Health Data Science - MS


Health Data Science - Ms





The Master of Science program in Health Data Science, administered by the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics in the Milken Institute School of Public Health, develops leaders and practitioners in public health and medicine through training in fundamentals and innovative data analysis. The program uniquely blends the biostatistics and bioinformatics disciplines so that practitioners can become successful collaborators in interdisciplinary research. The program takes advantage of the rich biostatistical and bioinformatics resources at GW, such as the Biostatistics Center, and its location in the Nation’s Capital. It is designed to prepare students to be collaborative and independent practitioners in interdisciplinary research.

Students in this program choose one of two concentrations, biostatistics concentration or applied bioinformatics. Each concentration focuses on the foundations of the respective discipline to acquire fundamental knowledge and experience in the subject area while gaining core knowledge in the foundations of the other track. Students will be well positioned to compete for health data science, biostatistician, or bioinformatician jobs requiring an MS level of education or to apply for study at the doctoral level in health and biomedical data science, biostatistics, bioinformatics, or another related discipline.

Program Prerequisites

All applicants to the 36-credit MS program must have completed the following prerequisites (assumed at the undergraduate level), with a grade of B or better to be considered for admission:

Concentration-Specific Prerequisites

Biostatistics Concentration        Bioinformatics Concentration

Minimum Pre-requisite

  • Calculus I and II (GW equivalent is MATH 1231 and 1232)
  • Undergraduate Statistics (GW equivalent is PUBH 3142 or STAT 1051)

Full Pre-requisite* (in addition to above)

  • Calculus III (GW equivalent is MATH 2233)
  • Linear Algebra (GW equivalent is MATH 2184)
  • a course in undergraduate statistics
  • a course in undergraduate biology
  • a course in undergraduate computer science

* May complete these classes during first term as a MS student.

MS Core Requirements

PUBH 6080 | Pathways to Public Health (0 credits)
PUBH 6850 | Introduction to SAS for Public Health Research (1 credit)
PUBH 6851 | Introduction to R for Public Health Research (1 credit)
PUBH 6852 | Introduction to Python for Public Health Research (1 credit) 
PUBH 6860 | Principles of Bioinformatics (3 credits) 
PUBH 8870 | Statistical Inference for Public Health Research I (3 credits)

SPH Course Descriptions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     CORE TOTAL: 9 CREDITS

Requirements for Biostatistics Concentration

PUBH 6862 | Applied Linear Regression Analysis for Public Health Research (3 credits) 
PUBH 6864 | Applied Survival Analysis for Public Health Research (3 credits) 
PUBH 6865 | Applied Categorical Data Analysis for Public Health Research (3 credits) 
PUBH 6866 | Principles of Clinical Trials (3 credits) 
PUBH 6887 | Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis (3 credits)
PUBH 8871 | Statistical Inference for Public Health Research II (3 credits)


(see pre-approved options in program guide)

SPH Course Descriptions

Requirements for Bioinformatics Concentration

PUBH 6859 | High Performance Cloud Computing (3 credits) 
PUBH 6861 | Public Health Genomics (3 credits)
PUBH 6884 | Bioinformatics Algorithms and Data Structures (3 credits) 
PUBH 6854 | Applied Computing in Health Data Science (3 credits) 
PUBH 6886 | Statistical and Machine Learning for Public Health Research (3 credits)


(see pre-approved options in program guide)

SPH Course Descriptions


PUBH 6869 | Principles of Biostatistical Consulting  (Biostatistics ONLY) - (1 credit)
PUBH 6897 | Research in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics (Bioinformatics ONLY) - (1-4 credits)
PUBH 6898 | Master of Science Thesis  (Both Concentrations) - (1-3 credit)


Non-Academic Requirements

Ethics and Professional Skills

Students in the MS, Health and Biomedical Data Science program will participate in department-led ethics and professional skills training.

Professional Enhancement

Students in degree programs must participate in eight hours of Professional Enhancement. These activities may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, or symposia related to your field of study.

Professional Enhancement activities supplement the rigorous academic curriculum of the SPH degree programs and help prepare students to participate actively in the professional community. You can learn more about opportunities for Professional Enhancement via the Milken Institute School of Public Health Listserv, through departmental communications, or by speaking with your advisor.

Students must submit a completed Professional Enhancement Form to the student records department [email protected].

Complete Human Subjects Research Training Requirements
All students in the GWSPH are required to complete training regarding human subject protection regulation and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). To fulfill this requirement, a student must complete the Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) Course in The Protection of Human Research Subjects. All GWSPH students are required to complete the CITI module Social and Behavioral Researchers or the Biomedical track which can be found under Human Subjects Research Training. CITI coursework must be completed before the end of their first semester/two modules. Students must complete the CITI course before they are approved to begin the Applied Practice Experience and/or Practicum (MPH students) or any other field or research-related activities. This course is available online. Students should print out the certificate of completion for the CITI course and keep a copy for their records. Students will need this documentation for any IRB submission package. Documentation of completion is also required for graduation clearance. Students will submit  these documents to the Office of Student Records, [email protected]. Additional training requirements exist for students who plan to conduct some types of research (e.g., clinical research). Students are strongly encouraged to complete the Biomedical Investigators module.
To get started: 
2. Click: Register for the CITI course 
3. Select Institution (GW is under All Others, a drop-down list) 
4. Create a new username and password. 
5. Enter contact information   
For a quick video tutorial on how to access CITI click here.

Academic Integrity Quiz

All Milken Institute School of Public Health students are required to review the University’s Code of Academic Integrity and complete the GW Academic Integrity Activity.  This activity must be completed within 2 weeks of matriculation. Information on GWSPH Academic Integrity requirements can be found here.

Past Program Guides

Program Guide 2023-2024
Program Guide 2022-2023
Program Guide 2021-2022


Students pursuing a MS in Health Data Science have access to a world-class faculty with relevant expertise and diverse experience in all sectors of public health and medical research. Areas of interest and research experience for professors and lecturers in the program include: clinical trials, statistical modeling, machine learning, computing and software development, survival analysis, and finite population sampling, with applications in infectious diseases (including COVID-19, HIV, and bacterial superbug infections), mental health, diabetes, maternal-fetal medicine, and cardiovascular disease.  Learn about the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics faculty here.