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First of all, thank you for your time. I am an optometrist working in a clinical setting, with a background in academic optometry (a few small-scale publications, sub-investigator for some larger trials). I would like to transition into more of a research capacity, and I would like to be able to offer support in study design and data analysis.

Given these goals, would an MS (biostatistics) or an MPH (concentration in biostatistics) be more appropriate, or would both allow me to function in my desired capacity? Neither program length nor tuition cost are an issue; I simply want to be effective within data analysis and study design. To my understanding, an MPH is more versatile, especially given that I already work in healthcare. However, my concern is that pursuing this instead of an MS would not sufficiently prepare me for more dedicated statistical work.

Also, less relevant, but if I were to consider a PhD in the future, is an MPH a viable qualification for entry? Or would it essentially preclude my acceptance into a biostatistics PhD program?

Thanks again for your time.
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I'm in this situation r8 now... Can someone please answer this?
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An MPH is great if you want to be involved in public health, population health, healthcare, policy, etc. -type research. I work in academic healthcare research with a number of MPH biostatisticians. I had an MPH when I was hired and felt well prepared for my level 1 position. Working with more senior statisticians helped me learn more on the job. Later I went back to school and got an MS because I though I wanted to learn more about the math behind the methods. I think I’ve learned I’ll always feel like there’s more to learn!
An MS may set you up with a stronger math background for a potential PhD program.
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I was considering MPH, but ultimately went with a MS in biology. I’ve learned plenty of biostats and I’ve had to apply a ton of it for my thesis. I’ve heard MPH is super social science/ social justice heavy. I’m really glad I went with an MS in bio because I’m personally more interested in biology, statistics, immunology, genetics, etc. than in social sciences and I feel well prepared to continue my education or enter industry in these fields.
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So this is my based on my experience hiring statisticians for clinical trial work, but all the candidates I've ever interviewed with an MPH have not had the stat theory knowledge to perform well in interviews. If you actually want to work as a statistician or design studies in the same capacity as a statistician, you should get a MS in stats or biostats.

Most biostats phd programs do not explicitly require a masters in stats, but you're competing for positions against people who will have a stats master. That being said, having biostats coursework from an MPH program would still give you an advantage over people that do not have graduate level stat courses.
ago

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