Prospective Student Resources
Mentorship and Advice for Prospective Students (MAPS)
The Department of Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers Mentorship and Advice for Prospective Students (MAPS) to provide support and mentorship to master’s degree and PhD applicants. All prospective students are welcome to participate in this program. Students in groups that currently are and have historically been underrepresented in the field of biostatistics are especially encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. In this discipline, underrepresented groups include women, members of underrepresented ethnic or racial groups (e.g., Black, Latinx, Native American), students whose parent(s) or guardian(s) did not attend college, members of families from low-income backgrounds, people who identify as LGBTQ+ and those who have a disability.
This service allows students to connect with a graduate student volunteer (current UNC Biostatistics PhD students or post-doc) prior to the application deadline. They can discuss graduate biostatistics training as well as their (biostatistics) application. After the applicant answers a few simple questions and uploads their CV, a volunteer will reach out to the applicant to set up a time to meet, answer questions about their application, provide suggestions and discuss graduate school more broadly.
Please note that participants are not guaranteed admission to the UNC Department of Biostatistics as a result of participating in MAPS. Additionally, the MAPS program is student-led; any materials submitted here will not be shared with any member of the admissions committee. To evaluate MAPS, we will use demographic information submitted by users, but this information will first be anonymized.
Biostatistics students help to advance statistical science and ultimately, by practical application, help to improve human health.
“I decided to study biostatistics at UNC Gillings for the first-rate professors. They really are incredible.” Hear more about Larry’s experience in the department. Larry Han, was one of the 35 Americans awarded the Gates-Cambridge Scholarship to pursue full-time graduate studies at the University of Cambridge in England and is now a doctoral student in biostatistics at Harvard University.
“I really like that [the Department of Biostatistics] is in the School of Public Health because we’re in close quarters with professionals from nutrition and epidemiology which makes it very easy to collaborate.” Hear more about why Shaina chose to study at UNC Gillings.
“I chose UNC Gillings for the great reputation of the school. It’s one of the top public health programs in the nation.” Hear more about Briana Joy Kennedy Stephenson’s experience as member of the Gillings School community. Dr. Stephenson completed her postdoctoral research at the department’s Collaborative Studies Coordinating Center, working on the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos with Drs. Jianwen Cai and Daniela Sotres and is now an Assistant Professor at Harvard.
Career Opportunities in Biostatistics
Who hires biostatisticians? Anyone who wants to understand and use data about human health! Job prospects for graduating biostatistics students have never been better. The demand for well-trained biostatisticians continues to grow: Fortune Magazine predicts 23% job growth by 2024.
Traditionally, biostatisticians are heavily recruited for jobs in academics, government and various industries. With the increased visibility of disciplines like epidemiology and biostatistics during the COVID-19 pandemic, more employers and students are learning of this rewarding and well-compensated career.
In academia, doctoral graduates may hold faculty positions that involve some combination of methodological research, collaboration with scientific investigators and teaching. Students with master’s or doctoral degrees may work as research personnel in academic departments or may be employed by major research hospitals and medical institutes where they work on projects or as part of a multidisciplinary team.
Government agencies involved with health data are large employers of biostatisticians, data scientists and programmers. Some examples include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Pharmaceutical and medical device companies, software companies and non-profit agencies hire biostatisticians to understand and communicate information about data. Contract Research Organizations (CROs) contract with pharmaceutical or other entities to assist in the phases of clinical or other research. Our graduates often enter the job market well-compensated in roles such as biostatistician, data analyst, statistical programmer, analyst programmer or data scientist.
UNC-CH is situated minutes from the Research Triangle Park, home to many employers for biostatisticians like IQVIA, Rho and SAS. Students can take a Field Observations in Biostatistics (BIOS 691) course to meet key personnel in area organizations and learn about the roles of biostatisticians within the triangle and surrounding area.
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