Skip to main content

Click "Menu" to toggle open, click "Menu" again to close

MS - Biostatistics

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.


MS in Biostatistics Competencies

Required Major Courses (27 units)

Elective Courses (minimum 6 units required)*

At least 6 elective units from the following courses:

Other elective courses:

*Electives may also be chosen from courses taught in other programs with approval of the Biostatistics Faculty Advisor.

Thesis (minimum 6 units)

Required Master's Thesis, BIOS 910 (1-6 units)

Total Minimum Credit Requirement = 39 units

Application Deadlines

Fall Application Deadlines

Priority:  December 1

Secondary:  April 1

Final: June 1 for US applicants only

Students who apply by the priority deadline will be given the highest priority for admissions and consideration for scholarships and assistantships.

Admissions Criteria

Admissions Criteria

  • Bachelor's degree with GPA of 3.2 or higher required for MS applicants
  • Strong quantitative skills
  • At least three semesters of college-level calculus through multivariable/vector calculus and one semester of linear algebra
  • Documented experience with a computer programming language (C/C++, Fortran, Java, Python or equivalent) is strongly recommended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Statement of purpose and objectives
  • Mission and values statement
  • Official GRE scores (some waivers apply, see detailed admissions criteria)
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants
  • Relevant work/volunteer experience strengthens all applications
  • Detailed admissions criteria

How to Apply

Apply online through SOPHAS, the centralized application service for all of the accredited schools and programs of public health.

View more details on the steps to our application process.

Additional Information

Admissions Events > Join us for an upcoming admissions event.

Meet Our Students > Get to know our students.

International Students > Find admissions information specific to international students.


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

The University of Arizona