The program requires 30 total units (excluding Math 594, Masters Thesis Course) with 6 required courses. As students may take PM 511A in group (C) below, this leaves at least 5 required courses inside the Mathematics Department. Students must take an additional 12 units of  “advisor approved courses”.  Although there is no restriction as to how many courses students can take outside of the department, everything outside the list of the 6 required courses will be on a per course approval basis. For a list of previously approved courses, see the Electives section. See the USC Catalogue for course descriptions. All courses taken for the Masters must be taken for a letter grade, per USC’s policy.

Also according to USC’s policy as stated in the course catalog, at least two thirds of units applied toward the degree must be at the 500 level or higher.  Hence, at least 20 of the 30 units must be at the 500 level or higher, and no more than 10 units at the 400 level (and nothing lower).

Students must either pass written examinations (“screening exams”) covering the material from MATH 505A or MATH 507A, and MATH 541AB, or they may opt for writing a master’s thesis (with registration in MATH 594AB).  The screening exams are normally given each semester, around the fourth week of classes. Students must pass MATH 505A or MATH 507A, and MATH 541AB with a grade of B or higher. If a student receives a grade of B- or lower in any of these courses, the requirement can be waived upon passing the screening exam for the course at the master’s level or higher. Information on the screening exams, including copies of past exams, can be found here and here courtesy of the Mathematics Graduate Student Association.

At most 4 units of credit can be credited from courses taken at other universities. In order to receive such credit, once at USC, the student should first verify that the credits were transferred into USC by checking their admission credit evaluation, and then have the units approved specifically for the statistics masters program.

Students concurrently pursing a PhD in Pure or Applied Math should note that courses within the Mathematics Department can be used for both requirements of the statistics masters as well as the overall PhD unit count.

Course Requirements

Thirty units of course work are required, including:

MATH 541AB    Introduction to Mathematical Statistics (3+3 units)

MATH 550    Seminar in Statistical Consulting    (3 units)

and one course from each of options A, B, C:


MATH 505A    Applied Probability   (3 units)   [or 505B]
MATH 507A    Theory of Probability    (3 units)   [or 507B]


MATH 542L    Analysis of Variance and Design    (3 units)
MATH 545L    Introduction to Time Series    (3 units)


MATH 501    Numerical Analysis and Computation   (3 units)
MATH 502A    Numerical Analysis    (3 units)
PM 511A    Data Analysis    (4 units)

plus at least 12 units of advisor approved courses.