Many issues in the health, medical, and biological sciences are addressed by collecting and exploring relevant data. The development and application of techniques to better understand such data is the fundamental concern of the Group in Biostatistics. The program offers training in theory of statistics and biostatistics, the computer implementation of analytic methods, and opportunities to use this knowledge in areas of biological/medical research. The curriculum is taught principally by members of the Division of Biostatistics (School of Public Health) and the Department of Statistics (College of Letters & Science) and provides a wide range of ideas and approaches to the analysis of data.

Established in 1955, the Graduate Group in Biostatistics curriculum offers instruction in statistical theory and computing, as well as opportunities to rigorously apply this knowledge in biological and medical research. The degree programs offered (listed below) are appropriate for students who have either a strong mathematical and statistical background with a focus in the biomedical sciences, or degrees in the biological sciences with a focus in mathematics and statistics. (The MA degree can be obtained under Plan I or Plan II. The PhD dissertation is administered according to Plan B.)

Master of Arts (MA)

The Masters of Arts Degree in Biostatistics is completed in 4 semesters. Candidates for this degree are expected to earn 48 units with courses in biostatistics, statistics, public health, and biology. Students pursuing the MA degree in Biostatistics will be expected, upon completion of the program, to be well-versed in the following areas:

  • Understand the foundations of statistical inference, e.g., maximum likelihood estimation, regression.

  • Have grounding in theoretical framework and ability to apply existing estimators in following categories:

    • Computational statistics

    • Multivariate analysis

    • Categorical data analysis

    • Survival analysis

    • Longitudinal data analysis

    • Causal inference

    • Clinical trials

    • Statistical genomics

    • Statistical computing

  • Have fluency in statistical programming languages for both analysis using classic methods and implementation of novel methods.

  • Identify and apply sound and pertinent methods to address statistical inference questions in biological, public health, and medical research.

  • Effectively communicate research findings, orally and in writing.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

All Biostatistics PhD students are required to hold a master's degree in Biostatistics or a related field. The PhD degree requires 4-6 semesters of course work in biostatistics, statistics, and at least one other subject area (e.g., biology, environmental health, epidemiology). There are no unit or course requirements for the PhD, so a program of courses appropriate to a student's background and interests may be developed. Courses cover traditional topics as well as recent advances in biostatistics and in statistics. Those completing the PhD will have acquired a deep knowledge and understanding of these subject areas. Since graduates with doctorates often assume academic careers in research and teaching, a high degree of mastery in research design, theory, methodology, and execution is expected as well as the ability to communicate and present research findings and area of expertise in a clear, understandable manner.

Many doctoral graduates accept faculty positions in schools of public health, medicine, and statistics and/or math departments at colleges and universities, both in the United States and abroad. Some graduates take research positions, including with pharmaceutical companies, hospital research units, non-profits, and within the tech sector.

Biostatistics Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with Designated Emphasis (DE)

Students enrolled in the UC Berkeley Biostatistics doctoral (PhD) program are eligible to apply for interdisciplinary study in a Designated Emphasis (DE), which we refer to as the Associated Programs. At UC Berkeley, acquiring a DE is like earning a "minor" with a PhD degree. Applications for Designated Emphasis are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year. However, students must apply prior to taking the qualifying exam and are strongly encouraged to begin the application process early in the third semester of graduate study. To be accepted to a Designated Emphasis, you must be a PhD candidate in one of the Associated Programs (e.g., Biostatistics). The two DE programs offered in biostatistics are:

The goal of the DE-CGB program is to train a new generation of computational biology researchers by enhancing and facilitating interactions between faculty, postdoctoral scholars and students in the Associated Programs through a flexible and integrated research and teaching environment which transcends traditional departmental boundaries. Upon successful completion of all requirements and dissertation, your transcript and diploma will read, "PhD in Biostatistics with a Designated Emphasis in Computational & Genomic Biology."

The DE in Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) promises to bring a new paradigm to interdisciplinary research and education. The team-oriented approach provides our students with a solid foundation in the different facets of genomic research and ensuing competitive edge for the most desirable jobs in academia and industry, which increasingly require interdisciplinary training by combining high-performance computing, mathematical modeling, scientific and engineering theory, and analysis of large scale databases of observations. Upon successful completion of all requirements and dissertation, your transcript and diploma will read, "PhD in Biostatistics with a Designated Emphasis in Computational Science and Engineering."