow the money and repay it later. To learn about your eligibility, you can submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

There may be government grant programs for you too. They’re not especially common at the graduate level, though. Some colleges have funding for students. These funds might come in the form of assistantships or scholarships. In an assistantship, you might help with teaching or research projects in exchange for a tuition discount.

You may also be able to procure scholarships on your own. You can look for programs from industry organizations or charitable groups. Help may also be available from your employer. You can ask your HR department whether your company has a tuition reimbursement program.

What Is a Biostatistics Masters Degree?

Data Scientist working in his office

A biostatistics masters degree is a degree that deals with statistical analysis related to health and medical topics. This program usually takes between 1 and 2 years to finish and typically requires the completion of 30 to 45 credit hours.

Clinical Trial Data, Linear Regression, and Intermediate Epidemiology may be some of the classes you take. Other courses might include Statistical Programming and Survival Data. This program is usually a lot like general statistics master’s degree programs. Unlike other statistics programs, though, this one typically includes studies in epidemiology, public health, survival analysis, and clinical trial methodology.

What Can You Do with a Masters in Biostatistics?

Computer & Information Research Scientists working in the lab

Once you get a degree in biostatistics, you might work as a biostatistician. Health insurance companies sometimes hire for this role. So do government public health agencies. Other possible employers could include hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.

It might also be possible to work as a software engineer. You might develop programs for conducting biostatistical analyses using programming languages like R and SAS. Some statistics professionals with graduate degrees teach college classes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that most professors earn between $46,690 and $172,130 annually.

Are Biostatisticians in Demand?

Yes, biostatisticians are greatly needed. In fact, there’s a high demand for statisticians of all sorts. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for statisticians are projected to increase by 35% over the next ten years. That’s significantly higher than the national average for job growth across all sectors.

Part of the job growth in this field will likely come from an increased demand for statistical analysis in healthcare organizations. The BLS also says that there will likely be a growing number of jobs for statisticians in research firms.

How Long Is a Master’s in Biostatistics Program Online?

Woman pursuing her MS in Biostatistics online

If you enroll in a one of the biostatistics masters programs online, you will likely spend 1 to 2 years in the program. There are several factors that may influence the overall length.

First, do you plan to enroll full-time or part-time? Part-time programs take longer. Some may last over 2 years. Also, what requirements does your program have? The shortest programs usually require only about 36 credit hours and don’t include a thesis.

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Finally, how does your school arrange the academic calendar? Accelerated programs with year-round course sessions, each lasting around 8 weeks, are often the fastest.

Is Biostatistics Hard?

Software Developers discussing about the project

There is a lot of math involved in the field of biostatistics. You’ll likely have to take courses on statistics, probability, and multi-variable analysis.

If you liked your undergraduate statistics class, that may be a good sign that this degree is good for you. Keep in mind, though, that the statistical studies in this program will probably be much more advanced. You’re likely to study health-focused topics as well. That’s a key difference between a general statistics program and a biostatistics program. Commonly, biostatistics students study epidemiology and public health.

At some schools, there are computer programming classes included too. You may use languages designed for statistical programming.

What’s the Difference between a Degree in Bioinformatics vs. Biostatistics Masters Online?

Both bioinformatics and biostatistics involve data for health and life science fields. They are similar but not the same. Here you can see the two compared:

Bioinformatics Biostatistics
  • Uses more algorithms and data visualization
  • Often involves big data
  • More closely tied to genomics
  • Uses more statistics theory
  • Often focuses on data from specific studies
  • More closely tied to public health and epidemiology

Speaking to professionals from these fields may help you determine which is the better choice for you.

What’s the Difference between Epidemiology vs. Biostatistics Master’s Programs?

Epidemiology and biostatistics are both essential to the field of public health, but they’re not the same. Here are some of the differences:

Epidemiology Biostatistics
  • Explores trends and causes related to specific health issues
  • Requires more study of health and disease topics
  • Involves tracking key metrics in populations
  • Focuses on data and statistics related to health and biological matters
  • Requires more study of mathematical topics
  • Involves gathering data from surveys and clinical trials

Epidemiologists and biostatisticians often work together. If both fields appeal to you, you might consider earning an MPH at a school that offers a joint epidemiology-biostatistics concentration.

Is a Masters in Biostatistics Worth It?

A group of statisticians having a meeting

Yes, a masters in biostatistics is worth it for many students. This field will give you the opportunity to use your math and data skills to make a difference in people’s health.

Statisticians are in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 33% growth rate in this field over the next ten years. Studying biostatistics can help prepare you for more than just careers in epidemiology and other health sciences.

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Your statistical knowledge could also be applicable to a wide range of other fields where statisticians work. Examples include insurance companies and the federal government.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Biostatistics Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Boston University

Boston University

Boston University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Claremont Graduate University

Claremont Graduate University

Claremont Graduate University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

City University of New York

City University of New York

CUNY is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

George Washington University

George Washington University

George Washington University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Monroe College

Monroe College

Monroe College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Purdue University

Purdue University

Purdue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Tufts University

Tufts University

Tufts University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

University of Alabama – Birmingham

University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of California – Berkeley

University of California Berkeley

The University of California – Berkeley is accredited by the Western Association of Schools & Colleges.

University of Florida

University of Florida

The University of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Louisville

University of Louisville

The University of Louisville is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Nebraska

University of Nebraska Lincoln

The University of Nebraska is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Nevada – Reno

University of Nevada Reno

The University of Nevada – Reno is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of Southern California

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Senior College and University Commission.

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

University of Tennessee Health Science Center

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Washington

University of Washington

The University of Washington is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

West Virginia University

West Virginia University

West Virginia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Masters in Biostatistics Online

Man pursuing Masters in Biostatistics Online

An exciting future may be waiting for you in a biostatistic master program. As you work toward this graduate degree, you’ll likely learn about statistical analysis, data modeling, computer programming, and public health.

Your training can help you pursue work as a biostatistician for the government, hospitals, or drug manufacturers. You may want to think about taking online classes for your graduate studies. Such classes can give you the opportunity to learn advanced topics from the comfort of your home. That’s especially beneficial for busy professionals balancing home, work, and school commitments.

Accredited online colleges offer respected degrees. To get started, you can start researching programs to find the accredited online biostatics program that’s right for you!

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Jordan Meeks
WRITTEN BY
Jordan Meeks
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.