A master thesis is a first more independent research project in biostatistics. Both the Biostatistics Journal Club and the Statistical Consulting module prepare for some of the technical aspects of the thesis. All the lectures and exercises that a student has been taking provide the necessary statistical, mathematical and computational skills for the thesis. It is necessary to have passed all compulsory modules before starting a master thesis. Nevertheless in most cases new skills and certainly new knowledge has to be acquired in the beginning and throughout the thesis.
Students have to find a supervisor and a topic to their own liking and interest. To this end lectures provide insight into potential supervisors' general style but they do not usually reflect their complete research interests. Interested student should look at potential supervisors' publication record before approaching them for a thesis topic. In order to avoid misunderstandings it is required to approach only one supervisor at a time and communicate clearly with them on your decisions. Some open thesis topics are listed on this website, but the list is not exhaustive. To get an impression on potential topics and the breadth of possibilities see the list of ongoing and completed master theses.
In general any lecturer of a program module of the Master Program in Biostatistics can be the supervisor of a master thesis in biostatistics, other UZH researchers and lecturers could also be supervisors conditional on the approval of the coordinator. External theses are in general discouraged since the control over the topic and supervision is often not optimal. Exceptions to this rule are possible but they require a longer preparation phase, see below on timing advice. Master theses in industry entail suitable compensation by the company towards the Master Program in Biostatistics for time and organisational expenses.
All compulsory modules need be passed before starting the master thesis, exceptions to this rule are possible in extraordinary circumstances. A master thesis is not bound to the lecture period, it can be started at any time and takes about 6 months full time. It is a good idea to start searching for a topic and a supervisor about 2-4 months before the intended start date. The best situation is to be able to concentrate on the thesis throughout 6 months, i.e. with only a small workload on a job and without prolonged absences due to vacation. Exceptions to this rule are possible and should be discussed with the supervisor.