**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:

**140.611-140.612 **Statistical
Reasoning in Public Health I-II;

*This** sequence is an option for completion of
the biostatistics core course requirement for MPH students and selected MHS
programs within other departments of the School.*

**140.615-140.616** Statistics
for Laboratory Scientists I-II;

*This** sequence is designed specifically for
students within other departments of the School training to become a laboratory
scientist.*

**140.621, 140.622,140.623, & 140.624 **Statistical
Methods in Public Health I-IV;

*This is the course sequence required by students in various master's and
doctoral programs within other departments of the School and by MPH students in
the Concentration in Epidemiological & Biostatistical
Methods for Public Health and Clinical Research - Focus in Epidemiology. *

**140.651, 140.652, 140.653, & 140.654**
Methods in Biostatistics I-IV.

*This is the course sequence required by the master's programs within the
Department of Biostatistics, MPH students in the Concentration in
Epidemiological & Biostatistical Methods for
Public Health and Clinical Research - Focus in Biostatistics, and other
master's and doctoral students who will be conducting data analysis in
epidemiologic or clinical research. * *View a “test” designed to help you decide whether you
should enroll in the 651-B654 sequence or not.*

For all other students, to choose
the sequence best for you, answer the following questions:

**Would you like an overview of biostatistical concepts and methods in two terms with minimal focus on computing and calculations and limited hands-on data analysis?**If yes, then the 611-612 series is best suited to your needs.**Are you seeking the ability to conduct yourself, or actively participate in, the design and data analysis for a public health practice or research program?**If yes, then the 621-624 or 651-654 series is recommended. If not, then 611-612 or 615-616 would be suitable.**If you seek design and data analysis skills, do you have a working knowledge of linear algebra and multivariate calculus from your previous training?**If yes, then the 651-654 series would be appropriate. If not, then the 621-624 would be best.

**Biostatistics 615-616 or
Biostatistics 621-622: Which One Should I Take?**

Biostatistics 615-616 and
Biostatistics 621-622 cover largely the same material, although 615-616
concerns experiment data and so is most suited for laboratory scientists, while
621-622 concerns both experimental and observational studies. Both
615-616 and 621-622 provide sufficient preparation for Biostatistics
623-24.

**Biostatistics 621-624 or
Biostatistics 651-654: Which One Should I Take? **

There are two introductory
Biostatistics course sequences which emphasize data analysis skills,
Biostatistics 621-624 and Biostatistics 651-654. They are both year-long
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, p-values, sample size calculations, analysis of
variance, linear regression, and logistic regression.

Biostatistics 621-624 teaches the
tools and techniques of data analysis. Biostatistics 651-654 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 651-654 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 651-654? **

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 651-654? **

A. Possibly. You would need to
refresh your basic knowledge of derivatives and integrals. This could be done
by investing time in initial self-study. 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 651-654? **

A. Linear algebra is used in the
third and fourth terms of Biostatistics 651-654. 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 651-654. 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 651-B654
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.