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The Master of Science in Biostatistics (MS), Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) are all research-based degrees. Each degree program provides a broad overview of foundational public health knowledge, but the majority of coursework focuses on biostatistics, epidemiology, and other research methods common in public health (in addition to discipline-specific coursework for doctoral degrees). Students conduct mentored research as part of their degree requirements and prepare a thesis or dissertation. Students earning these degrees have the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to design, execute, and analyze public health research, helping to prepare them to continue in academic or other research-intensive settings.

  • The MSPH is an academic, research-oriented degree (in contrast to the MPH, which is geared toward practice). Individuals interested in pursuing further education often earn an MSPH to build the skills necessary to conduct independent research at the doctoral level. It is ideal for individuals who intend to remain in academic research settings.

    All MSPH degree programs at UAB begin with a brief overview of the profession and science of public health and factors related to human health. The majority of the coursework focuses on the application of biostatistics, epidemiology, and other research methods to public health issues; specific coursework varies by concentration. All MSPH students engage in mentored research resulting in the development and presentation of a Master’s thesis or project, which may take the form of a publishable scientific manuscript.

    Following completion of the MSPH degree, many individuals continue working in academic research settings as research assistants/associates, analysts, program coordinators, etc. Career paths outside academia include epidemiologists with health departments, research analysts with managed care organizations, coordinators of clinical trials in the pharmaceutical industry, and data analysts in a wide range of settings.

  • The MS degree in the UAB School of Public Health is offered through the Department of Biostatistics. This rigorous, research-based degree requires strong preparation in mathematics, including three semesters of calculus and a course in linear algebra. Students in the MS program are exposed to both theory and application in biostatistics, as well as advanced statistical computing. Students sit for a two-part qualifying examination covering both theory and applied statistics; they also complete a mentored research project which must be presented both orally to the Department and in writing.

    Some students pursue additional training in a Biostatistics doctoral program following completion of the MS degree, while others begin careers as research-oriented scientists performing high-level data management and statistical analysis in academic, governmental, or industry settings.

  • The UAB School of Public Health offers the PhD in a range of disciplines to help prepare students for high-level careers in academia, government, and industry. For students without a public health background, all degree program begins with a brief overview of the profession and science of public health and factors related to human health. Students take advanced coursework in their chosen discipline, along with additional training in research methods. Students also sit for comprehensive exams to demonstrate their mastery of the discipline. The culmination of the degree is the preparation and defense of a dissertation reflecting independent research of publishable quality.

Degrees Offered

MSPH: Concentration in Applied Epidemiology


MSPH: Concentration in Biostatistics


MSPH: Concentration in Environmental & Occupational Health Science


MSPH: Concentration in Industrial Hygiene


MSPH: Concentration in Outcomes Research


MD/MSPH: Public Health/Medicine


MS: Biostatistics


PhD: Biostatistics


PhD: Environmental Health Sciences


PhD: Epidemiology


PhD: Health Behavior


Professional Licensure and Certifications

Certification in public health is a voluntary credential that can help to distinguish a public health professional from their peers in the public health sector. The Certified in Public Health (CPH) credential is administered by the National Board of Public Health Examiners (www.nbphe.org). Specific licensure requirements vary from state to state, and among territories. Please visit the Professional Licensure and Certification General Disclosures webpage for more information on state and territories requirements.

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