Master of Science in Biostatistics

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  • Course description
    The Department of Biostatistics at Virginia Commonwealth University offers the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Biostatistics. It is part of the School of Medicine on the university’s MCV Campus.

    M.S. candidates must complete at least 33 semester credit hours of courses worth 3 or more credits. In addition to the first year sequence, M.S. candidates must take either BIOS 625, BIOS 631 or BIOS 647; a 600 level BIOS course; and one BIOS or STAT course.

    While committed to excellence in biostatistical research and in its graduate program, the department also collaborates in biomedical research with other departments on the MCV Campus. Its faculty members are nationally recognized for their biostatistical work in the areas of clinical trials, pharmacology and toxicology. The department continues to emphasize scholarship and graduate education, and its graduates are in demand for jobs throughout the country in government, academia and the private sector.
    The program is committed to diversifying the racial and ethnic composition of people who become biostatisticians. Individuals from all racial or cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

    The Department of Biostatistics typically has 16 to 18 full-time students enrolled in its graduate program. The majority of these students are Ph.D. candidates. Additionally, several Ph.D. and M.S. candidates study in the department on a part-time basis.
    Most students hold a bachelor's degree in mathematics or statistics. Some students, however, have bachelor's degrees in chemistry, biology or other sciences. Because of more stringent admission requirements implemented by the department, care is taken to advise students in planning remedial course work. For example, students with gaps in their mathematical background are identified and directed to enroll in courses that will provide an appropriate basis for successful completion of the graduate program. This guidance is crucial given the varied backgrounds of biostatistics students.

    Apart from the required course work, full-time graduate students schedule about 15 hours per week of additional training as Statistical Consultants in the Biostatistical Consulting Lab, Research Assistants or Teaching Assistants. As Statistical Consultants, students receive first-hand experience in the statistical design and analysis of experiments conducted by biomedical researchers at VCU. Research Assistants generally work with one research project or one clinical department at VCU, again gaining experience in data management, research design and analysis. Teaching Assistants are expected to grade course work for one graduate-level class and to provide office hours for students in that class.

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