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.

Curriculum

MS in Biostatistics curriculum at-a-glance

Core Coursework

Typically completed in 2 years, the 39-unit degree consists of 8 core courses (28 units), 2 to 5 elective courses (at least 7 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.

Click courses for descriptions.

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. 

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

Statistical methods for analysis of various experimental designs. Parametric analysis of variance (ANOVA), repeated measures methods, crossover designs, non-parametric ANOVA.

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

Density distribution and hazard functions; normal, chi-square, student’s t and F distributions; and sampling procedures for single factor and multiple factor designs, distributions. 

Theory of estimation and testing, inference, analysis of variance, theory of regression. 
Recommended Preparation: college-level calculus and linear algebra. 

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. 

Past thesis titles
  • Modeling Risk Factors for Early Smoking Experimentation in School-Aged Children
  • The Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on the Progression of Carotid IntimaMedia Thickness and Arterial Stiffness in Elderly African American Women: Results of a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial

Program Faculty

Hooman Allayee, Ph.D.

Professor

Jon-Patrick Allem, Ph.D., M.A

Assistant Professor Research

Todd Alonzo, Ph.D.

Professor Research


Group Statistician for Children's Oncology Group

Edward Avol, M.S.

Professor Clinical


Division Chief, Environmental Health

Lourdes Baez Conde, Ph.D., MPH, MA

Professor


Associate Dean for Community Initiatives
Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement

Donald Barkauskas, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Clinical

Jessica Barrington-Trimis, PhD, MS, MA

Assistant Professor

Theresa Bastain, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor Clinical

Britni Belcher, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor

Ahmad Besaratinia, M.P.H., Ph.D.

Associate Professor Research

David Black, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Assistant Professor

Ricky Bluthenthal, Ph.D.

Professor


Associate Dean for Social Justice

Tess Boley Cruz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Clinical

Carrie Breton, Sc.D.

Associate Professor

Jonathan Buckley, Ph.D.

Professor Research

Rita Burke, PhD., MPH

Assistant Professor Clinical

Lida Chatzi, MD, PhD

Professor

Jiu-Chiuan Chen, M.D., Sc.D.

Associate Professor

Zhanghua Chen, PhD

Assistant Professor

Charleston Chiang, PhD

Assistant Professor

Junhan Cho, PhD

Assistant Professor Research

Farzana Choudhury, PhD

Assistant Professor Clinical

Myles Cockburn, Ph.D.

Professor

David Conti, Ph.D.

Professor

Victoria Cortessis, PhD

Associate Professor Clinical


Director of Research in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Michael Cousineau, Dr.PH.

Professor Clinical

Wendy Cozen, D.O., MPH

Professor


Leader, Translational Epidemiology
Director, Population-based Tissue Procurement Core

Ha Dang, PhD

Assistant Professor Clinical

Kayla de la Haye, PhD

Assistant Professor

Genevieve Dunton, Ph.D, MPH

Professor and Psychology

Sandrah Eckel, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Albert Farias, MPH, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Shohreh Farzan, PhD

Assistant Professor

Laura Ferguson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Meredith Franklin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Clinical

Erika Garcia,

Assistant Professor

William Gauderman, Ph.D.

Professor

Frank Gilliland, M.D., MPH, Ph.D.

Professor

Sofia Gruskin, JD, MIA

Director, Institute on Inequalities in Global Health


Director
Professor (Keck)
Professor, Law (Gould)

Rima Habre, MSc, ScD

Assistant Professor Clinical

Christopher Haiman, Sc.D.

Professor, AFLAC Chair in Cancer Research, Division Chief, Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics

Ann Hamilton, PhD, MA

Professor Research

Jaana Hartiala, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Clinical

Susanne Hempel, PhD

Professor Research

Megan Herting, PhD

Assistant Professor

Jimi Huh, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Research

Amie Hwang, PhD

Assistant Professor Clinical

Sue Ingles, Dr.P.H.

Associate Professor

Khandaker Islam, MBBS, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Research

Lingyun Ji, PhD

Assistant Professor Clinical

Jill Johnston, PhD

Assistant Professor

Roksana Karim, Ph.D., MB.BS.

Associate Professor Clinical

Sue Kim, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor Clinical

Matthew Kirkpatrick, PhD

Assistant Professor Research

Mark Krailo, Ph.D.

Professor Research

Shubha Kumar, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Associate Professor Clinical

Eunjung Lee, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Research

Adam Leventhal, Ph.D.

Professor

Juan Pablo Lewinger, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Clinical

Chun Li,

Visiting Professor

Ming Li,

Professor Research

Lihua Liu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Clinical

Thomas Mack, M.D., M.P.H.

Professor

Wendy Mack, Ph.D.

Professor

Nicholas Mancuso, PhD

Assistant Professor

Paul Marjoram, Ph.D.

Professor Research

Tyler Mason, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Clinical

Rob McConnell, M.D.

Professor

Roberta McKean-Cowdin, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Clinical

Daniella Meeker, PhD

Assistant Professor


Director of Clinical Research Informatics

Huaiyu Mi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Research

Joel Milam, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Research


Head of Health Behavior Research Postdoctoral Program
Program Leader for Cancer Control

Kimberly Miller, PhD, MPH

Assistant Professor Clinical

Joshua Millstein, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Research


Interim Director of Biostatistics Core

Elahe Nezami, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Clinical and Medical Education (Educational Scholar)


Associate Dean for Undergraduate, Masters and Professional Programs

Raina Pang, PhD

Assistant Professor Research

Cecilia Patino Sutton, Ph.D., MD, MeD

Associate Professor (Educational Scholar)

Maryann Pentz, Ph.D.

Professor


Sidney R. Garfield Chair in Health Sciences
Director, Institute for Prevention Research

Jin Piao, PhD

Assistant Professor Clinical

Linda Polfus, PhD

Assistant Professor Clinical

Lindsay Renfro, PhD

Associate Professor Research

Anamara Ritt, PhD

Assistant Professor Clinical

Louise Rohrbach, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Associate Professor Clinical

Veronica Setiawan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Kimberly Siegmund, Ph.D.

Professor

Sabrina Smiley, PhD

Assistant Professor Research

Claradina Soto, PhD

Assistant Professor Clinical

Jane Steinberg, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Assistant Professor Clinical

Mariana Stern, Ph.D.

Professor Clinical and Urology

Daniel Stram, Ph.D.

Professor

Steven Sussman, Ph.D., FAAHB, FAPA

Professor

Duncan Thomas, Ph.D.

Professor


Verna R. Richter Chair in Cancer Research

Paul Thomas, Ph.D.

Professor


Director, Division of Bioinformatics

Stella Tommasi, PhD

Assistant Professor Research

Jennifer Unger, Ph.D.

Professor


Associate Training Director

Thomas Valente, Ph.D.

Professor Interim Chair

David Van Den Berg, PhD

Professor Clinical

Jun Wang, MD

Assistant Professor Research

Richard Watanabe, Ph.D.

Professor

Joseph Wiemels,

Professor

Melissa Wilson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Clinical

Heather Wipfli, Ph.D.

Associate Professor Clinical and International Relations

Mellissa Withers, PhD, MHS

Associate Professor Clinical

Anna Wu-Williams, Ph.D.

Professor

Admissions Requirements

The program will consider applicants who satisfy all requirements for admission to the Graduate School:

  • A Bachelor's degree and minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0; official transcripts from each accredited college or university attended
  • Prospective biostatistics students should have undergraduate degrees in mathematics, statistics, computer science or related fields. Undergraduate preparation should have included differential and integral calculus, introduction to mathematical statistics and basic computer programming. 
  • A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score – Verbal and Quantitative.
  • Send official GRE scores to school code 2048. If using MCAT, GMAT, DAT, or LSAT scores please e-mail reneesta@usc.edu for further submission.
  • Records of GRE scores are purged after 5 years. Please visit the Educational Testing Service  for GRE exam information.
  • Applicants may substitute MCAT (< 3 years old), GMAT (< 5 years old), DAT (< 5 years old) or LSAT (< 5 years old) in lieu of the GRE requirement
  • A minimum of three (3) letters of recommendation. (ALL letters must be less than a year old and on department letterhead. At least one letter must be academic. We do not accept letters from peer colleagues or friends.)
  • A Statement of Purpose of approximately 2-3 pages addressing the following questions: Why are you interested in pursuing the MPH Degree? How will an MPH Degree affect or enhance your career aspirations and goals?
  • A Curriculum vitae (C.V.) or resume

Applicants not meeting Graduate School requirements for regular standing may, with approval of the Graduate School, be conditionally admitted.

Additional requirements for international applicants »

Application Deadlines

MS Programs Deadline: April 1, 2020

Term starts May 20, 2020

Apply now »

MS Programs Deadline: June 1, 2020

Term starts August 24, 2020

Apply now »

MS Programs Deadline: TBA

Term starts January 11, 2021.

Apply now »

Learn about financial aid »