Master of Science in Biostatistics


The Master of Science in Biostatistics is designed for students interested in applying statistical methods to the design and analysis of biomedical research and clinical investigations data.

The program focuses on the theory of biostatistics, data analytic methods, experimental design (including the design, conduct and analysis of clinical trials), statistical methods in human genetics, biomedical informatics and advanced statistical computing methods. Statistical methods are taught both from a practical and theoretical perspective.

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 core courses (26 units), elective courses (at least 9 units) and a master’s thesis (4 units). During the program, students take part in research teams assisting with study design, data coordination and management, statistical analysis and reporting of results.

Core Coursework (26-28 Units)

Statistical Theory Requirement

Students who wish to pursue a PhD in Biostatistics are recommended to enroll in PM 522a and PM 522b.

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)

Electives (remaining units)

For elective offerings, visit the USC Course Catalogue.

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.

Trevor Pickering, PhD

Trevor Pickering, PhD

Director of the Master of Science in Biostatistics program

Program Director

A Message from Trevor Pickering

When I reflect on my motivation to become a biostatistician, the words of John Tukey come to mind: “The best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone’s backyard.” As part of the Keck School of Medicine, we are positioned in an environment with tremendous research opportunities (or should I say, “backyards to play in”). The Master of Science in Biostatistics program connects you to these opportunities, whether your interest is in data analysis, clinical research, or methods development.

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