Master of Science (MS) Degree Programs 2015-16

The Department of Biostatistics offers an Master of Science degree in biostatistics. This program provides a balance between theory and application, the perspective being the role of statistics and modeling in scientific research.  The objective is to produce research-oriented scientists who can advance statistical and modeling theory and can interact effectively with scientists in other disciplines to advance knowledge in those fields.  For admission to the MS program, a student's undergraduate curriculum must include a 3-semester sequence of calculus or equivalent, linear matrix algebra, and proficiency in computing.  It is preferred that students have additional advanced mathematics courses, e.g., differential equations, advanced calculus including special functions, and complex analysis. Some background in the natural sciences would be helpful.  Interested students should contact the department of Biostatistics.

MS in Public Health Curriculum


MS Comprehensive Exam

Upon completion of the first year-and-a-half of course work, the candidate is given a written examination consisting of two parts - Applied Statistics and Theory of Statistics. The exam will test the students on their understanding and comprehension of the foundation of the theory and applications of statistics, and will generally cover materials from BST 621, 622, 623, 626, 631, 632 and 655. This will be a standard departmental exam, administered by the GPC. The criteria for 13 evaluation are the candidate’s understanding and competency in basic principles and foundations of biostatistics, understanding of the appropriate use and interpretation of statistical methods, and ability to succinctly express in writing the results of the problems. This examination is offered during the first half of January. At first attempt, a student must take both parts at the same time. For those years during which at least one student needs to take the exam a second time, the exam may be offered in July at the discretion of the GPC. Students must be registered for at least 3 semester hours of graduate work during the semester in which the comprehensive examination is given.

The student must pass each part of the exam at the Masters level. If a student fails either part of the exam, one additional chance will be given to retake the part of the exam that was failed. A student who fails the qualifying exam more than once will be dismissed from the MS program. The student has the opportunity to appeal the decision of his/her dismissal. The Graduate School policies on dismissal from the program and appeal of dismissal are described in detail in the UAB Student Handbook.

Please note that receipt of an “A” in all individual courses may not constitute adequate preparation for this exam. The purpose of the qualifying exam is to test your ability to connect the information across courses, to choose appropriate analysis methods, and to display a working knowledge of the tools used in probability and inference.


Masters Project

Immediately after passing the MS Comprehensive examination, the student must form a research project committee consisting of at least 3 members, chaired by the research advisor. Upon successful completion of the project, the student must submit a final write-up of the research and present their work orally in a departmental seminar. It is strongly suggested that the write-up is such that it may lead to an article submitted for publication in the subject matter area. The date and time of the oral presentation will be advertised in the Ryals Building.

All students must be registered for a minimum of 3 credit hours of Non-Thesis Research (BST 698) during the semester in which you intend to graduate. When you are nearing completion of your research, you must file an Application for Degree with the Graduate School by the appropriate date during the semester in which you expect to graduate.