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Master Program in Biostatistics


Mathematics, Statistics, and Biology/Biomedicine:

For admission to the program a university degree (bachelor or master), which includes

  • introductions to probability and statistics [9 ECTS CP]
  • analysis [6 ECTS CP]
  • linear algebra [3 ECTS CP]
  • biology/biomedicine [6 ECTS CP]

is required. Most bachelor programs in mathematics, statistics, biology, biomedicine, computer science and physics will meet or almost meet these requirements. Additional requirements may be imposed depending on the exact content of each applicant’s bachelor (or master) coursework. These can be fulfilled at the beginning of the program. The additional requirements could consist of courses taught in German. Generally, admission is "sur dossier", i.e. taking into account grades, personal statement, and similar aspects.

A list of subjects approximately representing these requirements is given here. It will be assumed that students have an active knowledge of these subjects in all compulsory and many of the statistical elective modules of the program


Additionally, some proof that the level of English will be sufficient to follow the lectures is required; this is equivalent to the international C1 language level (mother tongue, previous studies in an English speaking country, secondary education in English at Swiss Matura level, TOEFL, etc., see here for a table of equivalent certificates). This requirement might be waived if the candidate can prove an adequate English level in an admission interview.


Most of the courses will be complemented by exercises containing statistical analyses for which the statistical software R (www.r-project.org) has to be used. Sufficient knowledge in R is presumed from the start of the program. It is strongly recommended to obtain a working knowledge of R before the start of the program even though no formal proof of this is required. The study coordinator of the program can help in finding an appropriate course in R if desired.

Prerequisites for Students from University of Applied Science (Fachhochschule):

Students with degrees from Universities of Applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen, FH) in relevant disciplines can apply for this master, as for any other master at the University of Zurich, but the minimum average grade required is 5.0 (based on the Swiss Grading System). Note that this is a university wide rule. As for every other master’s program they can be admitted provided that the admission to a master’s program in the discipline corresponding to the Bachelor would not imply more than 30 ECTS CP additional course requirements. Every FH-Student will have to fulfill additional requirements not exceeding 60 ECTS CP, exact requirements will be decided by the admission committee on a case-by-case basis.