Dec 04, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Statistics, Biostatistics, M.S.

This professional science master’s degree in biostatistics provides formal training in applied statistical methods commonly used in biomedical, bioinformatics, environmental, and health-related fields. It emphasizes solving real-world problems that influence health by focusing on up-to-date statistical methodologies and their implementation with strong statistical programming capability. Areas of study include biostatistical study designs, modeling, and reporting of rigorous statistical results for scientific decision making. Statistical areas of study include clinical trials, experimental design, categorical and longitudinal data analysis, and survival analysis. Internship, technical writing, and management skills are required components of the program. Graduates ideally will find positions in professional settings such as health care agencies, governmental agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry.

Program Requirements

Minimum number of credits required for the degree: 30.

In addition to specific track requirements, all degree students will be subject to the following requirements.

  • For students within the accelerated degree pathway, at most two pre-approved relevant graduate courses may be used for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. At least 18 credit hours should be taken by students after full matriculation.
  • All courses applied toward the graduate degree must be completed within six years of enrollment in the graduate program with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Otherwise, additional coursework must be taken to fulfill program requirements.
  • Program policies allow a student to earn up to 3 graduate independent-study credits under the supervision of a faculty member associated with the graduate program. With approval of the graduate committee, a student may transfer a maximum of 6 credit hours for graduate work completed at other institutions or in other graduate programs at USM, including those listed in concentrations.
  • A student must register for at least one course every semester to maintain continuous enrollment. Students who do not maintain continuous enrollment will be dropped from the program and will have to reapply for admission to continue. Students who anticipate being unable to take classes may apply in writing for a fixed-term leave of absence.
  • A student whose grade point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. In this case a student will be allowed 12 semester hours to raise their GPA to, or above, the 3.0 minimum by taking only graduate-level courses. Students unsuccessful in raising their GPA during a probationary period may be dismissed from the program.

Master’s Thesis Project Procedure

Students can earn up to 6 credits by completing a master’s thesis or project. If a student chooses to do a master’s thesis or project, he/she must select one of the following:

  • Option I: Master’s Thesis. The student must write a master’s thesis ( STA 590 /OPR 590 ).
  • Option II: Master’s Project. The student must complete a master’s project (STA 590 /OPR 590 ).

Once an option has been selected, the student with his/her advisor must submit a proposal to the Graduate Committee for approval. The thesis or project must be approved by the Graduate Committee in advance.

Once the thesis or project topic has been approved by the Graduate Committee, the student must select a Thesis/Project Committee in consultation with his/her advisor. The Thesis/Project Committee will consist of at least three members, including the advisor. At most, one member of the Thesis/Project Committee may be from outside the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The Graduate Committee will approve the Thesis/Project Committee.

Although thesis or project work will be done under the direct supervision of the advisor, the student is expected to keep all committee members apprised of progress. Once the thesis or project is completed, the student will produce a document describing his/her work. This document must adhere to the format specified by the Graduate Committee. Each Thesis/Project Committee member must be supplied with a copy of this document for review and approval at least two weeks before the intended date of defense.

Defense of the thesis or project should occur no less than sixty days after approval of the Thesis/Project Committee and will consist of an oral presentation of its content to the University community. The Master’s Thesis/Project requirement will be considered fulfilled when the thesis or project has been defended and the final document has been approved by all members of the Thesis/Project Committee.

The entire procedure for the fulfillment of the Master’s Project requirement is the same as in the Master’s Thesis, except that the project may be in the form of an expository paper in an area of mathematics, statistics, or operations research, or it may be a solution of a practical problem in one of these areas, possibly related to the student’s employment.

Financial Aid

A limited number of teaching assistantships and tuition waivers are available to students receiving regular graduate admission. Requests for an assistantship or tuition waiver should accompany the application.