Master of Science in Biostatistics

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health


The MS in Biostatistics provides thorough preparation for a doctoral degree in Biostatistics as well as preparing students for a career in public health. Students will be able to apply their statistical and computing skills to real-world health problems ranging from disease outbreaks, environmental and industrial hazards, to development of public health, pharmaceutical, and medical interventions, and much more. The MS program is designed for students seeking a broad-based foundation in applied statistical methodology, statistical inference, and statistical computing. It prepares students for research careers in academia, business, health-care organizations, and government.

  • Degree Preparation

    Mathematics preparation for the program should include at least two years of calculus:

    • Mathematics 31A, B - Calculus and Analytic Geometry
    • Mathematics 32A, B - Calculus of Several Variables
    • Mathematics 33A, B - Matrices, Differential Equations, Infinite Series
    • Mathematics 115A - Linear Algebra
  • Program Requirements

    The program requires the completion of a minimum of 70 quarter-credit units. Unless previously taken, the following courses must be included in the degree program:

    Course Requirements

    • Biostatistics 200 A, B, C - Methods in Biostatistics
    • Biostatistics 202 A, B - Theoretical Principles of Biostatistics
    • Biostatistics 216 - Mathematical Methods for Biostatistics
    • Biostatistics 244 - Master’s Seminar and Research Resources for Graduating MS Biostatistics Students
    • Biostatistics 402A - Principles of Biostatistical Consulting (2 units)
    • Biostatistics 402B - Biostatistical Consulting
    • Biostatistics 596 - Directed Individual Study or Research (4 units) (Master’s Report)
    • One 4-unit course in the Department of Epidemiology – either 100 or 200A
    • One 4-unit course in broad public health theme (PH C201 or HPM M242) A minimum of 24 units of special topics courses from Biostatistics 202C, and 203A and above and no more than one course from the 400 series.

    Required courses toward the degree must be taken on a letter-grade basis, with the exception of Biostatistics 402B.

    Failure to secure a passing grade in at most two attempts in the MS Comprehensive Exam will result in the department recommending the student to the Graduate Division for Academic Disqualification.

    Master’s Report

    A written report under the direction of a member of the Department of Biostatistics faculty is required. In the spring of the second year of study, students take both Biostatistics 596 under the direction of a faculty member and Biostatistics 244 to guide the report preparation.

    Comprehensive Examination

    A written comprehensive exam is generally taken at the beginning of the second year of study in September. The scope of the exam includes material covered in the following biostatistics courses: 200A, 200B, 200C, 202A, and 202B. Students must pass the exam to receive the MS degree. Students have a maximum of two (2) opportunities to pass the exam

  • Time to Degree

    The MS degree is typically obtained after two years of full-time study (six academic quarters).

  • Course Sequencing

    Students in the MS program should take Epidemiology 200A and Biostatistics 100A in their first quarter, Epidemiology 200B and Biostatistics 100B in their second quarter, and Epidemiology 200C in their third quarter. They may also take additional courses in each of those quarters or substitute Biostatistics 100A-B with appropriate higher level courses.

    Students who plan to take their epidemiology first year core courses (Epidemiology 200A, 200B and 200C) in a different sequence must have approval from their advisors.


  • Career Outcomes

    Biostatisticians have the potential to make enormous scientific impact in medicine, public health, life sciences, survey research, and computer science. There is tremendous variety in possible areas of application, including AIDS, cancer, genetics, imaging, bioinformatics, immunology, and public policy. Graduates of the program work in a variety of policy and management healthcare settings.

    Examples of positions include: 

    • Biostatistician
    • Statistician
    • Data Scientist
    • Data Analyst
    • Statistical Programmer
    • University, Industry, or Government Researcher 
  • Department Faculty

    View a list of faculty in the Department of Biostatistics.

  • Tuition & Fees

    For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

    Please see the cost and aid section of our website for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment, summer internship funding, and need-based aid. Please note that opportunities listed under 'Summer Internship Funding' are only applicable to MPH students.

    Cost & Aid
  • Admissions

    Desired Qualifications

    In addition to the University’s Minimum Requirements, most applicants for the MS in Biostatistics have a bachelor's degree in mathematics, or in a physical, biological or social science. Two years of calculus and one quarter of linear algebra is required for the degree — more is always helpful. Experience with some programming and statistics or biostatistics, as well as some experience with a statistics computer package is recommended.

    Admissions Process

    Visit the application guide to learn about our admissions process. 

    Applications Guide
Please note:
  • This information is intended as an overview, and should be used as a guide only. Requirements, course offerings and other elements may change, and this overview may not list all details of the program. 

  • Admission requirements listed are departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

  • Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

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