Biostatistics is the science of transforming biological data into knowledge about biological processes. Common applications include clinical medicine, epidemiologic studies, biological laboratory and field research, genetics, environmental health, health services, ecology, fisheries and wildlife biology, agriculture, and forestry. Biostatisticians participate in this process at every level including design of collaborative research studies, conduct and analysis of those studies, oversight and regulation of scientific research, participation on governmental advisory or policymaking boards, training researchers in good statistical practice, and development of new statistical theory and methods useful in the analysis of biological data.
At the University of Washington, the Department of Biostatistics provides training in biostatistics leading to Master of Science, Master of Public Health, and Ph.D. degrees. Particular emphasis is placed on those areas of biostatistics related to public health, medicine, genetics, and general biology. The Center for Quantitative Science (undergraduate) and the Interdisciplinary Program in Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management direct academic programs for students interested in biostatistics and mathematical biology problems related to ecology, wildlife, fisheries, forestry, and resource management. Both the Department of Biostatistics and the Interdisciplinary Program in Quantitative Ecology and Resource Management interact extensively with the graduate programs in statistics administered by the Department of Statistics. In particular, most courses and qualifying examinations in the Biostatistics graduate programs are joint with the Department of Statistics.
The Department of Biostatistics is proud of its 560 alumni who hold positions in a wide range of fields including academia, research, government and private industry.
Breakdown of where students go after graduation:
- Academia (63%Ph.D., 35%MS)
- Research institutes (24%Ph.D., 36%MS)
- Government (6%Ph.D., 7%MS)
- Private industry (5%Ph.D., 11%MS)
Graduates of the programs in biostatistics at the University of Washington take leadership roles in academia, research institutes, government, and industry. Of recent graduates, a number of those with Ph.D.s took positions in academic biostatistics departments, with the remaining graduates taking positions as research faculty at universities or private research institutes, as biostatisticians with the government (e.g., National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration), or biostatisticians in industry (e.g., pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or medical devices). Students graduating with Masters degrees are similarly primarily employed in university research and industry.