Public Health Data Science MS


Learn more about the Master of Science in Public Health Data Science.

About the Program

The Public Health Data Science (MS PHDS) master's degree program focuses on the intersection of biostatistics, computational biostatistics, epidemiology and public health fundamentals. It is responsive to the national call to address the shortage in data science in the United States. This 36-credit MS is designed to equip graduates to meet the growing demand for public health data scientists who have an in-depth understanding of biostatistical methods and excellent data analytical skills to improve health care and population health. Students learn to conceptualize health problems and use state-of-the-art biostatistical and data-analytical tools and techniques to design, manage and analyze health and health-related data to produce value-adding analytic insights. They also learn how to effectively combine and communicate these insights to inform evidence-based public health decision-making.

The MS PHDS program builds on a strong biostatistical and programming foundation with specialized biostatistics courses aimed to build mastery in targeted data analyses while addressing statistical uncertainty. Our curriculum focuses on specialized data analysis courses such as those arising in randomized or nonrandomized (i.e., observational) studies, inferential investigation of large datasets such as electronic health records, and statistical modeling in the context of public health. Students have a unique opportunity to learn practical data analytical techniques and gain the ability to comfortably use complex data structures in efficient computational fashion while addressing important biostatistical complexities such as sampling design and correlated data in public health and health sciences. They also gain an understanding of the substantive contexts informing statistical analyses with varying challenges.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 4 years

Campus Location: Main

Full-Time/Part-Time Status: The program is designed to accommodate both full- and part-time students. Full-time students can earn their degree within 2 years, while part-time students typically complete the degree in 3 years.

Accreditation: The MS in Public Health Data Science is a graduate program in Temple’s College of Public Health, which is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Job Prospects: Graduates of the MS PHDS program are qualified to work as biostatisticians or data scientists in public health, pharmaceutical and research institutions, as well as many government organizations. Demand for data scientists with the ability to infer conclusions at the population level and make recommendations for public health and medicine currently exceeds supply by 50-60%. Job growth in the discipline is also projected to have a much faster rate of growth than average at 33% annually.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy: Non-matriculated students are required to speak with an advisor before registering for classes and to obtain the permission of the professor, whether the coursework is taken in the on-campus or online format. If accepted to the program, a maximum of three courses (9 credits) may be applied toward the degree program. Course selection should be made in consultation with an advisor, and students should be aware that completion of coursework does not ensure admission into the program.

Financing Opportunities: Limited Teaching and Research Assistantships are available in the College of Public Health. The Graduate School website details the types of graduate student support. Assistantships are awarded on a term or annual basis. Students whose Fall applications are complete prior to or at the application deadline are reviewed for eligibility for Teaching Assistant (TA) positions. TAs can work 5 to 20 hours per week in any combination of teaching assignments made by the department and must meet the English Language Proficiency standards set by the University and the College. Students who hold Teaching or Research Assistantships are not permitted to hold other employment without the written prior approval of their advisor, the Director of Graduate Programs, and the Graduate School. Both assistantships carry a minimum stipend and full tuition remission for up to 9 credits per term. To be considered for a Teaching or Research Assistantship, complete an application form that is sent to students upon admission to the program. The completed application must be returned to to be considered.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: March 1

All applicants to the MS PHDS program must apply via the Centralized Application Service for Public Health (SOPHAS). The system can be accessed at

Applicants should check their application status on the SOPHAS portal often and inquire directly of SOPHAS about receipt of materials. For other questions, please contact the CPH Office of Admissions at or 215-204-5200.

Letters of Reference:
Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation, which are completed electronically through the SOPHAS system, should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with the applicant's academic competence and, if appropriate, research supervisors or mentors.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration: Proficiency in statistical programming and a minimum of 6 credits of undergraduate quantitative and/or analytical methods (statistics, research design, etc.) are required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline: All applicants must present credentials that are the equivalent of an accredited baccalaureate degree. The minimum acceptable undergraduate GPA is 3.0.

A WES evaluation is required for applicants who completed their bachelor's degree outside of the United States. This can be requested at and submitted through SOPHAS.

Statement of Goals: Write a well-considered 500- to 1,000-word statement of purpose that articulates your interests in public health and our program in particular. Craft your statement to specifically address the following questions:

  • Why are you pursuing this master’s degree program, and what are your particular areas of interest in public health?
  • How does the MS PHDS within Temple's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics best fit your public health interests?
  • What are your career goals, and how will this degree help you to achieve these goals?
  • What are your plans in the first few years after graduation?

Standardized Test Scores:
GRE: Required. While the program takes a portfolio approach to admissions, standardized tests provide important insight into quantitative and verbal abilities. Scores above the 75th percentile on both the verbal and quantitative sections of the test are desired. Official GRE scores should be sent to SOPHAS using code 0151.

Standardized tests considered in lieu of the GRE include DAT, GMAT, MCAT, OAT and PCAT.

Applicants who earned their baccalaureate degree from an institution where the language of instruction was other than English, with the exception of those who subsequently earned a master’s degree at a U.S. institution, must report scores for a standardized test of English that meet these minimums:

  • TOEFL iBT: 79 (send officially to SOPHAS using the SOPHAS-specific TOEFL code 5688)
  • IELTS Academic: 6.5
  • PTE Academic: 53
  • Duolingo: 110

Resume: Current resume or CV required.

Interview: An interview may be required.

Laptop: Beginning in Fall 2020, all incoming students in the College of Public Health are required to have a laptop. Academic programs in the college are technology intensive. They incorporate statistical and database analyses; utilize specialized tools for athletic training, kinesiology and physical therapy; stream audio and video for communication sciences; facilitate online interactive counseling for social work; and foster clinical experiences and online assessments. The laptop requirement enables the College of Public Health to improve opportunities for active learning and provide greater access to specialized software and required tools in and out of the classroom, better preparing students for the workforce. Learn more about device specifications and suggested vendors. Students can use excess financial aid (i.e., funds that are reimbursed after all tuition and fees are paid) to meet student needs, including the purchase of a laptop. Scholarships may also provide funding.

Transfer Credit: Graduate credits from an accredited institution are considered for transfer into the MS PHDS degree program. Such courses are reviewed by the MS Graduate Program Director to determine whether they are equivalent to coursework offered at Temple and fulfill any degree requirements. The grade must be a "B" or better in order to transfer and have been earned within five years of applying to the program. The maximum number of credits that may be transferred into the MS program is 6.

Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 36

Required Courses:

College Core Courses
EPBI 5201Epidemiological Research Methods I3
HRPR 5001Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions0
Public Health Data Science Core Courses
EPBI 5002Biostatistics3
EPBI 8012Multivariable Biostatistics3
EPBI 8208Data Management and Analysis3
STAT 8001Probability and Statistics Theory I3
STAT 8002Probability and Statistics Theory II3
Select one from the following programming courses:3
Applications of Computer Programming in Health Informatics
Special Topics 1
Introduction to Language Processing and Text Mining for Health Professionals
Public Health Data Science Electives
Select four from the following:12
Structural Equation Modeling
Multilev Mod in Int Res
Behavioral Measurement
EPBI 8304
EPBI 8305
EPBI 8306
Applied Concepts and Methods in Health Research
GIS for Health Data Analysis
Consulting Practicum
EPBI 9187Biostat Cnslt Practicum3
Total Credit Hours36

Minimum Grade to be Earned for All Required Courses: B-

Culminating Event:
Biostatistics Practicum:
Biostatistics is a field concerned with research subjects motivated by real data and problems in public health, biology and medicine. Through our Biostatistics Core, students gain critical hands-on experience in collaborative projects. EPBI 9187 Biostat Cnslt Practicum is a project-based course that prepares students to collaborate effectively as biostatisticians in the workforce. Emphasis is on providing hands-on experience using statistical techniques on real-life applications and developing communication and problem-solving skills. This course is designed for graduate students to achieve fluency in widely used statistical software, such as R and SAS, for the analyses of data from observational and/or interventional research studies.


Program Web Address:

Department Information:

Dept. of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Ritter Hall Annex, 9th Floor (004-09)

1301 Cecil B. Moore Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19122-6005


Submission Address for Application Materials:

Department Contacts:


CPH Office of Admissions


Program Director:

Recai Yucel, PhD



Graduate Program Director:

Aimee Palumbo, PhD

Assistant Professor



Resa M. Jones, MPH, PhD

Associate Professor