Master of Science in Applied Biostatistics & Epidemiology

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.

Program Director

Mariana Stern
Mariana Stern, PhD

Professor of Clinical Population and Public Health Sciences

marianas@usc.edu

Application Deadlines

FALL

Priority: December 1st
Final: May 1st

SPRING

October 1st

SUMMER

March 1st

For More Information

Core Coursework

Typically completed in 2 years, the 38-unit degree consists of 7 core courses (25 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.

Concepts 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.

Major parametric and nonparametric statistical tools used in biomedical research, computer packages including SAS. Includes laboratory. 

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. 

Study design, ascertainment of study objects, questionnaire development, various methodological issues in study design and interpretation including bias, measurement error, confounding and effect modification. 

Principles and methods used in epidemiology for comparing disease frequencies between groups. Restricted to the analysis of binary outcome variables. 

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. 

Survey of natural history of infectious disease, methods of disease control and outbreak investigation, and an overview of the epidemiology of injury.

Master's Thesis

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

Guidelines for PM Thesis Courses 
Full-time students begin working on their thesis at the beginning of their second year and register for PM 594a/b over two consecutive semesters. When you are enrolled in PM 594a, you will select a Committee Chair (or thesis advisor), that will help you form your thesis committee and guide you through your thesis project. The thesis is written like a scientific paper which is typically about 30-40 pages double spaced, although there is no page requirement. A thesis defense is not required for MS students, only the submission of your final manuscript that must be approved by each of your committee members and submitted to the Graduate School by the posted deadlines. Additional details for the submission guidelines and formatting can be found here at the MS Thesis Guidelines below:
Past thesis titles
  • Visceral primary tumors in pediatric Non-Rhabdomyosarcoma Soft Tissue Sarcoma (NRSTS)
  • Assessment of the mortality burden associated with ambient air pollution in rural and urban areas of India

Program Faculty

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