Is it possible to do a second Masters Degree in Biostatistics if I already have a Masters Degree in Statistics?

During my first Masters Degree, I took one Biostatistics course for my elective, and I found the subject really interesting. I thought about taking a PhD program in Biostatistics, but to me PhD is too long and I have some doubts on whether I will be successful as a PhD student. I am particularly interested in Masters degree in Biostatistics that has co-op option, so that I can gain some work experience as well.

But is it possible to take a Masters program in Biostatistics when I already have a Masters degree in Statistics?

  • 1
    You might want to consider why you want to do this at all. There will be very few positions where a degree in biostatistics is required but one in statistics is not also allowed. Plenty of people have advanced degrees in statistics but do most if not all of their work in biostatistics. – Bryan Krause Mar 16 '18 at 21:24
  • Mostly because I didn’t get to take many biostatistics related courses during my first Masters Degree (I did not take, for instance, a course in longitudinal analysis / survival analysis / how to handle phase IV observational data. ) Also doing co-op appeals to me strongly, as this can be a way for me to set my foot into the door – Lise Mar 16 '18 at 22:04
  • Some graduate programs are unwilling to admit students who already have the same level degree in the same (or similar enough) area. – Brian Borchers Mar 17 '18 at 16:18

Yes, it is generally completely permissible to do so. Universities often have rules precluding people from getting degrees that they have already earned at another institution, but not ones that preclude highly overlapping degrees. For example, I know many people who have math and CS degrees that overlapped so much that the theses were on the same topic. I think such determinations are usually made based on the name of the degree, and not an analysis of the similarity of coursework.

Wether or not this is encouraged or a good strategic idea is a different question, but most schools won’t have a rule-based problem with this.

  • Thank you for your reply. If I took my first Master’s degree program from a Statistics Department, and if I apply to a Statistics department at a different university to take a second Master’s program in Biostatistics, would there be a problem (since both are Statistics department)? Thank you, – Lise Mar 16 '18 at 20:00
  • @Lise most universities have policies about not accepting people for duplicate degrees. It sounds plausible that circumstance they might consider it a duplicate degree, but that’s really a question best asked to individual departments. – Stella Biderman Mar 16 '18 at 20:02
  • @Lise If you liked this answer, please press the up arrow to give it a positive vote. If you feel t answered your question, you can accept it by hitting the checkmark. – Stella Biderman Mar 16 '18 at 20:07
  • @Lise Even if this does answer your question, it's advisable to wait at least a day to accept the answer, in order to encourage a variety responses. People are less likely to answer a question that already has an accepted answer. – Nuclear Hoagie Mar 16 '18 at 20:19

I think the answer depends on the graduate school requirements (that you are applying to). Usually schools mention required background for applying.

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