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MS Biostatistics

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Offered On Campus in Tucson

The Master of Science in Biostatistics is offered by the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. The educational objective is to prepare individuals to work effectively as applied biostatisticians in a variety of public health, epidemiological and clinical research settings.  The difference between the MS in Biostatistics and the MPH concentration in Biostatistics is that the MS provides training in probability and statistical theory with a research focus, while the MPH provides a broader background in public health.  

The overall course of study for the MS degree will be developed by the student and their Faculty Advisor and approved by the student's Graduate Committee and Biostatistics Program Director. On average, the MS program requires approximately two years for completion. The first year is usually devoted to core coursework and completion of the qualifying exam. The second year is focused on remaining coursework and development of the master's thesis research.

Students who join the MS Biostatistics program and pass the Biostatistics Qualifying Exam after their first year of coursework may apply directly to the PhD program without completing the MS degree. If admitted to the PhD program, all of the coursework taken in the first year would then count towards the PhD degree.

Admission Criteria Application Deadlines How to Apply


MS in Biostatistics Competencies

Elective Courses, Computational/Modern Methods Module (minimum 6 units required)*

Choose from:

*Three units must come from BIOS 576D or BIOS 511

Culminating Experience: Choose one of the following options (minimum 3 units)

  • Master's Project, BIOS 699 Independent Study (3 units)
  • Master's Project, BIOS 900 Research (3 units)
  • Master's Thesis, BIOS 910 Thesis (6 units)

Oral Defense of Thesis Research or Project and completion of a professional portfolio are required.

Total Minimum Credit Requirement = 33 units


Typical time to completion: 2 years full-time students, 3-4 years part-time students.

Average time to completion: 2.32

Program Steps to Completion (Full-time student timeline):

  • Attend mandatory new student orientation
  • First year is devoted to course work
  • Each Spring, complete an Annual Progress Report with Faculty Advisor
  • Second semester, identify Thesis Chair
  • End of first Spring, take the Qualifying Exam
  • Second year is devoted to course work and Thesis research/development
  • If necessary, begin process for human subjects approval for thesis
  • Third semester, form thesis committee
  • Begin research/thesis development
  • Fourth semester, successfully defend thesis and finalize revisions

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