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Epidemiology Degree Programs - Master's and Bachelor's :: Safety Degrees Guide

Degrees in Epidemiology


Degree in EpidemiologyEpidemiology degree options include both doctoral  and master’s levels. To enter into a master’s program it may be required to have an advanced professional or a degree bachelor’s degree in a science-related or health field. A doctorate program tends to focus on analysis and research and includes independent study opportunities and fieldwork.

Students who are interested in obtaining an epidemiology degree are going to need to attend a university or college that offers a degree in epidemiology. Some examples of careers in epidemiology include:

  • Public health advocacy
  • Employment by a government agency that responds to outbreaks and epidemics
  • Scientific journalism

Epidemiology is the study of disease epidemics, looking at the ways epidemics emerge, how they are spreading, and how they can be controlled. This science requires an extensive knowledge of the sciences, because epidemiologist needs to be able to study vectors of disease, disease-causing agents, and other scientific topics.

This course also requires anthropological and sociological skills, because epidemiologists are actively interacting with real people in communities all over the world, and it also helps to have a sense of history and good communication skills while working as an epidemiologist.

The earlier the individual  decides that they are interested in a career in epidemiology, the better are preparations that can be made. High school students knowing that they want to obtain an epidemiology degree should plan on taking lots of science classes in order to hit the ground running in college.

Master’s Degree in Epidemiology

There are two degree programs which are available for those who are interested in earning a master’s degree in epidemiology:

  1. A Master of Science (M.S.) degree is created for students wanting to gain quantitative research skills which are needed in the industry. Secondary data analysis and literature review may be required in M.S. programs.
  2. For students with a background in quantitative analysis a Master of Public Health (MPH) is available. This degree will preparethem for future participation in the analysis and design of epidemiological research studies.

Master’s Degree in Epidemiology Program Coursework

Students may start off with the capstone projects which can include internship opportunities. Some programs require research activities or data analysis culminating in a thesis. Generally courses include:

  • Biostatistics
  • Statistics in epidemiology
  • Epidemiology principles
  • Infectious disease
  • Epidemiology of diabetes
  • Epidemiology of cancer
  • American healthcare system
  • Environmental health

A student, for an undergraduate epidemiology degree, should follow the requirements which are set out by the department when they get to college. While many schools may shoehorn epidemiology into the biological sciences, there are some that are offering degrees specifically in epidemiology. A large amount of students is interested in epidemiology go on to do graduate work, and that will require a graduate application to a school with a graduate-level epidemiology department or a school of public health, and preparation in the form of extracurricular experience and sufficient coursework to impress an admissions committee.

Doctorate Degree in Epidemiology

Students best suited for a doctorate in epidemiology work in the healthcare field or have already acquired a master’s in epidemiology. Doctoral programs prepare students to collaborate with other scientists and develop and test new theories. Graduates of this program use the skills they learned to conduct research in areas including nutrition, psychiatry, infectious diseases, and cancer. This degree program may take two-four years to finish. A doctoral student might be required to complete a dissertation and perform research.

Doctorate Degree in Epidemiology Program Coursework

Some schools require a student to start a doctoral program in a pre-candidate level, wherein they presents an individual research program prospectus in addition to completing required coursework and complete an examination. Coursework may consist of:

  • Dissertation research
  • Probability
  • Biostatistical methods
  • Data analysis
  • Analytical foundations of epidemiology

Schools Offering Online Epidemiology Degree Programs

Emory University Rollins School of Public Health

The Rollins School of Public Health is offering a Master of Public Health program online with a focusing in Applied Epidemiology. This program is created for students who wish to work in a practice-based setting, such as a government public health agency.

Walden University

Walden University is offering an online Ph.D. program in Public Health with a specialization in the Epidemiology. The program combines practice and theory. The focus is on community health and the curriculum takes political, economic and medical factors into consideration.


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