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Biostat sans biology experience?

  1. Jun 6, 2012 #1
    I am wondering if it is possible for a pure mathematician to get into the field of biostatistics. Short backstory: I graduated from college 5 years ago, worked 1.5 years for the DoD as a computer programmer and 3.5 years (and counting) as a health actuary. My first love has always been mathematics and I have always been very talented at it. More than anything I like to solve difficult problems, and I find myself really bored at my current job. While I can see how having a quantitative mind is essential to being an actuary, the level of problem solving is leagues below what I was doing in school and this is really frustrating. While the hours and pay are sweet, I would give these up in a heartbeat to do something I really care about. I think I made a mistake not pursuing my PhD years ago and I would like to fix that.

    I have a good friend that does cancer research is about to finish his PhD. He is always telling me how desperate everyone is for quality biostatisticians and that I should think about going down that route. I am somewhat skeptical as while it sounds exciting, I have not taken a class in biology since high school. I am not motivated by a specific topic in bio, but I'm intrigued by the fact that there are problems that require mathematical solutions. And to be frank, with the job market the way that it is in both academia and industry I like the idea of having a highly sought after skill.

    Do any programs accept applicants with no prior science background? If so, which programs might I want to learn more about given my skill set? Any other advice is welcome.
  2. jcsd
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