Master of Science in Epidemiology

The Master of Science in Epidemiology provides students with a fundamental grounding in the principles of epidemiology and its companion discipline, biostatistics (which includes training in statistical computing), with an emphasis on the application of these disciplines to public health research. The program has a structured curriculum and thesis requirement, both of which emphasize the development of quantitative research skills and the application of these skills to real-world public health problems. The program is designed primarily for health care clinicians interested in research careers. Exceptional students with other backgrounds may be considered. Graduates of the program assume research-oriented positions in academic settings, government, or private industries.

Program Competencies

In addition to meeting the epidemiology competencies for MPH students concentrating in Epidemiology, students in the MS in Epidemiology will be able to:

  • Develop a scientific hypothesis, beginning with a review of existing literature, and design an epidemiologic study to assess the hypothesis validly and efficiently
  • Develop competence in a chosen substantive area of epidemiology for which competence requires a proficient understanding of risk factors for the disease(s), the impact of the disease(s) on populations, and an awareness of methodologic issues specific to the substantive area
  • Analyze a complex epidemiologic data set using at least one computer-aided tool, such as Excel or SAS
  • Communicate the results of research both orally and in writing, with the written presentation meeting the current standards of publication in refereed journals
  • Critically evaluate in writing a published epidemiologic investigation, with respect to:
    • the choice of study population and design
    • measurement of the exposure, disease, and covariates
    • the data description and analytic method
    • the investigator’s interpretation of the study’s findings

MS Requirements

To fulfill the requirements for the MS degree, students are expected to complete 32 credits (eight courses) with a minimum grade point average of B (3.0) and grades of at least a B in all required courses. Course listings can be found the SPH Bulletin and the MS Concentrator’s Guide.

Students enrolled in the MS degree program are also required to complete a thesis. The completed thesis must constitute the equivalent of one epidemiologic paper that meets the current standards of publication in refereed journals. Thesis research will involve the processing and analysis of data. The student is encouraged but not required to conduct original data collection. Once the thesis is complete, it must be approved by the thesis committee and one outside reader. After approval, the student will give an oral presentation of the thesis research. Thesis guidelines and sample pages are available.

The maximum time permitted to complete all of the degree requirements is four years. Students are required to complete at least 24 credits of coursework as degree candidates in residence.

For more information about the program, please contact Dr. Ann Aschengrau, program director.