Saint Louis University

Master of Public Health in Biostatistics


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Michael Elliot, PhD, discusses Biostatistics at SLU

The Master of Public Health in Biostatistics prepares students to use statistical theory to analyze, investigate and interpret the results of public health studies.

Students who graduate with this degree are well-prepared for professional roles as biostatisticians in industry, public health agencies and federal institutions or in academic institutions.

Joint Concentration Option
Students can combine two concentrations, allowing them to expand their knowledge in both areas. A joint concentration degree combines the competencies of each concentration. The joint concentration option for Biostatistics is:

Competency-Based Education
Competencies are student outcomes - both knowledge and skills - that are specific to the degree and to the area of study. They reflect the knowledge and skills that we strive to develop in our students and form the basis of our evaluation of each student's achievement. For the MPH, there is a set of core competencies and set of discipline-specific competencies that guide the development of the curriculum. The competency sets are developed with input from current public health practitioners, our alumni, our faculty and our students to reflect current and future needs of the profession.

Biostatistics Concentration Competencies

BST 1: Articulate the principles of biostatistics.

BST 2: Compute descriptive and multivariate statistical tests and measures of association using statistical software, e.g., SPSS, Excel, SAS & R.

BST 3: Interpret results of statistical analyses.

BST 4: Communicate results of statistical analyses.

BST 5: Follow ethical norms and rules for acquiring, managing, sharing, securing and analyzing data.

Career Opportunities

SLU graduates are employed all over the nation and internationally in a wide variety of settings and positions. Biostatisticians can look forward to careers in government, industry and academia. The job outlook for biostatisticians is excellent, as the U.S. government has recently reported a shortage of biostatistics professionals in the public health profession.

Faculty and Research
Our faculty are internationally recognized as leaders in the field of biostatistics and have active research in areas such as:

  • Categorical Data Analysis
  • Survival Data Analysis
  • Longitudinal Data Analysis 
  • Functional Data Analysis 
  • Latent Structure Modeling 
  • Bayesian Statistics 
  • Statistical Quality Control
  • GIS and Spatial Analysis

MPH Practice Experience

Students in the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program are required to complete a practice experience (internship) with an approved community health organization and preceptor. This 320-hour experience is designed to enhance students' educational experiences and promote professional competence in Biostatistics.

Internships in this concentration might involve the following activities: performing or assisting with the design and organization of research projects, data management and analysis, with an emphasis on applications of biostatistics in clinical settings, epidemiological research and community intervention evaluation. Examples of organizations that have sponsored internships include: Kantar Health, St. Louis Children's Hospital, and St. Louis Veteran's Affairs Medical Center.

Admission Requirements
For the concentration in Biostatistics, applicants should preferably hold a bachelor's degree in a social or biological science, plus prior coursework that includes an introductory statistics class, and either Calculus I and II or Calculus I and Linear Algebra.

MPH-BST Curriculum
Students in joint concentrations will have a curriculum that varies from the one below.

MPH Core Curriculum*

  • Behavioral Science and Public Health 

  • Principles of Biostatistics

  • Environmental and Occupational Health

  • Principles of Epidemiology

  • Mission and Practice of Global Public Health

  • Ethical Issues in Public Health 

  • Managerial Aspects of Public Health Practice 

  • Rounds

  • Internship/Practice Experience 

  • Special Study for Examinations

Concentration Curriculum

  • Applied Data Management

  • Categorical Data Analysis

  • Epidemiology Methods II

  • Introduction to General Linear Modeling

  • Statistical Programming and Study Planning: SAS

  • Survival Data Analysis

  • Theory of Biostatistics

  • Concentration Electives

  • Capstone in Biostatistics

*Exceptions to the MPH Core Curriculum: The prerequisite upper-level or equivalent course in statistics satisfies the BST-500 Principles of Biostatistics course requirement (3 credit hours) and decreases the MPH core curriculum credit hours to 18.

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