Postgraduate Diploma in Biostatistics

Course 645AA (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Year and Campus: 2016
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 100 credit points taken over 12 months


Professor John Carlin


Academic Programs Office
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
Tel: +61 3 8344 9339
Fax: +61 3 8344 0824

Course Overview:

Please note: this course has been discontinued and will not be taking further intakes.

This course is a subset of the Master of Biostatistics (see that heading for further information). On completion of the Graduate Diploma in Biostatistics, students will have attained a similar range of skills required for employment as a biostatistician as those completing the Master of Biostatistics, without the workplace project and without the scope to complete elective subjects.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this course, graduates will:

  • be able to demonstrate a broad understanding of the mathematical background, theory and application of the principles of epidemiology and biostatistical methods in health and medical research
  • have acquired skills in complex statistical analyses to handle a variety of practical problems using modern statistical techniques and software
  • have acquired skills in data collection and data management, including database design, quality control procedures and the ethical handling of data
  • have developed skills to identify the relevant statistical issues in practical problems in medical/health settings and to propose and implement an appropriate statistical design and/or analysis methodology
  • have developed skills and demonstrated ability to present statistical results in a format suitable for publication in health-related journals or professional reports
  • have acquired the technical skills to be able to read methodological papers in the biostatistical literature and apply the methods described therein to practical problems
  • have developed the practical and technical skills to progress to further postgraduate studies in biostatistics
  • be aware of professional codes of conduct and ethical standards such as those of the Statistical Society of Australia
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

This course is available on a part-time basis only, and at the maximum rate of 2 subjects per semester requires 2 years to complete (100 credit points).

All subjects are taught by distance education, via a consortium of universities known as the Biostatistics Collaboration of Australia (BCA). For further details, see the BCA website:

Subject Options:

Core Subjects

Students must complete the following CORE subjects (unless exemptions are granted on the basis of equivalent prior study).

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2

Elective Subjects

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Not offered in 2016
Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:

• an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, such as statistics, mathematics, science, psychology, medicine, pharmacy, health sciences or economics, with a weighted average mark of at least H2B (70%); and
• a demonstrated capacity for advanced mathematical work, indicated for example by a high level of achievement in high-school or undergraduate mathematics; and
• a tertiary-level subject in statistics or biostatistics, or demonstrated equivalent prior knowledge of statistics at an introductory level.

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:

• prior academic performance.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Student Application and Selection Procedure.

4. Applicants are required to satisfy the university’s English language requirements for postgraduate courses. For those applicants seeking to meet these requirements by one of the standard tests approved by the Academic Board, performance band 6.5 is required.

(a) Students need to complete three specified subjects within the first 50 points of the program with a weighted average mark of at least H2B (70%) to be permitted to continue in the Postgraduate Diploma of Biostatistics or the Master of Biostatistics. The Postgraduate Certificate in Biostatistics is available as an exit award for students who complete 50 points of study but do not meet this hurdle requirement due to their subject selection or their average mark.
(b) Successful applicants with prior cognate study at tertiary level may receive up to 50 points of advanced standing (with or without credit) towards the Postgraduate Diploma in Biostatistics or the Master of Biostatistics.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this course are articulated in the Course Description, Course Objectives and Generic Skills of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website.

Graduate Attributes:

The Melbourne Experience enables our graduates to become:

Academically excellent:

  • have a strong sense of intellectual integrity and the ethics of scholarship
  • have in-depth knowledge of their specialist discipline(s)
  • reach a high level of achievement in writing, generic research activities, problem-solving and communication
  • be critical and creative thinkers, with an aptitude for continued self-directed learning
  • be adept at learning in a range of ways, including through information and communication technologies

Knowledgeable across disciplines:

  • examine critically, synthesise and evaluate knowledge across a broad range of disciplines
  • expand their analytical and cognitive skills through learning experiences in diverse subjects
  • have the capacity to participate fully in collaborative learning and to confront unfamiliar problems
  • have a set of flexible and transferable skills for different types of employment

Leaders in communities:

  • initiate and implement constructive change in their communities, including professions and workplaces
  • have excellent interpersonal and decision-making skills, including an awareness of personal strengths and limitations
  • mentor future generations of learners
  • engage in meaningful public discourse, with a profound awareness of community needs

Attuned to cultural diversity:

  • value different cultures
  • be well-informed citizens able to contribute to their communities wherever they choose to live and work
  • have an understanding of the social and cultural diversity in our community
  • respect indigenous knowledge, cultures and values

Active global citizens:

  • accept social and civic responsibilities
  • be advocates for improving the sustainability of the environment
  • have a broad global understanding, with a high regard for human rights, equity and ethics
Generic Skills:

Please refer to the Course Objectives.

Links to further information:

This Course has been discontinued. No further entry is available.

All subjects are taught by distance education, via a consortium of universities known as the Biostatistics Collaboration of Australia (BCA). For further details, see the BCA website:
Available to International students by distance only.

Mid Year entry is available.

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