Medical statistician

The work of medical statisticians is central to the design, analysis and interpretation of health research, including issues such as the monitoring and surveillance of health, identifying factors associated with disease, and the detecting and preventing of disease.

What does a medical statistician do?

Research is the focus of a medical statistician with their work influencing clinical practice to help guide public health education and policies or adding to current knowledge that sometimes leads to leading to further research studies.

Medical statisticians in an academic research unit are responsible for generating ideas and then designing, implementing and analysing clinical studies.

Take a look at our profiles of medical statisticians Ruth Coleman to learn more.

What qualifications do I need?

An undergraduate degree is a minimum requirement. While some tend to have a degree with a quantitative component, graduates and professionals from other disciplines can go into medical statistics with an appropriate master’s degree e.g. medical statistics, epidemiology and public health).

Several universities offer MSc courses in medical statistics (sometimes with a different course title). These include the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Universities of Lancaster, Leicester, Reading and Southampton.

How do I find a job as a medical statistician?

Medical statisticians are mainly employed by most medical schools and universities, and by public sector research organizations (such as the Health Protection Agency and the World Health Organization). It is also possible to switch to the private sector or the civil service after a few years.

Advertisements for medical statisticians appear in several places, such as The Times and The Guardian, the RSS job board, electronic mailing lists (such as AllStat and Public-health) and medical school websites.

What are the career prospects of a medical statistician?

Most universities offer staff development programmes in which you may take short courses on for example computing software, presentational skills, management development and teaching skills.

Your professional work as a statistician might make it appropriate for you to seek the professional qualification of chartered statistician (CStat), which would give you a professional affiliation with the Royal Statistical Society.