Applied Biostatistics Certificate

Biostatistics is the science of developing and applying statistical methods needed to tackle research problems in a variety of fields – especially public health and medicine.

The Applied Biostatistics (CG32) Certificate is designed to develop a basic understanding of standard statistical techniques, study design, data modeling and inference. This program is especially useful for clinical and translational researchers as well as public health practitioners.

Program Overview

The Applied Biostatistics (CG32) Certificate program is offered online in both synchronous and asynchronous formats, making it accessible to individuals from a variety of backgrounds, locations and experiences.

The program leverages existing course technology that allows courses to be taught in a synchronous fashion, in which the instructor presents a lecture "in-class," and the lecture (along with associated slides or other files) is broadcast online. The video or audio recording of the lecture is archived and available on the course for access at any time. 

All course notes, homework assignments and programs are available online, and the instructor is available in a number of formats (online chat, email, phone) to accommodate distance-learning students.

Students in the Applied Biostatistics Certificate program typically take one to two classes per semester.  Completion of the 15-credit-hour program usually takes two years.

Coursework begins with a traditional introduction to biostatistics in which basic principles of statistical inference and data analysis are introduced, along with a corresponding computing section that demonstrates analytic tools in a practical setting using statistical software. Later courses cover regression principles and more sophisticated data analysis techniques. All of these courses incorporate important epidemiologic concepts, and an introductory course in epidemiology is recommended early in the program. 

Finally, the capstone course allows students to utilize the knowledge gained in their coursework to analyze real data of their own in a comprehensive manner. Students work on a dedicated data analysis stemming from their own research or the work of others, culminating in a final research paper.  Although there are no formal class meetings, students complete the equivalent of 30 contact hours plus assignments by the end of the semester.  A formal report or manuscript, depending on the situation of the student, is required at the end of the semester.

Many students have a real data analysis in mind before or during their time in the program.  This data analysis and report, synthesizing what they have learned during the program, suffices for the Capstone. For those with no access to a data source to use, the Biostatistics faculty work with the student to identify an appropriate Capstone.

Learning Goals

  • Describe basic concepts of probability and statistical inference
  • Demonstrate standard techniques of database management and analysis
  • Compare and contrast study designs common to health research
  • Recognize the primary sources of bias observed in health research
  • Interpret appropriate inferences from data based on strengths and limitations of major epidemiologic study designs as well as the results of descriptive and inferential statistical analyses
View WVU Catalog for Learning Goals

Required Courses

The entire curriculum is available both online and in-person, making it accessible to individuals from a variety of backgrounds, locations and experiences.

Typical Certificate Schedule

Year 1 Fall Semester:

BIOS 601: Applied Biostatistics I (4 credits)

EPID 601: Public Health Epidemiology (3 credits)*

*Note: This could be taken Fall Semester of Year 2

Year 1 Spring Semester:

BIOS 603: Applied Biostatistics II (3 credits)

Year 2 Fall Semester:

BIOS 604: Applied Biostatistics III (3 credits)

Year 2 Spring Semester:

BIOS 605: Applied Biostatistics Capstone (2 credits)

View WVU Catalog for Required Courses

Admissions Guidelines

To apply to the Applied Biostatistics Certificate program, students must complete the WVU graduate application for code CG32, and pay the processing fee and submit a statement of purpose, three letters of reference, a current resume/curriculum vitae, and all university transcripts.

To be considered for the fall, students should submit their application by August 1. Completed applications are sent to the department for review. Students will receive an e-mail through from the department regarding their recommendation for acceptance.

Interested students must apply online for admission consideration. Students currently enrolled at WVU should also submit the online application but need to contact Associate Professor Christa Lilly, PhD, prior to application.

View WVU Catalog for Admissions Guidelines