The MPPDS program requires a foundational background in statistics for all students. Incoming MPPDS students must complete three prerequisites: a college-level statistics course and two pre-semester program labs.
All entering MPPDS students are required to demonstrate proficiency in foundational statistical methods. The statistics prerequisite can be satisfied in one of two ways:
Completion of a college-level statistics or econometrics course with a grade of “B” or better within three years of matriculation. At minimum, prior coursework must have included essential topics in descriptive and inferential statistics such as measures of central tendency and precision, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. If relevant statistical coursework was completed more than three years prior, a waiver may be granted based on the level of statistical training completed and the degree to which currency with this material was maintained through subsequent professional use.
If a student has not completed a college-level statistics course with a grade of “B” or better within three years of matriculation, they will need to complete a summer course prior to starting the MPP program. USC offers PPD 504 Essential Statistics for Public Management each summer; a grade of “C” or better in PPD 504 is sufficient to satisfy the statistics prerequisite. Students may also choose to satisfy the requirement by taking a summer course at another institution. The course must be for a grade and earn a grade of “B” or better.
The Professional Fundamentals and Statistics/STATA Labs provide an introduction to the program, acclimate students to skills that will be further developed in their first-semester courses, and help to create a genuine camaraderie within the first-year student cohort. Entering MPPDS students are required to participate in the Statistics/STATA Lab as well as the Professional Fundamentals Lab. The labs meet the week before the start of the fall semester. The Professional Fundamentals lab will lead directly into PPD 554 Foundations for Policy Analysis, while the Statistics/STATA lab will provide initial exposure to the statistical software that will be utilized extensively in PPD 558 Multivariate Statistical Analysis.
Statistics/STATA Lab topics include:
• Brief review of inferential and descriptive statistics
• Introduction to STATA software
• Creating graphs in STATA
• Introduction to datasets in STATA
• Importing and manipulating datasets in STATA
• Data management
Professional Fundamentals Lab topics include:
• Research tools and fundamentals
• Essential policy communication skills
• Policy writing fundamentals
• Effective presentation and PowerPoint tools
• Developing a learning community
Throughout the program, MPP and MPPDS students are invited to attend labs which are designed to introduce various professional skills and topics considered fundamental to public policy analysis. Labs are available to attend in-person and also recorded to enable online viewing.
Prior lab series topics include: