The MPP program requires a foundational background in statistics for all students. Incoming MPP students must complete three prerequisites: a college-level statistics course and two pre-semester program labs.
All entering MPP 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 502x each summer. Students may also choose to satisfy the requirement by taking a summer course at another institution.
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 MPP students are required to participate in the Statistics/STATA Lab as well as the Professional Fundamentals Lab. The labs meet the Thursday, Friday and
Saturday prior to the start of the fall semester and on the first Friday of the 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, MPA 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 enabling online viewing.
Prior lab series topics include:
Introduction to Tableau
Effective Team Management
R for Statistical Computing
Introduction to GIS
Intermediate and Advanced Excel
Using Census Data for Social Science Research
Survey Design and Analysis
Effective Policy Communication
Visual Representation of Data
Overview of Political Institutions
Leadership as Improvisation
Strategic Thinking and Decision Making
Public Speaking Fundamentals
Legal Issues in City Management
NGO Design and Management