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Applied Biostatistics Certificate

This online certificate program is designed for working biostatisticians, such as data managers and analysts, who are not formally trained and want to improve their technical, mathematical and computational skills.

The program will enhance your understanding of database management and investigation, alert you to key variables and trends, help you judge the statistical significance, and improve your overall data evaluation and programming skills. You’ll learn key aspects of study design, implementation and analysis for both observational and clinical studies.

This certificate program focuses on biostatistical methods and their application in medicine, public health and environmetrics. The University of Minnesota is unique in having a substantial number of experienced biostatisticians conducting both methodological and applied research, much of it focused on the clinical research performed within the Academic Health Center, as well as externally through the Mayo Clinic and local medical device firms.

Thirteen of the 15 credits are offered entirely online throughout the calendar year. The remaining two credits are offered one week during the May session at the Public Health Institute. Taking just one course per term, the Applied Biostatistics Certificate can be completed in just five terms, plus one week of attendance at the Public Health Institute.

Students will obtain a number of skills based on core competencies in biostatistics. Specific expectations include the ability to:

  • Understand core biostatistical methods for the design, analysis, and interpretation of categorical, ordinal and continuous data
  • Communicate quantitative results and associated statistical inferences clearly to non-statistical scientists
  • Collaborate in the design of research studies of human health and disease
  • Understand research study implementation, data collection and quality control
  • Understand good clinical practice in research studies
  • Program in two or more biostatistical software packages with intermediate skill

Required Courses (total 15 required credits)

PubH 6414 (3 credits) – Biostatistical Methods I*
PubH 6415 (3 credits) – Biostatistical Methods II*
PubH 6420 (1 credit) – Introduction to SAS Programming
PubH 6320 (3 credits) – Fundamentals of Epidemiology
PubH 7415 (3 credits) – Introduction to Clinical Trials
PubH 6400 (1 credit) – Biostatistical Methods in Translational and Clinical Research
PubH 6400 (1 credit) – Topics in Hierarchical Bayesian Analysis

Similar to the role of PubH 7415 (Introduction to Clinical Trials), these last two courses (6400 is a ‘topics’ catalog number and several courses may be listed under this same number. These courses are, indeed, two separate registrations) are intended as culminating courses that pull together much of the earlier curriculum in the context of real data settings of biomedical interest. As such, they should be taken near the end of the student’s program, and certainly after the basic biostatistical methods sequence (PubH 6414-15 or 6450-51).

However, if the student has sufficient relevant field experience, these courses may be taken earlier.

*The introductory biostatistical sequences are undergoing changes. If you took or are currently taking PubH 6414, your only opportunity to take the second course, PubH 6415, is this summer (online, 06/16/2014 – 08/08/2014). If you will not be able to fully complete the sequence, please contact the program to discuss options. Starting fall 2014, the new required sequence will be PubH 6450-51.

Sample Schedule (students may start any term)

PubH 6414 Biostatistical Methods I, 3 cr

PubH 6415 Biostatistical Methods II, 3 cr (prereq: PubH 6414)

PubH 6420 Introduction to SAS Programming, 1 cr

Year two

PubH 7415 Introduction to Clinical Trials, 3 cr

PubH 6320 Fundamentals of Epidemiology, 3 cr

May session – Public Health Institute
PubH 6400 Biostatistical Methods in Translational and Clinical Research, 1 cr
PubH 6400 Topics in Hierarchical Bayesian Analysis, 1 cr

Prerequisites include a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of relevant experience or GRE scores. A GPA of a 3.0 or better is preferred. Applications are reviewed holistically.

Applicants are required to submit the following:

  • Proof of previous bachelor’s degree
  • Statement of purpose and objectives – an essay describing the applicant’s past education, experience and current professional career objectives. Applicants are encouraged to comment on any or all of the following: plans to use the education and training; the needs and/or challenges perceived as important in the candidate’s field of study; and any personal qualities and skills the candidate believes will lead to success in the program.
  • Resume or CV
  • Official transcripts from universities attended, including any previous study at the University of Minnesota
  • One letter of recommendation from a person qualified to assess the candidate’s academic work and clinical or professional experiences

For international students:

  • World Education Services (WES) evaluation of foreign academic credentials
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS score

The field of statistics explores learning from large, complex data sets, and measuring and communicating the associated uncertainty in what they imply. Biostatistics is the application of statistical techniques to problems in biology and biomedicine.

With the explosion in “big data” arising from genomics studies, web-based social interactions, and other clinical and observational sources, the field of biostatistics is becoming more and more critical to sensible, well-informed decision-making. At present, however, the nation’s supply of well-trained biostatisticians is not keeping up with demand.

As one example, the fields of clinical and translational research are expanding, driven by changing disease patterns and emerging therapeutic approaches from the laboratory, clinical and population sciences. But there are growing concerns about the quality and safety of research in humans, as evidenced by public scandals and increasing regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The result is an increasing demand for well-trained individuals who bring specific, technical biostatistical knowledge to the design, implementation and interpretation of clinical and observational research studies.

The online Applied Biostatistics Certificate is designed for persons currently working as data managers or analysts in government, industry or academia, but who lack formal training in biostatistical methods for organizing and analyzing large clinical and observational databases.

  • Why should I get an Applied Biostatistics Certificate?
    If you work with large or complex biomedical datasets, but have not had any formal training in applied biostatistical methods, our certificate will train you to properly analyze such data; to draw conclusions about key variables of interest and quantify their uncertainty; to design, conduct and analyze your own clinical and observational studies; to use key biostatistical software packages; and to communicate your results to non-statistical colleagues.
  • Who is eligible for the program?
    The certificate is designed for functioning biostatisticians or people with similar jobs who may be employed by government agencies or private drug and biomedical companies. You must have at least three years of relevant experience and an undergraduate degree.
  • How long does the certificate take?
    The courses are offered online or in-class and the five courses may be completed in five terms by attending part time and taking one course per term. The certificate must be completed within four years of matriculation.
  • Can I transfer credits from the certificate to a degree program at the School of Public Health?

    Students are allowed to transfer up to three credits from other biostatistics programs toward their certificate, subject to the approval of the admissions committee.

    Students who complete the certificate and who are interested in a biostatistics master’s degree may use up to six credits toward a subsequent MS or MPH. Specifically, students who have successfully completed the certificate program will have the health sciences elective (3 credits) and one biostatistics elective (3 credits) waived in their biostatistics MS or MPH programs under the following criteria:

    • Courses are completed for graduate credit
    • A grade of B or higher must be achieved
    • Certificate courses were completed within the five years prior to application to a graduate program
  • Is financial aid available?
    No. Students accepted to the Applied Biostatistics Certificate are not eligible to apply for federal financial aid.
  • How must does the certificate cost?
    The whole certificate will cost approximately $14,500, including tuition, fees and books. The estimated cost does not include the mandatory health insurance, which can be waived if you already have qualifying coverage.
  • Are scholarships available?
    Limited scholarship money has been identified for certificate students. No separate application is required, but you may indicate in your statement or via email that you would like to be considered.
  • Once my application is complete, how soon can I expect to hear from the School of Public Health?
    It can take the admission committee two to four weeks to review your application. You will hear from the School of Public Health via email.

Certificate Contacts

Certificate Coordinators
Kate Hanson and
Katy Korchik
Program Director
Brad Carlin
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