USC MPH Biostatistics-Epidemiology Concentration

Biostatistics-Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the study of disease and disability including its distribution, occurrence, determinants and controls in human populations. Biostatistics involves research and management focused on guiding the design, analysis, interpretation and presentation of health science data. With over 50 faculty with expertise in biostatistics and epidemiology, USC is a leader in biostatistical and epidemiological training for academia, government and biomedical research. This is an extremely exciting time in the world of biomedical research with sequencing data from Human Genome Project available, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) accessible, and ongoing discoveries in the biological sciences for new risk factors, treatments and prevention of disease. We are delighted to be able to offer MPH students a comprehensive set of courses that teach different approaches to understanding the distribution and determinants of disease in populations in order to generate knowledge that can be used to improve public health.

MPH students in this concentration will take the public health core courses plus 24 units of concentration- specific coursework (16 units of concentration core courses + 8 units of elective courses) ranging in topics that include data analysis, statistical programming, research methods, cancer research, genetics, and bioinformatics.

Concentration Curriculum
Concentration Directors

William Gauderman, Ph.D.

Professor

Amie Hwang, PhD

Assistant Professor Clinical

Frequently Asked Questions
  • To learn to use statistical procedures, techniques and methodology to identify health trends
  • To learn to use the concepts and tools associated with biostatistics and epidemiology to determine what causes disease or injury, what the risks are, who is at risk and how to prevent further incidences.
  • To identify and understand trends that influence disease
  • To evaluate new treatments for disease
  • Apply methods learned to design and analyze case-control and population based studies
  • Identify risk factors associated with different diseases
  • Perform outbreak investigations
  • Perform statistical analysis of public health programs
  • Identify health trends within communities
  • Apply knowledge and skills learned to determine causes of disease and injury
  • Program Manager
  • Database Manager
  • Program analyst
  • Epidemiology analyst
Coursework

Click courses for descriptions.

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

Prerequisite: PM 510

Statistical methods for analysis of categorical data including dichotomous, ordinal, multinomial and count data, using Stata package. Includes a laboratory session.

Prerequisite: PM 511a

And choose two of the following:

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

Prerequisite: PM 512

An overview of environmental health, identifying issues in assessing effects of exposure on health and potential interventions for reducing adverse health risks.

Prerequisite: PM 512

Overview of concepts, tools, data collection, analysis methods and designs used to evaluate health promotion programs. Examples from substance abuse prevention, family planning and reproductive health programs.

Overview of causative factors and demographic distribution of major chronic diseases in the western world. Epidemiologic concepts, methods and research design as applied to chronic disease prevention will be emphasized.

Prerequisite: PM 512

 
Elective Options

Click courses for descriptions.

*May receive credit for concentration core or concentration elective only.

Historical development of the American health care system; determinants of health care utilization; role of health care providers; health policy; public health services; and health care finance. 

Exploration of the interplay between systems, policy, advocacy, programs, and research with sexually transmitted infections. Issues such as health literacy, access to care, and evidence-based interventions designed to avert disparities in health, especially sexual health, will be evaluated.

Recommended Preparation: PM 501 and PM 512

Advanced training in multivariate statistical techniques involving general linear modeling, mixed modeling and basic latent variables analysis in health behavior research 

Prerequisite: PM 511aL and PM 511bL  

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

Prerequisite: PM 511a and PM 518a

Overview of epidemiologic research in cancer. Selected cancer sites will be covered to highlight study design and conduct, exposure assessment, data analysis and interpretation.
Prerequisite: PM 517a

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

Prerequisite: PM 512.

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.

Prerequisite: PM 511a

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

Prerequisite: PM 512.

An overview of environmental health, identifying issues in assessing effects of exposure on health and potential interventions for reducing adverse health risks.

Prerequisite: PM 512.

With a physiological overview, differentiates genetic and environmental disease; emphasis on the relationships between lifestyle, behavior, and health.

Prerequisite: admission to PhD in Preventive Medicine, Health Behavior Research or basic biology.

History and philosophy of public health genetics and mechanisms of genetic diseases. Epidemiologic methods used to identify genetic diseases in individuals, families, and populations. Emphasis on prevention and relevant ethical issues.

Recommended Preparation: PM 512.

Overview of concepts, tools, data collection, analysis methods and designs used to evaluate health promotion programs. Examples from substance abuse prevention, family planning and reproductive health programs.

Overview of causative factors and demographic distribution of major chronic diseases in the western world. Epidemiologic concepts, methods and research design as applied to chronic disease prevention will be emphasized.

Prerequisite: PM 512.

Overview of current topics, enabling technologies, research initiatives, and practical considerations in biomedical informatics.
Instruction Mode: Lecture

Theory, methods and procedures of network analysis with emphasis on applications to public health programs.

History of biowarfare and bioterrorism; proper surveillance techniques, capacity building for public health and medical communities, and the importance of effective communications. Methods of preparedness, prevention and response are examined.

Recommended Preparation: PM 512.

Examination of important routes of exposure to toxic materials; how to measure exposure; strengths and weaknesses of different measurement techniques; design of exposure assessment studies.

Recommended Preparation: PM 510 or one semester of statistics and

Examines the interrelationships among biology, the environment and health, including the fundamental principles of basic toxicology and biology underlying environmental health effects.

Recommended Preparation: PM 529

Examine epidemiologic methods, concepts, and statistical approaches; case-study seminars with structured critiques of current literature on human-environment interactions affecting public health.

Recommended Preparation: PM 510 and PM 512.

The contents include: R objects, control structure, data input and output, subsetting objects, data manipulation and aggregations, character manipulation, graphics, and writing user-defined functions.

Recommended Preparation: Knowledge of one programming language other than R or a half-year experience programming in R.

Programming using SAS Software, including branching, sub-setting, PDV, looping, by-group processing, array, combining data functions, ODS, and macros.

Introduction to reproductive health, from preconception to the neonatal and early period of human development. Heavy emphasis on the methods and public health implications.

Prerequisite: PM 510L and PM 512

Introduction to common uses of qualitative research methods in public health research and application. Methods include ethnography, participant observation, open-ended interviewing, and focus groups.

This information is an effort on the part of your advisor to help you plan your academic program. It is not an official document.

For program requirements, please refer to your USC Catalogue .

Courses listed may be offered irregularly. Check the USC schedule of classes  for semester-specific course offerings and/or meet with your advisor to discuss available options for your concentration.