In short, Epidemiology explores what causes diseases, how they are spread, and what populations are affected and are at risk. The MPH in Epidemiology is one of the more common concentrations, as it sets the base for public health.
What is Epidemiology?
According to The World Health Organization, Epidemiology is the “study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events (including disease), and the application of this study to the control of diseases and other health problems.”
Epidemiology MPH Programs:
There are 118 MPH programs in our database that focus on Epidemiology. Because Epidemiology is one of the more generic concentrations of public health, there are combination tracks for some programs. You can expect combined tracks in some of the following areas of public health: Clinical Research, Biostatistics, Disease Control, Maternal and Child Health, Microbial Diseases, International Health, and Occupational Epidemiology.
Through research and analysis, a MPH in Epidemiology degree helps you learn to look at individuals who have certain health conditions and compares their characteristics and environment to those who are healthy or have a differing set of characteristics.
This information is used to plan and develop strategies that aim to prevent disease or manage populations where disease has already spread. Epidemiologists may work in emergency outbreak situations like an Ebola outbreak or with chronic diseases such as obesity.
MPH in Epidemiology vs. MS in Epidemiology
While both a Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology (MPH) and a Masters of Science in Epidemiology (MS) are in the same realm, there are significant differences between the two degrees.
Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology: A Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology (MPH) is considered to be an integrated interdisciplinary degree, meaning the program covers foundational aspects of public health, along with detailed training in Epidemiology and Epidemiologic investigations.
In this program, students learn the entire process of solving epidemiologic public health issues including diagnosing a problem, developing a hypothesis, collecting and analyzing data, and interpreting and reporting the results of their studies to their team of other public health professionals.
Masters of Science in Epidemiology (MS): While an MPH includes foundational material and encompasses all aspects of epidemiologic investigations, the Masters of Science in Epidemiology is purely a research-oriented degree and covers just the research portion of an epidemiologic investigation. Students learn skills in measurement, statistical, and analytic methods, and complete coursework in biostatistics and data management. Upon graduation, students should have a solid foundation in developing hypotheses, data collection, epidemiologic methods and statistical analysis. Graduates of MS in Epidemiology programs typically go on to having careers in public health research, both in the public and private sector.
Top Concentrations Areas for a Masters in Epidemiology
Our directory contains over one hundreds Masters in Public Health in Epidemiology programs, but some have specific concentrations. The following are a sample:
Epidemiology - Clinical Research
Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Epidemiology & Disease Control
Epidemiology & Maternal and Child Health
Epidemiology (Accelerated at 42.5 credits) and (Traditional at 80 credits)
Typical Requirements for Application to an Epidemiology MPH Program
In order to apply to an online MPH in Epidemiology program, students must complete the SOPHAS application, which is the centralized application service for CEPH-accredited schools. Students may use this application for all CEPH-accredited schools they are applying to, as it is a universal application. Depending on the program, the following items may also be required:
Minimum GPA requirement (varies by school)
Letters of recommendation
Typical Requirements to Graduate from an Accredited MP Program
In order to graduate with an MPH in Epidemiology students must typically complete 42 credit hours, a 200-400 hour practicum, and a thesis.
Curriculum – A typical MPH in Epidemiology curriculum is four semesters long and includes courses such as Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Genetics in Epidemiology, Social and Economic Determinants of Population Health, Public Health Informatics, Applied Epidemiology, Applied Biostatistics, Issues in Global Health, Public Health Surveillance, Data Analysis, and Chronic Disease Epidemiology.
Practicum – Most programs require a practicum, which allows students to acquire first hand experience in the field of Epidemiology. During their practicum, students are able to practice skills and methods learned in the classroom and apply such materials to real world experiences. Typically students are able to choose their practicum based on their area of specialization. For example, a student interested in Environmental Epidemiology might choose to base their project on a local waste management facility and spend time on-site exploring a certain topic.
Thesis – The thesis is the culmination of an MPH in Epidemiology and is typically a yearlong project, completed in the second year of the program. Students work with an advisor to choose a topic associated with their specialization. It is a research-based paper that is generally significant in length.
Online MPH in Epidemiology Programs (CEPH Accredited)
Earning a degree online has gone from an abstruse concept to one that is popular among students and attractive to employers. Online degree programs are great opportunities for professionals with busy schedules, those who might not want to relocate to attend an on-campus program, and students who seek lower tuition costs.
When choosing an online Epidemiology MPH program, it’s important to remember to look for programs that are accredited by The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education that accredits schools of public health and public health programs to ensure that they are meeting the proper standards and quality of education. Top CEPH accredited online MPH in Epidemiology programs include:
Online MPH in Epidemiology Sample Courses to Expect
Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Preventing and controlling disease is the cornerstone of epidemiology. In this course, students will learn foundational methods to identify, prevent, and control infectious diseases. Students will use case studies to perform real-world investigations.
Genetics in Epidemiology
In this course, students examine how genetic and environmental factors contribute to the risk of disease in families and populations.
Social and Economic Determinants of Population Health
Obesity, disability, environment, and stress are just a few key social determinants of health in populations that students will study in this course. Students will learn methods and epidemiologic approaches that define population health as well as how social determinants affect public health issues.
Career Possibilities with a MPH in Epidemiology
While there are general opportunities as Epidemiologists in the field, some graduates with an MPH in Epidemiology may work in a variety of different public health specializations, all the while having the goal of identifying, preventing, and stopping infectious diseases. Some of these include the Environmental Health, Research, Medical, and Pharmaceutical fields.
Also known as disease detectives, Field Epidemiologists are the first on the scene of disease outbreaks. They work on the ground level to track, contain, and eliminate disease outbreaks before they become epidemics.
It is the job of the Field Epidemiologist to communicate critical information quickly about the situation to public health officials. They often travel domestically and overseas. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for epidemiologists was $70,820, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $114,510.
The role of an Environmental Epidemiologist is to study how factors from the environment have an affect on the health of a population.
Their research can involve work within populations that have been exposed to air pollution, hazardous waste, pesticides, asbestos, or radiation. They also might investigate the unknown causes of diseases such as cancer and how environmental factors may have had a role in their development.
Clinical Epidemiologists study the way diseases spread. Their jobs are research-based and done in laboratories and in the field as opposed to one-on-one with patients.
Some of the roles of a Clinical Epidemiologist include gathering and analyzing data, develop and oversee clinical studies, and report to public health departments to report on research outcomes and ways to prevent disease. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, Epidemiologists in Research and development earn a median annual wage of $99,560.
Infection Control Epidemiologists specialize in stopping the spread of infectious diseases as well as ensuring the proper procedures are in place should an outbreak occur. They typically work in hospitals or other medical facilities, collecting data through blood samples, observation, and interviews.
It is the job of the Infection Control Epidemiologist to enforce hygiene and cleanliness in hospitals and medical facilities in order to prevent the spread of disease and infection. Those who specialize in this field are particularly skilled in biology, physical science, math, and statistics. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for Epidemiologists working in general medical and surgical hospitals is $78,950.
A pharmaceutical Epidemiologist studies how pharmaceuticals affect the health of a population. Through clinical studies and research, they look at how certain diseases spread due to social trends and other factors within the community.
The job of a Pharmaceutical Epidemiologist is research heavy and they spend the majority of their time in the lab, studying samples and how they react with certain chemicals and drugs. Those who specialize in this field are particularly skilled in biology, chemistry and statistics.