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Master Program in Biostatistics


Is it possible to successfully finish the program with a very limited knowledge of the German language?

Yes, all compulsory, except for rare situations all statistical elective and most of the elective courses are in English. Zurich and Switzerland in general has a lot of international residents and a large percentage of the population understands some English at least, so living in Zurich without knowing much German is certainly possible. There are a lot of possibilities to learn German while studying in Zurich, see this website.

How much are the fees and how high is the cost of living?

The fee structure can be seen here.

An estimate of the cost of living in Zurich is given here.

What is the difference between the Master Program in Biostatistics at UZH and the Master Program in Statistics at ETHZ?

UZH confers directly a degree in Biostatistics, i.e. "Master of Science UZH in Biostatistics", whereas the degree at ETHZ is in statistics (but a specialisation in biostatistics can be mentioned on the diploma). At UZH the compulsory modules and most of the statistical electives are entirely designed and directed towards the needs of biostatisticians. Most modules at ETHZ are of a more general nature, which can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the individual objectives and interests. Finally, a part-time curriculum is possible to a certain extent at UZH but strongly discouraged at ETHZ. There are also many similarities between the programs since students of both programs are allowed to take courses in the respective other program, for both this mostly pertains to elective modules. Supervision of a master thesis by a UZH professor, although, is guaranteed only for UZH students.

I am enrolled in the program and want to take a course at ETH, how do I proceed?

By agreement with ETH you may do so without a problem but you need to register at ETH as a Special Student, see here. Note that you need to enroll as a student before you can enroll for a specific course and, if you want to take the exam and earn the credit points, then you need to separately register for the exam.

I am a student at ETH and want to take a course from your program. What are the formalities?

Go to the website allowing application for incoming mobility.

Once you are enrolled as a student at UZH you can book modules online. Note that by booking a module at UZH you are automatically registering for the corresponding exam. If you don't want to take an exam you have to withdraw from the course (deadlines to do so are published in the VVZ and may differ from course to course).

What is represented in the banner/main design?

It shows Swiss Bluetongue data from 2008 (BTV-8, from TVD). More specifically, the size of the square is proportional to the total number of animals at risk within each of the 5x5 km2 area. The color indicates the total number of infected animals, ranging between 0 (gray) and 17 (orange).
See also Willgert et al. PMID: 21590673.

What is the answer for the clinical trial business card?

In a double-blind randomized controlled trial concerning preecclampsia 2706 pregnant women have been treated with a certain diuretic or with a placebo. In 138 patients of the treatment group (1370 patients) and in 175 patients of the control group preeclampsia has been diagnosed. The medical question is whether diuretics reduce the risk of preeclampsia.

A possible answer to this questions is based on the concept of relative risk, which is here given as (138/1370)/(175/1336)=0.769. Since the relative risk is smaller than one (equal risk in both groups) there is statistical evidence that diuretics have a protective effect against preeclampsia. This hypothesis is further supported by the approximate 95% confidence interval of the relative risk, [0.6233, 0.9487], which does not contain the value one.

The answers for all other business cards are given with the repective graphics that are distributed on the pages of the master program.