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Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology: MPH

Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology

The Master of Public Health (MPH) program at USU trains students to be leaders in the field of Public Health. The MPH provides students with a strong educational and research foundation in biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health, sociobehavioral public health, and public health policy and administration. MPH graduates will be prepared for careers in health care professions, academic institutions, local, state, and federal health agencies, private industry, and non-profit organizations.  

The Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology Degree provides training in study design and data analysis for population-based health research to help investigators accurately assess and quantify population health outcomes, determine possible interventions and preventive measures, make data-based policy decisions, and monitor how necessary services or interventions achieve their desired goals. The curriculum provides competencies in the collection, management, and analysis of health-related surveys and experiments, with additional emphasis on the application of modern software and statistical methods for the large data sets in public health and biomedicine. Courses focus on the collaborative nature of health research, encouraging written and oral communication skills and interactive projects.


Students who complete a MPH degree in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology can seek out diverse positions in public health organizations, academic, and industry that offer opportunities for leadership roles, professional development, and higher pay and benefits. These organizations include:

  • Local, state, and federal health agencies
  • Colleges and universities
  • Health care organizations
  • Pharmaceutical, Medical, and Biotech industries

Potential positions for MPH graduates include:

  • Biostatistician
  • Epidemiologist
  • Preparation for medical school or doctoral studies in public health
  • Health care analyst
  • Clinical trials analyst
  • Management positions in government health agencies, academia, and industry

Admissions Requirements

  • Complete the online application
  • Pay the $55 application fee
  • Score at or above the 40th percentile on the GRE
  • Have a 3.0 or higher GPA on your last 60 semester or 90 quarter credits
  • Provide transcripts of all college/university credits
  • Provide three contacts for letters of recommendation
  • Include a statement of purpose in your online application
  • Prior correspondence with program faculty is encouraged

Master's Degree Plan Option(s)

The MPH requires a minimum of 42 semester credit hours including 15 credits of required core courses, common to all degree options, departmental required courses, elective courses, seminars, and credits for the Plan A, Plan B, or Professional degree options described below.

Plan A option: requires preparation of a thesis, and 6 to 15 thesis credits are required. The semester(s) during which a student registers for thesis credit should correspond as closely as possible to the semester(s) in which the thesis work is done and faculty supervision is provided. The thesis for a Plan A master's degree is to be a contribution to the field of knowledge based on the student's own research, or a treatment and presentation of known subject matter from a new perspective. The student and major professor should decide upon a problem or subject for the thesis study by the end of the student's second semester of graduate study.

Plan B option: requires the production of a scholarly paper and completion of 2-3 credits of thesis research. The Plan B paper is usually a review of literature based on inquiry, systematic research, and analytic critique of the findings. The summary and conclusions developed should enhance knowledge in the discipline. Plan B papers and reports should follow the same format specifications as theses and dissertations and are expected to reflect equivalent scholarship standards, even though they may be less intensive and not demand the originality of a Plan A thesis. Plan B papers are defended but are not reviewed by the Graduate School or signed by the dean of graduate studies. Plan B papers must be submitted to the Merrill-Cazier Library.

Professional degree: A master's degree option with no thesis or Plan B paper is available. Those seeking professional degrees must complete a supervised field or professional experience, write a capstone paper about it, and give a presentation on it to the department in which the student is enrolled. Students should contact their advisor early in their program to outline an acceptable project and to be certain that all degree requirements will be met and that all appropriate paperwork has been sent to the School of Graduate Studies.


Chris Corcoran, ScD, Harvard University
Professor, Department Head
Area: Epidemiology, biostatics, statistical genetics, categorical data, permutation methods
Office: ANSC 110
Phone: (435) 797-2810
Email: chris.corcoran@usu.edu


Daniel Coster, PhD, University of California - Berkeley
Professor
Area: Optimal design, computational statistics
Office: ANSC 219
Phone: (435) 797-2815
Email: dan.coster@usu.edu


Adele Cutler, PhD, University of California - Berkeley
Professor
Area: Statistical computing, statistics
Office: ANSC 308
Phone: (435) 797-2761
Email: adele.cutler@usu.edu


Richard Cutler, PhD, University of California - Berkeley
Professor
Area: Environmental and ecological statistics, experimental design
Office: ANSC 202
Phone: (435) 797-5363
Email: richard.cutler@usu.edu


Guifang Fu, PhD, Pennsylvania State University
Assistant Professor
Area: Biostatistics, statistical genetics, functional data analysis
Office: ANSC 312
Phone: 435-797-0749
Email: guifang.fu@usu.edu


John Stevens, PhD, Purdue University
Associate Professor, Assistant Department Head for Graduate Studies
Area: Bioinformatics, applied statistics, meta-analysis
Office: ANSC 224
Phone: (435) 797-2818
Email: john.r.stevens@usu.edu


Jurgen Symanzik, PhD, Iowa State University
Professor
Area: Dynamic statistical graphics, geographic information systems, virtual reality and statistics, web-based applications in statistics
Office: ANSC 313
Phone: (435) 797-0696
Email: juergen.symanzik@usu.edu


Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs

American Statistical Association: ASA is the largest organization of mathematicians in industry and academe. The ASA supports excellence in the development, application, and dissemination of statistical science through meetings, publications, membership services, education, accreditation, and advocacy. Its members serve in industry, government, and academia in more than 90 countries, advancing research and promoting sound statistical practice to inform public policy and improve human welfare.

Biometric Society: ENAR and WNAR (the eastern and western North American regions) is an association of statisticians working on problems in statistics with biological, agricultural, and medical applications. The society’s goal is to advance biological and life science through the development of quantitative theories and the application, development, and dissemination of effective mathematical and statistical techniques.

Institute of Mathematical Statistics: IMS is an organization mainly for research statisticians working in academe. The IMS is an international professional and scholarly society devoted to the development, dissemination, and application of statistics and probability. The institute currently has about 4,500 members in all parts of the world.

Interface Foundation: This is a society working on problems at the interface between statistics and computing sciences. Its members are computational scientists, statisticians, mathematicians, and individuals from related discipline areas interested in the interface between computing science and statistics. Interests include topics such as computational statistics, statistical software, exploratory data analysis, data mining, pattern recognition, scientific visualization, and related fields.

Journal Club: The purpose of the Journal Club is to introduce participants to mathematics and statistics education research by providing an opportunity to read, present, and discuss noteworthy papers in the field. The primary intended audiences are graduate students and faculty members interested in starting research on education topics, and needing familiarity with the education literature.