Epidemiology Degree and Training Programs

Epidemiology focuses on disease prevention and public health. Degree programs in this field are typically offered at the graduate level, whether in a master's or doctoral degree format; joint M.D. programs in epidemiology are also available. Find out what you'd study in an epidemiology program, and check if online learning is an option for this field. Schools offering Epidemiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind of Degree and Training Programs Are Offered in Epidemiology?

Although you may find some bachelor's degree epidemiology programs, this field is usually only offered as a graduate degree program. Some of the program titles you may find include Master of Public Health in Epidemiology, Master of Science in Public Health in Epidemiology, Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology (MSCE), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Epidemiology, as well as joint degree programs such as Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)/MSCE or M.D./Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

Degree LevelUndergraduate and graduate
Online Course DeliveryE-mail, online lectures, online course management system
Common CoursesBasic principles of epidemiological research, environmental health, evaluating diagnostic tests, statistical theory, interpreting biostatistics methods
Possible CareersHealth data analyst, public health epidemiologist, infection control officer, cancer epidemiologist, epidemiology investigator

The master's degree training is usually a general epidemiology education, while the M.D. and Ph.D. studies are research-based. Most students pursuing a graduate degree in epidemiology currently hold a bachelor's degree in biology or a premedical related field.

Are the Programs Offered Online?

Some schools offer epidemiology degree programs through distance learning. If you're currently working in the health field, you can continue to work and gain experience while earning your degree. As an online student, you'll need a computer with Internet access and an e-mail address. Your courses and assignments are delivered through e-mail, online lectures or an online course management system. You're provided with technical assistance and online help when needed. Most of your courses are online, but you may have to make a few on-campus visits throughout the semester.

What Will I Learn?

As an epidemiology graduate student, you'll develop the skills to interpret and study a health problem, collect and assess data and report your medical findings. Your curriculum includes coursework and clinical education, which may include workshops, lectures, seminars and laboratory sessions. Depending on the program you choose, you may have to complete a practicum or capstone project and complete a field internship. Some programs require the completion of a research thesis, dissertation, research assistantship or teaching assistantship.

Although courses vary by program, topics of study may include:

  • Basic principles of epidemiological research
  • Interpreting biostatistics methods
  • Injury and violence prevention
  • Evaluating diagnostic tests
  • Statistical theory
  • Environmental health issues
  • Non-communicable disease epidemiology
  • Clinical epidemiology concepts

What Are My Career Options?

With a graduate degree in epidemiology, you may find career opportunities in government agencies, hospitals, health departments and medical facilities. Some of the possible job titles may include public health epidemiologist, cancer epidemiologist, epidemiology investigator, health data analyst, infection control officer or infectious disease epidemiologist. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that epidemiologists should experience excellent job opportunities, with those involved in research finding the best opportunities (www.bls.gov).

The increase of rare, infectious diseases is a major factor in the demand for epidemiologists. According to the BLS, epidemiologists were projected to see an employment growth of 6% from 2014-2024. O*Net reported that epidemiologists earned an annual median wage of $67,420 in 2014 (online.onetcenter.org).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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