Skip to main content

Learn biostatistics with online courses and programs

Biostatistics applies mathematical concepts to the study of biology. It involves the collection and analysis of data to determine how conditions and environments affect life. Learn biostatistics with online courses delivered through edX.

What is biostatistics?

Biostatistics is a branch of mathematics in which statistical concepts and techniques are applied to biological data. Biostatisticians may collect, analyze, and interpret large data sets in order to better understand fields such as genetics, epidemiology, and medicine. For example, biostatisticians may tract infection rates of a virus in order to determine effective preventative methods to slow down or stop the spread. Through the collection, evaluation, and analysis of patient data, biostatistics enables effective decision making when determining medical interventions and treatments. This important field of study can play a pivotal role in protecting human life, as well as the lives of other living organisms, revealing how factors such as environment, lifestyle choices, and genetics influence health.Footnote 1

Biostatistics | Introduction Image Description

Maximize your potential

Sign up for special offers, career resources, and recommendations that will help you grow, prepare, and advance in your career.

Browse online biostatistics courses

Stand out in your field

Use the knowledge and skills you have gained to drive impact at work and grow your career.

Learn at your own pace

On your computer, tablet or phone, online courses make learning flexible to fit your busy life.

Earn a valuable credential

Showcase your key skills and valuable knowledge.

Why learn biostatistics?

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, French physician Pierre Charles Alexandre Louis set out to collect and study data on hospital patients suffering from various diseases. He would use this data to compare the diagnoses, treatments, and outcomes of each patient to uncover patterns in survival rates. This was the first modern attempt at medical analysis, which could be considered the birth of biostatistics.Footnote 2

Today, biostatistics is aided by the power of technological and intellectual advances, allowing for more complex analyses. Biostatisticians can fuel advancements in biomedical research, and provide health sciences with better insights through statistical exploration of big data. Biostatistics is closely linked with clinical trials. Utilizing statistical principles, biostatisticians can determine patterns that lead to breakthroughs in treatments and medicines. For example, biostatistics can be used to help determine possible causes of cancer or to determine how often a cancer occurs in a certain group.Footnote 3

Biostatistics course curriculum

Whether they are simply interested to learn more about the topic or plan to begin a career in the field, learners can study biostatistics with online courses offered through edX. 

Introductory courses may cover the fundamentals of statistics, including how to collect, analyze, and interpret data using appropriate statistical tools. They may also delve into research study design with a special focus on application to the field of biology and explore how to create experimental, quasi-experimental, and observational studies that will meet regulatory guidelines. Start studying the best practices in biostatistics, including the techniques for conducting reproducible research. 

Begin your learning journey today. Take a specialized boot camp to quickly enhance your data analysis skills. Or pursue a more comprehensive education with bachelor’s degree programs, as well as master’s degree programs on a variety of topics. 

Explore biostatistics jobs

Learning biostatistics can lead to rewarding careers for anyone with a strong mathematical background who is interested in biology, public health, or health care. As a biostatistician, you may have the opportunity to help change health outcomes around the world.

For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, biostatisticians worked to help battle the spread of the virus. They obtained, organized, and analyzed data that showed where the virus was spreading and relayed that information to policymakers and media outlets. They also collected the data that helped authorities determine how to prioritize the distribution of vaccines. 

Roles that may utilize knowledge of biostatistics include:

  • Health data analyst, who collects, organizes, and presents information related to different health initiatives.

  • Lab director, who oversees staff, experiments, and data collection leading to solutions.

  • Public health administrator, who can steer resources and funds to facilitate research and actions.

  • Epidemiologist, who investigates patterns behind the causes of disease and injury.

  • Professor, who teaches new learners foundational skills and the latest trends in biostatistics.

How to become a biostatistician online

If you are interested in working in job roles that use biostatistics, you may also need to demonstrate a number of other professional skills, including:Footnote 4

  • Oral communication: Interact with medical directors, regulatory officials, and more.

  • Writing: Communicate predictions, results, and solutions in written reports and slide decks.

  • Written and listening comprehension: Understand and analyze data being collected and presented. 

  • Scientific thinking: Use scientific rules and methods to solve problems. 

  • Judgment and decision making: Evaluate and select the appropriate and necessary tools.

  • Critical thinking: Weigh the pros and cons of various potential solutions.

Whether you want to enhance your knowledge of biostatistics or learn soft skills, edX offers a variety of courses in convenient online formats. From specialized boot camps on data analytics to full degree programs in which you can earn a bachelor’s degree in data science or, for more experienced individuals, a master’s degree in data science, there are many different educational opportunities that can fit different learners’ needs. Find the right educational pathway for you.