Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of current statistical theory, methods, and practices in the health sciences;
  • effectively collaborate on a research team;
  • develop statistical designs and implement analyses for health science investigations;
  • develop computer programs for the management and analysis of data sets;
  • prepare reports and publications resulting from health science studies; and
  • effectively communicate key statistical principles to a nonstatistical audience.

The Master of Science program in biostatistics requires a minimum of 38 s.h. of graduate credit. Students must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00. Those who receive a grade of C on 7 s.h. of coursework may be dismissed from the program.

The program provides training in the design of experiments and in analysis of data related to biomedical or public health problems. It emphasizes mathematical, statistical, and computer methods for dealing with quantitative information and provides opportunities for students to gain statistical consulting experience with a variety of problems.

M.S. students are required to complete an in-depth preceptorship under the direction of a departmental faculty member and a final comprehensive-style examination.

The M.S. with a major in biostatistics requires the following coursework.

Core Courses

All of these:
BIOS:5510Biostatistical Computing (taken twice for 2 s.h. each; topics should be programming with R and programming with SAS)4
BIOS:5710 & BIOS:5720Biostatistical Methods I-II8
BIOS:5730Biostatistical Methods in Categorical Data3
BIOS:6610Statistical Methods in Clinical Trials3
BIOS:7500Preceptorship in Biostatistics3
EPID:4400Epidemiology I: Principles3
One of these sequences:
STAT:4100-STAT:4101Mathematical Statistics I-II6
STAT:5100-STAT:5101Statistical Inference I-II (required for students who intend to earn a Ph.D.)6

Public Health Requirement

This course:
CPH:6100Essentials of Public Health2

Responsible Conduct of Research Training

This course:
BIOS:7270Scholarly Integrity in Biostatistics1


Students complete a minimum of 5-6 s.h. of electives with at least 3 s.h. in quantitative coursework (statistics or biostatistics). It is recommended that students consider a biology/public health course as the other elective, particularly for those who have not had prior exposure to these areas. Electives must be approved by the advisor and the director of graduate studies.

BIOS:6210Applied Survival Analysis3
BIOS:6310/STAT:6550Introductory Longitudinal Data Analysis3
BIOS:6420Survey Design and Analysis3
BIOS:6650Causal Inference3
BIOS:6720Statistical Machine Learning for Biomedical and Public Health Data3
BIOS:6810Bayesian Methods and Design3
BIOS:7110Likelihood Theory and Extensions4
BIOS:7210/STAT:7570Survival Data Analysis3
BIOS:7230Advanced Clinical Trials3
BIOS:7240High-Dimensional Data Analysis3
BIOS:7250Theory of Linear and Generalized Linear Models4
BIOS:7310Longitudinal Data Analysis3
BIOS:7330Advanced Biostatistical Computing3
BIOS:7410/STAT:7510Analysis of Categorical Data3
BIOS:7600Advanced Biostatistics Seminar (topics include statistical methods in bioinformatics, model selection, spatial modeling, statistical analysis of network data)1-3
BIOS:7700Problems/Special Topics in Biostatistics1
CBH:4105Introduction to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention3
CPH:5100Introduction to Public Health3
CS:5110Introduction to Informatics3
GENE:7191Human Molecular Genetics3
HMP:4000Introduction to the U.S. Health Care System3
ISE:4172Big Data Analytics3
OEH:4240Global Environmental Health3
PATH:5270Pathogenesis of Major Human Diseases3
PATH:8133Introduction to Human Pathology for Graduate Students3-4
STAT:4520Bayesian Statistics3
STAT:6560Applied Time Series Analysis3
STAT:7400Computer Intensive Statistics3

Applicants to the M.S. program in biostatistics must apply through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS). After the SOPHAS application is verified, the applicant pays a supplemental Graduate College admission fee to the University of Iowa Office of Admissions. For detailed application information, visit Requirements and How to Apply to Biostatistics on the Department of Biostatistics website.

The biostatistics faculty considers several factors when evaluating applications for admission, including grade-point averages, letters of recommendation, intent and motivation for graduate study, and research interests.

All applicants must hold a bachelor's degree and have a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit official test scores to verify English proficiency. Applicants can verify English proficiency by submitting official test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). They must score at least 100 (internet-based) on the TOEFL. Applicants with lower scores are not considered for admission. In place of TOEFL scores, the department accepts IELTS scores of 7.0 or higher, with no subscore below 6.0, and the Duolingo English Test (DET) with a score of at least 105.

All biostatistics applicants are required to have strong written and oral communication skills.

All applicants must be competent in at least one computer programming language. They also must have mathematical sciences training in methods and techniques of single variable and multivariable differential and integral calculus, and in linear algebra. Previous coursework or experience in statistical methods or data analysis is preferred.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations on the Graduate College website.

Students may enter in the fall; the priority application deadline is December 1.

A limited number of teaching and research assistantships are available. Assistantships offer financial support and tuition assessed at the resident tuition rate along with a tuition scholarship. They also provide valuable on-the-job training experience.

For information on financing education through jobs, grants, and loans, contact the University's Office of Student Financial Aid.

Graduates find career opportunities in many areas, including pharmaceutics, health care, research companies and institutions, consulting firms, universities, and government agencies.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans represent one way to complete a program of study. Actual course selection and sequence will vary and should be discussed with an academic advisor. For additional sample plans, see MyUI.

Biostatistics, M.S.

Plan of Study Grid (Manual)
Academic Career
Any SemesterHours
38 s.h. of graduate level coursework must be completed; graduate transfer credits allowed upon approval. More information is included in the General Catalog and on department website. a
Maintain at least a 3.00 cumulative GPA.
Exam: (substitutes for the Final Exam) Written Master's Core Exam focused on required biostatistics and statistics coursework; taken in summer of Year 1 after completion of BIOS:5710 Biostatistical Methods I, BIOS:5720 Biostatistical Methods II, BIOS:5730 Biostatistical Methods Categorical Data and STAT:4100 Mathematical Statistics I, STAT:4101 Mathematical Statistics II
First Year
Statistical Inference I b
or Mathematical Statistics I
BIOS:5710 Biostatistical Methods I 4
BIOS:5510 Biostatistical Computing c 2
BIOS:5510 Biostatistical Computing c 2
CPH:6100 Essentials of Public Health 2
Mathematical Statistics II d
or Statistical Inference II
BIOS:5720 Biostatistical Methods II 4
BIOS:5730 Biostatistical Methods in Categorical Data 3
BIOS:7270 Scholarly Integrity in Biostatistics e 1
Exam: Master's Core Exam
Second Year
EPID:4400 Epidemiology I: Principles 3
BIOS:7500 Preceptorship in Biostatistics 3
Approved biostatistics elective f 3
BIOS:6610 Statistical Methods in Clinical Trials 3
Approved biostatistics elective f 3
Approved biostatistics elective f 2 - 3
Final Exam - verify results from Master's Core Exam
 Total Hours41-42
Students must complete specific requirements in the University of Iowa Graduate College after program admission. Refer to the Graduate College website and the Manual of Rules and Regulations for more information.
STAT:5100 is required if pursuing a PhD.
Complete two sections of BIOS:5510, Programming in R and Programming in SAS.
STAT:5101 is required if pursuing a PhD.
Required for Graduate Research Assistants (GRA) or potential GRAs.
Work with faculty advisor to select appropriate graduate elective coursework. More information can be found in the General Catalog and department website.