
GUIDE TO INTRODUCTORY BIOSTATISTICS COURSE SEQUENCES View the PowerPoint presentation "How to Select Your Introductory Biostatistics Sequence" Biostatistics is the information science of public health. It is a way of reasoning and a methodology for addressing health questions using quantitative information. The faculty and staff of the Department of Biostatistics look forward to supporting your mastery of this important core discipline. This page is designed to inform you about the four introductory Biostatistics course sequences available at Johns Hopkins. It will help you choose the one which will best enable you to achieve your learning objectives in preparation for your professional or scientific career in public health. There are four introductory Biostatistics course sequences:
140.611612
Statistical Reasoning in Public Health III;
140.615616
Statistics for Laboratory Scientists III;
140.621624
Statistical Methods in Public Health IIV;
140.651654
Methods in Biostatistics IIV. For all other students, to choose the sequence best for you, answer the following questions:
Biostatistics 615616 and Biostatistics 621622 cover largely the same material, although 615616 concerns experiment data and so is most suited for laboratory scientists, while 621622 concerns both experimental and observational studies. Both 615616 and 621622 provide sufficient preparation for Biostatistics 62324. Biostatistics 621624 or Biostatistics 651654: Which One Should I Take? There are two introductory Biostatistics course sequences which emphasize data analysis skills, Biostatistics 621624 and Biostatistics 651654. They are both yearlong courses (4 terms). Students typically take one or the other. A frequently asked question is, which one should I take? The objectives of both courses are to introduce students to biostatistical methodology and to give students the skills to analyze data. In both sequences, you will learn many of the basic concepts including descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, pvalues, sample size calculations, analysis of variance, linear regression, and logistic regression. Biostatistics 621624 teaches the tools and techniques of data analysis. Biostatistics 651654 covers similar topics but explains statistical techniques in more depth and requires the students to have more advance mathematical skills. It is required that students taking Biostatistics 651654 have had a year of calculus and it is highly recommended that students have had a course in linear algebra. Both course sequences use computers and statistical analysis packages. Here are some frequently asked questions: Q. Who takes Biostatistics 651654? A. Students whose interests or main professional goals are to analyze data. Biostatistics graduate students are required to take it. Q. I had calculus fifteen years ago and don't remember much. Could I still take Biostatistics 651654? A. Possibly. You would need to refresh your basic knowledge of derivatives and integrals. This could be done by investing time in initial selfstudy. Students in this situation have been successful in the course in the past but had to work somewhat harder. Q. I never had linear algebra. Could I still take Biostatistics 651654? A. Linear algebra is used in the third and fourth terms of Biostatistics 651654. Students need to have elementary knowledge of matrices. In the past, students who have put some time into acquiring this knowledge have been successful. Q. Could I switch sequences in the middle of the school year? A. No, not generally. The reason is that although the two sequences cover roughly similar topics, they are not taught in the same order. Q. I want to learn regression and analysis of variance. Which course sequence should I take? A. Both course sequences cover these topics, mostly in the third and fourth terms. Either sequence will give you a good working knowledge in order to apply these methods and understand the concepts. The main difference between the course sequences concerns the level of theoretical and mathematical development of the subjects matter. Q. I'm still not sure I have the mathematical ability to handle 651654. How can I tell? A. You should be able to graph an exponential function; find values that minimize a function by setting the first derivatives equal to zero; perform an integration; perform algebraic manipulations; find the product of AB where A is a 2x3 matrix and B is a 3x2 matrix. View sample problems to help you decide which sequence to take. View a “test” designed to help you decide whether you should enroll in the 651B654 sequence or not.
If you have further questions about which sequence is best for you, please contact Mary Joy Argo, academic administrator for the Department of Biostatistics. Return to Course Information  Return to Home Page 
