Academic Programs Catalog

College of Human Medicine

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Graduate Study
Biostatistics - Master of Science

The master’s degree program in biostatistics is designed to provide graduate students with essential quantitative training necessary for public health and medical research. Students completing the program will be well prepared to design experimental studies and analyze data in important areas of clinical and biomedical investigations. Required courses concentrate on the principles of study design,  methods for analysis of biomedical data of the continuous, categorical and mixed types from clinical experiments and from observational studies. Elective courses are offered in analytic methods for longitudinal data, genomic and genetic data, and censored data. 

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university, and of the College of Human Medicine, students must meet the requirements specified below.


To be considered for admission applicants must:

  1. Have a bachelor’s degree including undergraduate or graduate level quantitative methods with at least two semesters of college-level calculus, a course in matrix or linear algebra, and an introductory course in statistics.
  2. Demonstrate interest or experience in a public health field by submitting a statement of purpose. 
  3. Provide an official transcript.
  4. Submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Test results should not be older than five years.
  5. Submit three letters of recommendation, one of which must be from an academic advisor from a previous program.
  6. Provide Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores, if an international applicant. A minimum score of 80 on the internet-based test, 550 on the paper-based test or 237 on the computer-based test, or passing grade on the MSU English Language Test (MSUELT). Scores must be no older than two years. International students with full native fluency in English are exempt.

Students with less preparation may be provisionally admitted. Credits earned in collateral course work will not count towards the degree requirements.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Biostatistics

The program is available under either Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis). A total of 33 credits is required for both Plan A or Plan B, with no more than 6 credits at the 400-level.  The student's program of study must be approved by the student's academic advisor and guidance committee with the approval of the Dean of the College of Human Medicine.

Students must:

1. All of the following courses (11 credits):
EPI 808B Advanced Biostatistics 3
EPI 810 Introductory Epidemiology 3
EPI 826B Categorical Data Analysis 3
EPI 828 Seminar in Responsible Conduct of Research 1
EPI 856 Statistical Consulting in Public Health 1
2. One of the following courses (3 credits):
EPI 853B Statistical Computing 3
STT 802 Statistical Computation 3
3. Complete 12 credits (Plan A) or 15 credits (Plan B) of additional credits in biostatistics electives from the following:
EC 821A Cross Section and Panel Data Econometrics I 3
EC 821B Cross Section and Panel Data Econometrics II 3
EPI 851 SAS Programming I: Essentials 1
EPI 852 SAS Programming II: Data Management and Analysis 1
EPI 855 Biostatistical Modeling in Genomic Data Analysis 3
EPI 858 Clinical Trials 3
EPI 951 Latent Variable Modeling 3
EPI 952 Duration and Severity Analysis 3
EPI 953 Analytical Strategies for Observational Studies 3
FOR 875 R Programming for Data Sciences 3
STT 464 Statistics for Biologists 3
STT 465 Bayesian Statistical Methods 3
STT 801 Design of Experiments 3
STT 814 Advanced Statistics for Biologists 4
STT 825 Sample Surveys 3
STT 847 Analysis of Survival Data 3
STT 861 Theory of Probability and Statistics I 3
STT 862 Theory of Probability and Statistics II 3
Additional elective courses may be chosen with advisor approval.
4. Complete 3 additional credits of epidemiology electives from the following:
EPI 805 Readings in the Historical Roots of Epidemiological Thought 3
EPI 812 Causal Inference in Epidemiology 3
EPI 815 Epidemiology of Cardiovascular Disease 3
EPI 816 Perinatal Epidemiology 3
EPI 817 Epidemiology of Communicable Diseases 3
EPI 819 Spatial Epidemiology and Medical Geography 3
EPI 823 Cancer Epidemiology 3
EPI 835 Neuroepidemiology 3
EPI 890 Independent Study in Epidemiology and Biostatistics 1 to 3
EPI 910 Themes in Contemporary Epidemiology 3
EPI 977 Social Epidemiology 3
EPI 979 Advanced Topics of Infectious Disease Epidemiology 3
LCS 829 Design and Conduct of Epidemiologic Studies and Clinical Trials 3
5. Attend all MSU Graduate School Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Workshops (Human).
Additional Requirements for Plan A
1. The following course (4 credits):
EPI 899 Master’s Thesis Research 4
2. Pass an oral defense of the thesis.
Additional Requirements for Plan B
1. Complete a capstone project through enrollment in 1 credit of EPI 890 Independent Study in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
2. Pass a final oral examination or evaluation of the capstone project.