Requirements and Curriculum

The master’s degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework. Additional program requirements include passing two written master’s exams, participating in a practical training project, and preparing a written paper about the project which you will present and defend as a final oral exam.

View the Department of Biostatistics Graduate Student Handbook for complete information.

Core Required Courses

All courses are 3 credit hours unless otherwise indicated. 

Students are required to take the following Public Health Course:


Elective Course Options

ou must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours of electives coursework. Below are elective options offered by the Department of Biostatistics. All courses are 3 credit hours unless otherwise noted.

6 credit hours of either STA 600 Independent Study or of coursework from outside the Department of Biostatistics can be taken to satisfy elective requirements provided the courses are relevant to your training and are approved by your advisor and the director of graduate studies.

Additionally, any statistics course that satisfies a requirement of the department’s PhD program can be used as a master’s elective.

Note: If you select this option and later pursue a PhD, you will need to take an additional course to satisfy the master’s requirement retrospectively.

Master’s Exams

After your first year of coursework, you will complete two written exams to assess your understanding of statistical concepts:

  • An exam on applied courses, STA 503 Regression Analysis  and STA 504 Statistical Comparisons and Associations
  • An exam on theoretical courses, STA 521 Introduction to Theoretical Statistics I and STA 522 Introduction to Theoretical Statistics II

A department examination committee will determine your performance. If you do not pass the applied exam, you will then take the final exams for STA 503 and STA 504. If you do not pass the theoretical exam, you will then take the final exams for STA 521 and STA 522.

The examination committee will again determine your performance. You must pass these follow-up exams to continue in the program.

Supervisory Committee

Throughout your program, you will rely on your supervisory committee for guidance and assistance. This committee, which must be appointed before your third semester of study, will:

  • Advise you
  • Check on qualifications and progress
  • Evaluate your written report and oral presentation satisfying the practical training requirement (see below)
  • Conduct the final oral exam

Your committee must include three faculty members from the Department of Biostatistics. You are strongly encouraged to add a fourth member from outside the department in your second year, ideally one associated with your practical training project.

Practical Training

An essential component of our program is the practical training experience which helps you apply your skills learned in the classroom to real data. This requirement—which must be for at least one semester in length—can be satisfied by working with a faculty member in a consulting or collaborative research setting or by participating in an internship that has been approved by your advisor and supervisory committee.

To complete this requirement, you will present and defend a detailed written report of your data analysis project to your supervisory committee for evaluation at a final oral exam.

Thesis Option

Learn more about the requirements if you select the MA program with the thesis option.

Questions about program requirements or curriculum?

Contact Noreen McGuire, academic program coordinator, at or (716) 829-6142.