Biostatistics is a subidiscipline of statistics.  Biostatisticians are extremely important in defining the seriousness of a health problem and proving that treatments are effective.  Biostatisticians collaborate with researchers to design studies that may be used to predict the pattern of a specific disease, evaluate a new treatment, assess the safety and effectiveness of medications, and increase knowledge of environmental issues.  Biostatisticians participate in research design, data collection, choosing and implementing appropriate methodologies, and in the statistical interpretation of the results.


While in high school, general college preparation is recommended: Three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; three science courses including one biological science, one physical science, and one lab course; four English courses; two social studies courses; including one in U.S. History; and two years of foreign language.

Biostatisticians who work in public health generally must have a master’s or doctoral degree.  It is possible for biostatisticians to only obtain a bachelor’s degree; however, they must have the necessary health knowledge and experience to work in public health.  Course work includes statistics, calculus, epidemiology, demography, geographic information systems, and core public health courses.  Biostatisticians also must have a working knowledge of statistical computer applications and the ability and experience to create and design clinical studies.


Biostatisticians work for state and local health departments, other governmental health-related agencies, the private sector, and education and research institutions.


The need for biostatisticians will continue to increase as new diseases are identified and researched. Job growth is projected to increase by 14% from 2010-2020.


American Public Health Association
800 I street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 777-2742