National Careers Week 2024 4th – 9th March | [email protected]

PSI Careers

Do you want a career that is exciting and varied? Do you want to make a real difference to the lives of people all over the world? How about using your mathematics or statistical knowledge to help develop and trial lifesaving medicines?

PSI delivers relevant, up to date and leading support and resources including scientific meetings, online training, networking events, specialist working groups, training courses, career development, plus our renowned journal Pharmaceutical Statistics and our highly regarded annual conference.

An introduction to medical statistics

Explore the intricate world of medical statistics, a vital component in the expansive landscape of medical research. Statisticians and statistical programmers, serving as key players in clinical trial design and analysis, contribute significantly to the progress of research, development, and manufacturing in the healthcare industry. This dynamic field encompasses a variety of companies, ranging from large corporations to smaller entities, as well as specialized units like Contract Research Organisations (CROs) and Clinical Trials Units (CTUs). While CROs provide essential research and development services to pharmaceutical companies, CTUs play a crucial role in designing, conducting, and analysing clinical trials, collaborating closely with pharmaceutical companies to ensure the thorough evaluation of new medicines.

Designing a clinical trial

Pharmaceutical companies bear the responsibility of bringing new medicines from laboratories to the market, a process that demands rigorous testing to ensure both safety and effectiveness. This is where statisticians and statistical programmers become pivotal in guaranteeing the reliability of new medicines. Through close collaboration in a scientific endeavour, these professionals ensure that the results derived from clinical trials are scientifically robust. This intricate and lengthy process has evolved over time to establish a stringent framework for assessing the safety of new medicines before they reach patients.

First steps into becoming a Medical Statistician or a statistical programmer

Embark on the path to becoming a medical statistician or statistical programmer with these foundational steps into the field. As an example, aspiring medical statisticians typically aim for a minimum qualification of an MSc in Statistics or a related field with a robust statistical component. On the other hand, if your interest lies in statistical programming, a BSc in a mathematically focused degree, like Mathematics and Statistics, is usually sufficient. To find out about what degrees are best for kick starting your career, please click here.


Consider enhancing your educational journey with a practical touch by opting for a placement year, preferably taken between your second and third years of undergraduate study. During this time, you can gain hands-on experience, as many pharmaceutical companies offer opportunities in statistical programming and medical statistics, allowing you to actively contribute to designing clinical trials and calculating sample sizes. Look at what companies offer industrial placements here.

Hear from managers

Hear from students


For individuals looking for an alternative route, consider delving into the apprenticeship opportunities available at Level 7, specifically tailored for aspiring medical statisticians. This program enables BSc-qualified individuals to pursue an MSc in Medical Statistics while gaining practical experience and receiving a full-time salary. This apprenticeship offers a mix of academic learning and real-world application, providing an illustrative entry point into the intriguing world of medical statistics. More information about the requirements for this apprenticeship can be found here.

Career pathways

There is not just one route into becoming a medical statistician. Explore the profiles below to see examples of how you can develop mathematical, statistical, and scientific skills that will be invaluable for building your career.

Roles within the pharmaceutical industry

Embark on a journey into the diverse roles within the pharmaceutical industry, where statisticians are increasingly in demand, creating a profound impact year after year. The daily life of a statistician unfolds as a strategic process involving designing scientifically sound experiments, defining data collection methods, conducting intricate data analysis, making informed interpretations, and presenting results to senior managers and global government agencies.

So, do you want a career that is thrilling, varied, always advancing and makes a real difference to lives of people all around the world? Click here to find out how you can start your journey today, and for examples of careers progression, click here.

Where do I start?

Finding a job in any industry is daunting. We have loads of helpful tips and tricks to help support you through the process including general advice, what to expect when you apply, and current vacancies. To find out more about life as a medical statistician or programmer and what to expect in your career, please visit our webpage…