Requirements and Curriculum

The master’s degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework. Additional program requirements include passing two written master’s exams, participating in a practical training project, and preparing a written paper about the project which you will present and defend as a final oral exam.

View the Department of Biostatistics Graduate Student Handbook for complete information.


Required courses

All courses are 3 credit hours unless otherwise indicated. 

  • STA 503 Introduction to Applied Statistics I
  • STA 504 Introduction to Applied Statistics II
  • STA 521 Introduction to Theoretical Statistics I
  • STA 522 Introduction to Theoretical Statistics II Completion or demonstrated knowledge of the material in STA 511 Math Analysis for Statisticians is a prerequisite for this course.
  • STA 782 Departmental Seminar (0 credits) held weekly

Students are required to take the following Public Health Course:

  • CHB 550 Public Health and Population Well-Being


You must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours of electives coursework. Below are elective options offered by the Department of Biostatistics. All courses are 3 credit hours unless otherwise noted.

  • STA 509 Statistical Genetics
  • STA 511 Advanced Statistical Computing
  • STA 515 Distribution-Free Inference
  • STA 517 Categorical Data Analysis
  • STA 525 Statistics for Bioinformatics
  • STA 526 Design and Analysis of Clinical Experiments
  • STA 531 Theory and Methods of Sample Surveys
  • STA 536 Experimental Design and Analysis
  • STA 537 Sequential Analysis
  • STA 545 Data Mining I
  • STA 546 Data Mining II
  • STA 551 Stochastic Processes
  • STA 561 Longitudinal Data Analysis
  • STA 567 Bayesian Statistics
  • STA 571 Special Topics in Statistics
  • STA 575 Survival Analysis
  • STA 581 Multivariate Data Analysis

Any statistics course that satisfies a requirement of the department’s PhD program can be used as a master’s elective.

Note: If you select this option and later pursue a PhD, you will need to take an additional course to satisfy the master’s requirement retrospectively.

Master’s Exams

After your first year of coursework, you will complete two written exams to assess your understanding of statistical concepts:

  • An exam on applied courses, STA 503 Introduction to Applied Statistics I (formerly Regression Analysis)  and STA 504 Introduction to Applied Statistics II (formerly Analysis of Variance)
  • An exam on theoretical courses, STA 521 Introduction to Theoretical Statistics I and STA 522 Introduction to Theoretical Statistics II

A department examination committee will determine your performance. If you do not pass the applied exam, you will then take the final exams for STA 503 and STA 504. If you do not pass the theoretical exam, you will then take the final exams for STA 521 and STA 522.

The examination committee will again determine your performance. You must pass these follow-up exams to continue in the program.

Supervisory Committee

Throughout your program, you will rely on your supervisory committee for guidance and assistance. This committee, which must be appointed before your third semester of study, will:

  • Advise you
  • Check on qualifications and progress
  • Evaluate your written report and oral presentation satisfying the practical training requirement (see below)
  • Conduct the final oral exam (in a public forum)

When all core courses and the comprehensive exams have been successfully completed, the student selects a committee which consists of a major professor who is a member or associate member of the UB Graduate Faculty whose primary geographic appointment is in the Department of Biostatistics at UB or Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and two additional committee members who are also members or associate members of the UB Graduate Faculty. At least one of all committee members should have primary appointments from Department of Biostatistics at UB. The committee needs to be approved by Director of Graduate Studies.

Practical Training

An essential component of our program is the practical training experience which helps you apply your skills learned in the classroom to real data. This requirement—which must be for at least one semester in length—can be satisfied by working with a faculty member in a consulting or collaborative research setting or by participating in an internship that has been approved by your advisor and supervisory committee.

To complete this requirement, you will present and defend a detailed written report of your data analysis project to your supervisory committee for evaluation at a final oral exam in a public forum.

Thesis Option

Learn more about the requirements if you select the MA program with the thesis option.

Questions about program requirements or curriculum?

Contact Noreen McGuire, academic program coordinator, at or (716) 829-6142.