Masters in Biostatistics: What, Where and How
Updated on Oct 26, 2018 - 11:03 a.m. IST by Shraya Singh
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Masters in Biostatistics - Biostatistics is a subdivision of the domain of statistics and involves the application of statistical techniques and methods to health-related fields. Being derived from statistics, it is a field which requires professionals and students to be highly adept in mathematical techniques and working with numbers. The field of biostatistics is a highly up-and-coming domain for research and development and the scope for masters in biostatistics in India and in other countries around the world is increasing day by day. As it is an interdisciplinary domain, a masters or MS in biostatistics is a highly specialized and intensive graduate-level program, the popularity of which is increasing with the growth in awareness. The career prospects for biostatistics graduates includes job roles in a plethora of industries ranging from research and development to healthcare and education. Pursuing an MS abroad in turn opens up even more career opportunities than a masters in biostatistics in India. Additionally, the significantly high masters in biostatistics salary at different research and healthcare facilities around the world provides further incentive to prospective biostatisticians. 

Masters in Biostatistics: Eligibility

In order to be eligible for any graduate program in the field, there are certain masters in biostatistics prerequisites which prospective applicants need to satisfy. These eligibility requirements are mainly associated with the applicant’s undergraduate education. The general masters in biostatistics prerequisites include the following.

  • The candidate should have successfully completed a four-year bachelor's program prior to application to the masters in biostatistics program. If the candidate has a three-year bachelor’s degree then he or she must complete a two-year masters or any other one-year tertiary qualification prior to application.

  • Although the applicant’s undergraduate education does not have to be in statistics or biology in particular (though many universities prefer such academic qualifications); it a requisite that the candidate has a high working knowledge of collegiate level calculus and other mathematical concepts such as statistics, probability and numerical analysis. 

  • Many masters in biostatistics programs also require applicants to have practical statistical computing knowledge in R, SAS, Splus etc. Database and scripting language (like Python and Perl) knowledge is also beneficial for most applicants to MS in biostatistics in USA in particular. 

Therefore, it can be seen that in order to satisfy many of the masters in biostatistics prerequisites for programs around the world, an undergraduate degree in mathematics, computing or engineering would come in handy. 

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Masters in Biostatistics: Admission Requirements

For admission to most of the biostatistics graduate programs at the top universities in the world, a number of admission requirements need to be fulfilled prior to application submission. These requirements may vary from program to program for MS in biostatistics as well as with the university of application. The general requirement for most masters in biostatistics programs include:

  • GRE general test scores are required for admission to most of the top programs for MS in biostatistics. Although most universities require the GRE  general test scores for admission, there are some universities which accepts applicants without a GRE score, for example, standardized test scores are not required for most programs for MS in biostatistics in Germany. 

  • GRE subject test scores are not a requirement for admission to any of the biostatistics graduate programs but are often an asset for applicants who have given the GRE subject test in mathematics or biology. GRE subject test scores provide an added advantage for applicants to highly competitive programs such as the top courses for MS in biostatistics in USA. 

  • Some universities which offer biostatistics graduate programs also accept GMAT scores if the applicant does not have any GRE scores to provide to the university. 

  • A statement of purpose is an essential requirement for applicants to any tertiary level program. The SOP is generally a two to three page essay which lists the candidate’s motivation behind selecting the specific course and the expectations that the candidate has from the program and the university of application.

  • Most universities require two or three letters of recommendation from professional and/or academic referees associated with the applicant.

  • English language proficiency proof is required for application to any university abroad. This can be satisfied through English language proficiency test scores from any of the following globally recognized tests:

    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic

    • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic

    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

    • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)

For MS in biostatistics in USA, TOEFL iBT test scores are preferred by universities. On the other hand, for MS in biostatistics in Germany, Netherlands, UK and other European nations, IELTS and CAE scores are preferred by universities.

The minimum score requirement for some of the top universities for MS in biostatistics are given below.

English Language Proficiency Test Scores for Masters in Biostatistics

University

English Language Proficiency Test

IELTS 

TOEFL iBT

PTE A

CAE

Harvard University

7.0

100

68

-

University of Oxford

7.0

100

-

185

ETH Zurich

7.0

100

-

Grade B

Imperial College London

7.0

100

69

Grade B

The University of Hong Kong 

6.0

80

-

Grade C

University of California, Berkeley

7.0

90

-

-

University of Toronto

7.0

93

-

-

The University of Queensland

6.5

87

64

-

Technical University Munich

6.5

88

-

Grade B

Georgia Institute of Technology

-

100

-

-

Ku Leuven

6.5

79-80

-

-

  • Applicants need to submit a resume which highlights their academic and professional achievements which may be relevant to an MS in biostatistics. Some universities ask for a CV in place of a resume as well.

  • A completed application form as well as the submission of the application fee is required prior to application submission for a masters in biostatistics program. 


Masters in Biostatistics: Top Universities

The top universities in the world for tertiary education in biostatics are mainly concentrated in two countries, making a program for MS in biostatistics in USA and in UK the most popular amongst all worldwide programs. Additionally, the masters in biostatistics salary at various research institutions in these nations are also considerably high, which is why prospective students opt for biostatistics graduate programs in these countries. The tuition for these programs however, is also significantly high. For students seeking low tuition programs, an MS in biostatistics in Germany or an MS in biostatistics in Canada is a viable option. Some of the top MS in biostatistics programs offered in the world are given below.

Best Universities for Masters in Biostatistics

University

Program

QS World Rank

Program Duration

Country

University of Oxford

MSc in EBHC Medical Statistics

5

2-4 years (part-time only)

United Kingdom

Harvard University

MS in Biostatistics

3

1-2 years

United States

MS in Computational Biology and Quantitative Genetics

1.5 - 2 years

MS in Health Data Science

16 months

University of California, Berkeley

MA in Biostatistics 

27

2 years

United States

Georgia Institute of Technology

MS in Bioinformatics

69

2 years

United States

ETH Zurich

Master program in Biostatistics

7

1.5 - 2 years

Switzerland

The University of Queensland

Master of Biostatistics


48

3 years (part-time only)

Australia

Technical University Munich

MSc Bioinformatics

61

2 years

Germany

Ku Leuven

MS in Bioinformatics

81

2 years

Belgium

Imperial College London

MSc Statistics (Biostatistics)

8

1 year

United Kingdom

University of Toronto

MSc in Biostatistics

28

1 year

Canada

The University of Hong Kong 

Master of Public Health (MPH) - Epidemiology and Biostatistics

25

1 year

Hong Kong, China

Masters in Biostatistics: Fees and Funding

Although, for successful graduates, the prospective masters in biostatistics salary is known to be quite high, the tuition for the same is also something that tends to burn a hole in students’ pockets. For students who want lower fees, programs such as an MS in biostatistics in Germany or an MS in biostatistics in Canada are generally more preferred over countries like the United States and the UK where tuition tends to be high. Additionally, these programs are well-worth their money as the pedagogical quality tends to be greater than a masters in biostatistics in India. 

Candidates applying for a masters in biostatistics are also open to scholarship and fellowships offered by many universities apart from program specific scholarships. Being a tertiary qualification which is closely linked to the healthcare industry, prospective masters and doctorate students are offered hefty scholarships based on academic excellence and merit. For an MS in biostatistics in Germany, a number of country-wide scholarships are also available on an academic merit basis. 

The tuition fee for some masters in biostatistics programs around the world as well as scholarship options are given below according to the country of application.

Fees and Funding for Top Biostatistics Graduate Programs

Country

University

Annual Tuition Fee

Notable Scholarships

United Kingdom 

University of Oxford

£36,315

Clarendon Fund Scholarship

United States

University of California, Berkeley

USD $41,254

Block Grant Fellowships


Germany

Technical University Munich

129.40 (per semester)

Deutschland Stipendium

Canada

University of Toronto

CAD $4,511.30 (summer session fees)

Aurum Student Scholarship

Hong Kong, China

The University of Hong Kong 

HK $168,000

Professor Anthony J Hedley Scholarship for MPH

Belgium

Ku Leuven

€ 6,000

Master Mind Scholarships

Australia

The University of Queensland

AUD $38,528

Endeavor Leadership Program

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