Epidemiology is the science of analyzing patterns in illnesses and outbreaks across different population levels. In a Master of Science (M.S.) in Epidemiology program, students can choose from either a research or a clinical track and have to complete a thesis. Through a curriculum covering epidemiology principles, biostatistics, surveillance systems maintenance, data gathering and interpretation, chronic diseases and public health, they learn how to track the effect of certain illnesses on various demographics based on age, race, population levels and other factors.
These programs are usually one year long and are aimed at individuals interested in public health administration or clinical research careers. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and they need to have completed substantial undergraduate coursework in biological science, as well as algebra and calculus. They must also submit acceptable Graduate Records Exam (GRE) scores.
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Master of Science (M.S.) in Epidemiology
Since these programs expect students to have already completed fundamental biological science and math coursework prior to enrollment, the curriculum delves right into the advanced concepts of the field of study. Core curriculum in a master's epidemiology program can include courses topics like the following:
- Epidemiology methods
- Clinical research
- Chronic disease epidemiology
- Cancer epidemiology
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Graduates often go on to work for government agencies, general medical and surgical hospitals, health research centers, universities and scientific development service centers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for epidemiologists is going to grow at a rate of 6% over the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). The mean annual salary of these professionals was $76,900 as of May 2015.
Epidemiology certification is voluntary. The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology is available for individuals who have at least a baccalaureate degree, as well as proven experience in the field of infection control and research. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology also offer designations.
Individuals who are interested in pursuing epidemiological studies can enroll in a master's degree program in the field. To improve their prospects for a job in the medical field, they may pursue professional certification after completing the degree.