Applied Biostatistics Certificate

This online certificate program is designed for working biostatisticians, such as data managers and analysts, who are not formally trained and want to improve their technical, mathematical, and computational skills.

The program will enhance your understanding of database management and investigation, alert you to key variables and trends, help you judge the statistical significance, and improve your overall data evaluation and programming skills. You’ll learn key aspects of study design, implementation, and analysis for both observational and clinical studies.

Required Courses (total 15 required credits)

  • PubH 6450 (4 credits) – Biostatistics I * (offered online or in-person)
  • PubH 6451 (4 credits) – Biostatistics II * (offered online or in-person)
  • PubH 6320 (3 credits) – Fundamentals of Epidemiology (offered online or in-person)
  • PubH 7415 (3 credits) – Introduction to Clinical Trials (offered online only)
  • PubH 6431 (1 credit) – Topics in Hierarchical Bayesian Analysis (offered in-person only) OR
    PubH 6432 (1 credit) – Biostatistical Methods in Translational and Clinical Research (offered in-person only)

Similar to the role of PubH 7415 (Introduction to Clinical Trials), the last two courses (PubH 6431 and 6432) are intended as culminating courses that pull together much of the earlier curriculum in the context of real data settings of biomedical interest. As such, they should be taken near the end of the student’s program, and certainly after the basic biostatistical methods sequence (PubH 6450-51). PubH 6431 (even years) and PubH 6432 (odd years) are offered during a single week at the Public Health Institute.

However, if the student has sufficient relevant field experience, these courses may be taken earlier.

*The introductory biostatistical sequences have changed. If you took PubH 6414-15 prior to fall 2014 and would like to use this class toward certificate requirements, please contact the program coordinator.

**Students admitted prior to Fall 2014 are held to slightly different requirements. Please contact the program coordinator with any questions.

Sample Schedule (students may start any term)

Year One

PubH 6450 Biostatistics I, 4 cr

PubH 6451 Biostatistics II, 4 cr

Year Two

PubH 7415 Introduction to Clinical Trials, 3 cr

PubH 6320 Fundamentals of Epidemiology, 3 cr

May session – Public Health Institute
PubH 6431 Topics in Hierarchical Bayesian Analysis, 1 cr
PubH 6432 Biostatistical Methods in Translational and Clinical Research, 1 cr

Prerequisites include a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of relevant experience or GRE scores. A GPA of a 3.0 or better is preferred. Applications are reviewed holistically.

Students are admitted three times per year. Deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall: August 1
  • Spring: December 1
  • Summer: April 1

Instructions about how to apply can be found on our admissions page.

The field of statistics explores learning from large, complex data sets, and measuring and communicating the associated uncertainty in what they imply. Biostatistics is the application of statistical techniques to problems in biology and biomedicine.

With the explosion in “big data” arising from genomics studies, web-based social interactions, and other clinical and observational sources, the field of biostatistics is becoming more and more critical to sensible, well-informed decision-making. At present, however, the nation’s supply of well-trained biostatisticians is not keeping up with demand.

As one example, the fields of clinical and translational research are expanding, driven by changing disease patterns and emerging therapeutic approaches from the laboratory, clinical and population sciences. But there are growing concerns about the quality and safety of research in humans, as evidenced by public scandals and increasing regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The result is an increasing demand for well-trained individuals who bring specific, technical biostatistical knowledge to the design, implementation and interpretation of clinical and observational research studies.

The online Applied Biostatistics Certificate is designed for persons currently working as data managers or analysts in government, industry or academia, but who lack formal training in biostatistical methods for organizing and analyzing large clinical and observational databases.

Why should I get an Applied Biostatistics Certificate?
If you work with large or complex biomedical datasets, but have not had any formal training in applied biostatistical methods, our certificate will train you to properly analyze such data; to draw conclusions about key variables of interest and quantify their uncertainty; to design, conduct and analyze your own clinical and observational studies; to use key biostatistical software packages; and to communicate your results to non-statistical colleagues.

Who is eligible for the program?
The certificate is designed for functioning biostatisticians or people with similar jobs who may be employed by government agencies or private drug and biomedical companies. You must have at least three years of relevant experience and an undergraduate degree.

How long does the certificate take?
The courses are offered online or in-class and the five courses may be completed in five terms by attending part time and taking one course per term. The certificate must be completed within four years of matriculation.

Can I transfer credits from the certificate to a degree program at the School of Public Health?
Students are allowed to transfer up to three credits from other biostatistics programs toward their certificate, subject to the approval of the admissions committee.

Students who complete the certificate and who are interested in a biostatistics master’s degree may use up to six credits toward a subsequent MS or MPH. Specifically, students who have successfully completed the certificate program will have the health sciences elective (3 credits) and one biostatistics elective (3 credits) waived in their biostatistics MS or MPH programs under the following criteria:

  • Courses are completed for graduate credit
  • A grade of B or higher must be achieved
  • Certificate courses were completed within the five years prior to application to a graduate program

Can I transfer credits into the certificate program?
The School of Public Health has policies in place governing transfer credit. If you wish to apply credits you have earned as a non-degree seeking student, from another institution, or from another degree program at the University of Minnesota, please contact the program staff for detailed information.  Credits may only be transferred if they appear on a graduate level transcript, were taken within the last 5 years, and have a grade of B or better. In most circumstances, you can transfer in only up to 40% of your program credits (which translates into approximately 6 credits) that were taken prior to formal admission to the certificate. Some exceptions apply. Certificates are not awarded retroactively.

What if I’m already a student in the School of Public Health? Do I still need to apply?
Yes. All prospective students, regardless of their current status in the School of Public Health,  must apply and be admitted to the program before completing all program requirements if they wish to earn a certificate. Certificates are not awarded retroactively.

Is financial aid available?
No. Students accepted to the Applied Biostatistics Certificate are not eligible to apply for federal financial aid.

How must does the certificate cost?
The School of Public Health charges tuition on a per credit basis. Currently (2015-2016) the tuition rate is $910 per credit. At this rate, the whole certificate will cost approximately $15,000, including tuition, fees, and books.

Are scholarships available?
There are no current scholarship opportunities within the School of Public Health. Most students in the program finance their education through their employer’s education benefits, outside scholarships, and personal resources.

Once my application is complete, how soon can I expect to hear from the School of Public Health?
It can take the admission committee two to four weeks to review your application. You will hear from the School of Public Health via email.

Application Deadline

Spring (January) Term: December 1
Summer Term: April 1
Fall Term: August 1

Certificate Coordinator
Megan Schlick

Program Director
Brad Carlin