Master of Science in Applied Biostatistics and 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.

Application Deadlines

Priority: December 1st
Final: April 1st

October 1st

March 1st


Program at a glance

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.

Core Coursework (26 Units)

PM 510  Principles of Biostatistics (4 units)

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.

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.

Electives (9 units)

For elective offerings, visit the USC Course Catalogue.

Thesis (4 units)

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)

hands on keyboard

Master’s Thesis

The program culminates in a master’s thesis on a topic of the student’s choosing. The thesis provides a structure for the development of a plan to address a research problem and a suitable approach to the analysis and presentation of the results. The equivalent of one year of full-time effort must be devoted to research leading to a master’s thesis.

Mariana Stern, PhD

Mariana Stern, PhD

Director of the Master of Science in Applied Biostatistics and Epidemiology program

Program Director

Mariana Stern, PhD

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