About the program

The Master of Science in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology is designed for students interested in epidemiological and clinical trial study design and data analysis.


This program focuses on applied biostatistics, epidemiological concepts and research methods, and research applications including cancer, infectious disease, chronic disease and environmental epidemiology. Epidemiological methods are taught from a practical, hands-on perspective, enabling students to gain a thorough understanding of epidemiological and clinical research study designs and appropriate methods of data analysis for these studies.

Graduates are well-prepared for data analysis and study coordination positions in the academic, public health and pharmaceutical sectors.

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  • Typically completed in 2 years, the 39-unit degree consists of 7 core courses (26 units), 3 to 7 elective courses (at least 9 units) and a master’s thesis (4 units). During the program, students learn to manage, analyze and interpret biomedical research data using specialized software common in the field.

  • PM 510 Principles of Biostatistics | 4 units
    oncepts of biostatistics; appropriate uses and common misuses of health statistics; practice in the application of statistical procedures; introduction to statistical software including EXCEL, SPSS, nQuery.

    PM 511a Data Analysis | 4 units
    Major parametric and nonparametric statistical tools used in biomedical research, computer packages including SAS. Includes laboratory.

    PM 512 Principles of Epidemiology | 4 units
    Terminology/uses of epidemiology and demography; sources/uses of population data; types of epidemiologic studies; risk assessment; common sources of bias in population studies; principles of screening.

    PM 517a Research Methods in Epidmiology | 4 units
    Study design, ascertainment of study objects, questionnaire development, various methodological issues in study design and interpretation including bias, measurement error, confounding and effect modification.

    PM 518a Statistical Methods for Epidemiological Studies I, II | 3 units
    Principles and methods used in epidemiology for comparing disease frequencies between groups. Restricted to the analysis of binary outcome variables.

    PM 523 Design of Clinical Studies | 3 units
    Design, conduct, and interpretation of results of clinical trials; emphasis on principles affecting structure, size, duration of a trial, and the impact of ethical and practical considerations.

    PM 527 Epidemiology of Infectious Disease | 4 units
    Survey of natural history of infectious disease, methods of disease control and outbreak investigation, and an overview of the epidemiology of injury.

  • For elective offerings, visit the USC Course Catalogue.

  • The program culminates in a master’s thesis on a topic of the student’s choosing. The research consists of original work worthy of submission to a publication or peer-review journal.

    Full-time students begin working on their thesis at the beginning of their second year and register for the thesis courses over two consecutive semesters.

    PM 594a Master’s Thesis | 2 units

    PM 594b Master’s Thesis | 2 units

Program Director

Mariana Stern, PhD
Email: marianas@usc.edu
Phone: (323)865-0811
Mariana Stern, PhD

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