Master’s in Biostatistics (MA)

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 this data is the fundamental concern of our program. We offer training in statistics and biostatistics theory, computer implementation of analytic methods, and opportunities to use this knowledge in areas of biological and medical research.

Berkeley Public Health and UC Berkeley’s Department of Statistics, together with other UC Berkeley departments, offer a broad set of opportunities to satisfy the needs of individual students. In addition, the involvement of faculty from UCSF’s  Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology enriches our instructional and research activities.


Our master’s program is a two-year program consisting of 48 units with courses selected from biostatistics and statistics, public health, and biology.

The oral comprehensive examination is designed to test a candidate’s breadth of understanding and knowledge, as well as the ability to articulate and explain the basic concepts gained from the curriculum. Alternatively, a thesis may be submitted to fulfill requirements. However, the decision to submit a thesis rather than take the oral examination must be made early in the final semester of the program.

Students should take the following courses:

  • STAT 201A: Introduction to Probability at an Advanced Level
  • STAT 201B: Introduction to Statistics at an Advanced Level
  • PH C240A: Introduction to Modern Biostatistical Theory and Practice

Biostatistics Core Courses:

In addition to Statistics 201A and 201B and PH C240A, students are expected to take PH252D (Introduction to Causal Inference) and at least two other courses from the following list:

  • PH C240B: Biostatistical Methods: Survival Analysis and Causality
  • PH 252E: Advanced Topics in Causal Inference
  • PH 244: Big Data: A Public Health Perspective
  • PH C242C: Longitudinal Data Analysis
  • PH C240E/F: Statistical Genomics
  • PH 290.X: Targeted Learning in Biomedical Big Data


Previous coursework in calculus and linear algebra is suggested.

Common undergraduate majors for admitted applicants include biomedical and biological sciences, mathematics, and statistics.


Some students pursuing their master’s intend to go on for a doctoral degree, but many others work in research, statistical and analytical positions in federal agencies, state and local health departments, and health care delivery organizations.

Admissions Statistics

12% Admissions Ratio (17/141)
3.71 Average GPA of admitted applicants
85% Average Verbal GRE scores of admitted applicants
86% Average Quantitative GRE scores of admitted applicants

Biostatistics Faculty

Core Faculty

Clinical Faculty


Additional UC Berkeley Faculty

David R. Brillinger, Statistics

Perry De Valpine, Environmental Science, Policy and Management 

Haiyan Huang, Statistics

Priya Moorjani, Molecular and Cell Biology

Rasmus Nielsen, Integrative Biology

Elizabeth Purdom, Statistics 

Sophia Rabe-Hesketh, Graduate School of Education 

Bin Yu, Electrical Engineering Computer Science and Statistics