Biostatistics Core Requirements

Options for fulfilling the biostatistics core requirement include satisfactory completion of one of the following three options:

  • Option 1: The student will pass the Biostatistics Exemption Exam.
  • Option 2: The student will complete either Biostatistics 501 or 521 depending upon his/her preparation, offered only in the fall term.
  • Option 3: The student will complete both Biostatistics 650 and 651.

Most SPH students select option 2. Biostatistics Department students select option 3. Health Management & Policy students choose between options 1 and 2.

For those students in departments that require more than one course in biostatistics, completion of one of the options above will satisfy the prerequisite for entry into the second-level course, Biostatistics 502 or 522, which is offered only in the winter term.

Choosing Between Biostatistics 501 and 521

Biostatistics 501 and 521 are both introductory courses for non-majors that assume no prior course work in biostatistics or statistics. Either course satisfies the school-wide requirement for biostatistics; however, some departments require 521 instead of 501. While both courses cover the same statistical topics and methods, 521 assumes stronger preparation in mathematics and goes into greater depth in statistics. The prerequisite for 501 is elementary (high school) algebra. Students taking 521 need to have had one term of calculus and be comfortable with function notation and algebra. The stronger mathematical prerequisite for 521 allows time for more detailed study. Students who have satisfied the calculus prerequisite are strongly encouraged to enroll in 521. Biostatistics 501 and 521 are offered only in the fall term.