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University of Pittsburgh    
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
    
 
  May 20, 2022
 
2016-2017 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Biostatistics, MPH


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The MPH in biostatistics is a professional degree program that prepares students with a prior professional degree (physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians or health administrators) to understand and apply statistical methods to health problems in their field. The MPH degree emphasizes the appropriate application of statistical methods, with less emphasis on statistical theory as compared to the MS degree.

Program Objectives

Students successfully completing the MPH Program in Biostatistics will be able to:

  • Quantitatively address health problems by appropriate statistical design
  • Communicate the results of biostatistical analyses to individuals with varying degrees of statistical knowledge
  • Demonstrate understanding of basic statistical applications

All MPH graduates also achieve the core and cross-cutting competencies for Pitt Public Health MPH students.

General Requirements for Master’s Degrees


For an overview of University-wide regulations for master’s students, see Regulations Pertaining to Master’s Degrees .

Requirements


Coursework


A minimum of 44 credits are required.

MPH Comprehensive Examination


MPH students must pass a written comprehensive examination that is given annually at the end of the first year of study in early May. The MPH comprehensive examination consists of an applied methods short answer problem solving section. The examination is a proctored closed book exam.

Eligible students who fail the examination on the first attempt will be permitted to take the examination a second time during the summer. The summer examination is only for eligible first-year students who did not pass the examination on the first attempt in order not to delay graduation or decisions about continuation in the program. Eligible students who fail the examination on the first attempt may also choose to wait until the following May to retake the exam. Students who do not pass the examination on the second attempt will be released from the MPH Program in accordance with the Pitt Public Health Probation and Dismissal Guidelines.

Once a student passes the preliminary examination, the student may begin working on his/her essay or thesis. Students should not begin essay or thesis work before they pass the comprehensive examination.

Eligibility

A student is eligible to take the comprehensive examination if the student:

  • is enrolled in the Department of Biostatistics MPH Program with good standing (3.00 QPA or greater)
  • did not fail the comprehensive examination more than once
  • completed the required courses (listed below) with a B or better, or equivalent coursework which the student has obtained transfer credits or exemption for

Practicum Requirements


All MPH students are required to complete a practicum of at least 200 hours. The practicum is a structured and educationally supervised practice experience providing students an opportunity to learn how biostatistics is applied in a public health setting. The practicum site choice is based upon recommendations by the faculty advisor and the career goals of the student. MPH students are encouraged to visit the Pitt Public Health MPH Practicum/Internship Opportunities before meeting with their faculty advisor to discuss practicum options.

MPH students must submit a practicum proposal to the Biostatistics MS/MPH Program Committee for their review and approval prior to the start of the practicum. The practicum proposal must include a detailed description of the proposed work to be performed during the practicum period, the institution or site for the internship along with documentation of who will precept the experience on site. The proposal should have signed approval from the primary advisor and the practicum preceptor.

Together with the Biostatistics MS/MPH Program Committee, the primary advisor and practicum preceptor will oversee the satisfactory completion of the practicum and MPH essay requirement.

MPH Essay


MPH students are required to complete an MPH essay or master’s thesis. An MPH student can begin work on his/her essay only after successful completion of the MPH Comprehensive Examination requirement. MPH students must register for a minimum of two Special Studies (BIOST 2021) credits and meet the MPH essay requirement.

MPH students who choose the essay option are required to write an MPH essay detailing their practicum experience. The MPH essay must be in accord with specifications stipulated in the Format Instructions for Pitt Public Health Essays, Theses, and Dissertations.

Before completion of the MPH practicum, the student’s academic advisor proposes for the approval of the Department Chair and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, an MPH essay committee.

The MPH essay committee will judge the adequacy of the MPH essay. Successful completion of the MPH essay requires unanimous agreement by the MPH essay committee.

MPH Thesis


MPH students have the option to complete a master’s thesis in place of the MPH essay requirement. An MPH student can begin work on his/her thesis only after successful completion of the MPH Comprehensive Examination requirement. MPH students must register for a minimum of two Special Studies (BIOST 2021 ) credits and meet the master’s thesis requirement.

MPH students who choose the thesis option are required to write and defend a master’s thesis. The master’s thesis must be in accord with specifications stipulated in the Format Guidelines for Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Preparation at the University of Pittsburgh.

Before the student’s thesis defense, the student’s thesis advisor proposes for the approval of the Department Chair and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, a master’s thesis committee.

The MPH thesis committee will judge the adequacy of the master’s thesis by an open oral examination covering the subject of the thesis. Successful completion of the master’s thesis requires unanimous agreement by the MPH thesis committee.

Graduation


All MPH students must register for at least one credit during the term in which they intend to graduate.

Please visit the Pitt Public Health Graduation page for detailed information on applying for graduation and graduation requirements.

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