The MS in Biostatistics will allow students to specialize in the design and analysis of health-related and biological studies, while maintaining the rigor and technical training of the Statistical Science master's program.

In this degree, students will take a statistics core and a "bio" core, involving courses in public health, biology, and clinical medicine (including ethics). It also involves a research core which allows students to solve real data problems in the biological or health area and collaborate with other scientists in an interdisciplinary team. Finally, students will choose from electives in bioinformatics, global and community health, or targeted statistics courses.

This graduate degree prepares students for analyzing difficult data specific to biology and health. The program, with its research core, will also be sufficiently rigorous for students who wish to pursue a PhD in Biostatistics.


In addition to satisfying general admission requirements for graduate study, all applicants are expected to have basic computer literacy. They also must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in a field that includes coursework in multivariable calculus, matrix or linear algebra, statistics, and calculus-based probability. Applicants with degrees in such fields as mathematics, statistics, and some engineering programs usually meet these requirements. For applicants with degrees in other fields, these requirements are normally satisfied if students have successfully completed courses equivalent to the listed Mason courses.

Note that coursework taken to correct deficiencies in undergraduate preparation is not counted toward the degree.

MATH 113Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (Mason Core)4
MATH 114Analytic Geometry and Calculus II4
MATH 213Analytic Geometry and Calculus III3
MATH 203Linear Algebra3
or MATH 321 Abstract Algebra
STAT 250Introductory Statistics I (Mason Core)3
or STAT 344 Probability and Statistics for Engineers and Scientists I
STAT 346Probability for Engineers3
or MATH 351 Probability

Specific application deadlines and requirements are available through the Office of Graduate Admissions. 

Banner Code: VS-MS-BSTA

Degree Requirements

Total credits: 30 (pending SCHEV approval)

In addition to meeting general requirements that apply to master's degrees at Mason, all students must complete the 21-credit core requirements for the degree. A grade of "B-" or better is required in all 500-level statistics core courses. Students build on these core requirements by choosing 9 credits of electives.

Core Courses

Statistics Core

The Statistics core provides the basic probability, statistical analysis techniques, and statistical modeling tools that all biostatisticians must know, and provides a basis for higher level elective coursework.

STAT 544Applied Probability3
STAT 554Applied Statistics I3
STAT 654Applied Statistics II3
Total Credits9

Bio Core

The Bio core is designed to provide the biological background necessary for biostatisticians. These courses offer preparation in the areas of public health and epidemiology (GCH 712 Introduction to Epidemiology), as well as bioinformatics (BINF 630 Bioinformatics Methods). In addition, this portion of the core curriculum ensures that students are trained in the statistical techniques required for clinical medicine, and includes material on ethics in research (STAT 560 Biostatistical Methods).

GCH 712Introduction to Epidemiology3
BINF 630Bioinformatics Methods3
STAT 560Biostatistical Methods3
Total Credits9

Research Core

The Research core has been designed to assist students in the development of the requisite skills for careers in consulting or research. These courses will allow students to consult directly with biologists and medical and public health scientists on real data problems and provide opportunities to write reports and give oral presentations.

STAT 634Case Studies in Data Analysis3
or STAT 798 Master's Research Project
Total Credits3


The electives labeled STAT are specifically chosen from the department's master's-level electives to include techniques that are particularly important for biostatisticians.

Select three electives from the following:9
International Research Ethics and Methods
Advanced Multivariate Statistics and Data Analysis for Health Care Research
Statistical Inference
Analysis of Variance
Nonparametric Statistics
Multivariate Statistical Methods
Statistical Graphics and Data Exploration I
Categorical Data Analysis
Survival Analysis
Alternative Regression Methods
Advanced Biostatistical Methods
Statistical Methods for Longitudinal Data Analysis
Total Credits9