Online programs in epidemiology are typically offered as a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in epidemiology. While students can generally complete lectures and assignments online, these programs may require some weekend sessions to be completed on campus, providing students with hands-on research and lab experience. However, some schools do offer fully online programs using multimedia platforms for labs. In addition to lectures and labs, some programs include a practicum requirement.
Master of Public Health in Epidemiology
Students seeking online graduate degrees in epidemiology will find that most schools offer Web-based master's degree programs in public health that include an epidemiology curriculum track. Classes typically include biostatistics, epidemiology lab and data analysis, in addition to a selection of core public health courses. These courses usually cover the social, economic and political aspects of health issues and how society manages them.
Many online masters of epidemiology programs can be completed within three years, if students take two courses per semester. Although the majority of the program's coursework is completed online, some schools require students to attend one or two on-campus sessions per week. Usually, these sessions take place on weekends or in the evening and give students the opportunity to complete lab experiments and research. The program's lectures, assignments and exams are downloaded from the Internet and completed at each student's own pace.
In order to access all of the course materials, students must have a reliable Internet connection and be running their computer's current operating system. Students will also need to have software that plays and reads media of all types. Some programs may require students to have a working knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet software.
An online master's degree program in epidemiology includes general public health courses in addition to epidemiology classes. Students typically have a handful of public health prerequisites to complete before they can move on to their epidemiology classes.
Social Behavior in Public Health
This course discusses the concerns and approaches to promoting public health programs in specific communities, as well as methods of health education. Students also study techniques used in behavioral research.
Introduction to Biostatistics
Students in this course are taught the most basic aspects of data collection and analysis, as well as probability and different statistical methods. College algebra is usually a prerequisite for this course.
This class trains students to describe the health conditions of populations and how to assess the occurrence of diseases in those populations.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), epidemiologists are often in high demand due to a shortage of skilled individuals applying for open positions. A growing global awareness of bioterrorism and chemical warfare has also increased the job prospects for this occupation. The BLS projected job growth of 6% for epidemiologists from 2014-2024. As of May 2015, the median yearly salary for an epidemiologist was $69,450 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
Some professional research opportunities in epidemiology may require either a Ph.D. or medical degree. Students looking for more advanced training will find that many schools offer Ph.D. programs in epidemiology.
Online programs that include epidemiology are generally offered as a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in epidemiology and can include on-campus lab requirements. Program coursework typically covers a variety of topics, including social behavior in public health and biostatistics.