Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics preparing for MS, PhD options
Biostatistics experts from a variety of industries are helping faculty and administrators from Indiana University's School of Public Health-Bloomington to shape two new advanced degree programs. Beginning in the next academic year, students will be able to pursue MS and PhD degrees in biostatistics from the school's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
"We plan to deliver a degree program that will become a preeminent destination for top students who are looking to obtain advanced degrees in biostatistics," says Executive Associate Dean Carrie Docherty.
To that end, the School of Public Health recently has added several accomplished scholars to its faculty within the last 12 months. "Our new hires are remarkable scholars in their own right, and they are also a remarkably diverse group," says IU School of Public Health Dean David B. Allison. "We are unrelentingly committed to promoting inclusion at every turn. We hope to attract outstanding students from all walks of life for this charter cohort and subsequent cohorts, too."
To further that goal, the School of Public Health and its biostatistics working group is also raising seed funds to assist with initial student recruitment to the new advanced degree programs. Both programs are being developed in accordance with Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) standards, and the Indiana Commission on Higher Education (ICHE) formally approved both degrees in early October.
To earn a Master of Science (MS) in Biostatistics, students will need to complete at least 36 graduate-level credits. Those pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biostatistics will need to complete a minimum of 90 graduate-level credits—as individually prescribed by their respective doctoral advisory committees.
"Those graduating with advanced degrees in biostatistics should expect to be well-versed in important public health research methods—methods involved in study design, data collection and analysis, and results interpretation," Allison notes. "The goal is to provide students with the analytic and strategic skills to become exceptional scholars and leaders in the public health workforce."
Across North America, student enrollment in advanced degree programs in statistics and biostatistics is up by roughly a factor of five. Overall demand for statisticians has increased markedly and its continued rise is expected. For instance, between now and 2026, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development estimates a 31 percent increase in jobs for statisticians. Nationwide, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a similar growth trajectory for statisticians through 2029.
"Besides helping to meet the demand for qualified biostatisticians, we think these new degree programs could also help the State of Indiana to improve public health outcomes through research, community education initiatives, and health policy," Allison adds. The School of Public Health-Bloomington is also forming an external working group for its planned PhD in Nutrition.