Public health epidemiology graduate programs are usually offered as master's or doctoral degree programs in public health with a concentration in epidemiology. These degree programs are typically research-based, include hands-on learning experiences and require a culminating paper. Here we compare the master's and doctoral programs and their requirements.
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Master of Public Health vs. Doctor of Public Health in Epidemiology
Master of Public Health in Epidemiology
There are several Master of Public Health (MPH) degree programs available that offer an emphasis or concentration in epidemiology. These degree programs may vary from about 42 credits to 51 units and may be completed in about 2 years in a traditional format. Some programs may offer accelerated formats, part-time formats or dual degree options and students are typically required to complete a thesis for a final capstone experience. Some MPH programs may have an additional applied practice experience to give students hands-on learning opportunities through part-time positions or internships with various public health organizations that total 200 to 400 hours. Students in these degree programs may take courses in topics like epidemiology, biostatistics, infectious disease, chronic disease and health services administration, and could work jobs as educators, researchers or public health practitioners.
Doctor of Public Health in Epidemiology
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in Epidemiology programs typically allow students to further specialize within the field of epidemiology through training programs in areas like neuro-epidemiology, substance abuse epidemiology and psychiatric epidemiology, or choosing an area of emphasis, such as women's health epidemiology, clinical trials and methods and cancer epidemiology. Coursework requirements for these degree programs vary, but may require around 72 credits and typically require a dissertation. Some programs may also offer and/or require doctoral seminars, a practicum experience and teaching responsibilities. Specific course topics depend largely on a student's area of concentration, but students in these programs may take courses in research methods, epidemiology, statistics, ethics, grant writing, clinical trials and public health. These degree programs are usually designed to prepare graduates for advanced and/or leadership positions in research, academia and public health.
Common Entrance Requirements
Students applying to MPH in Epidemiology programs must have at least a bachelor's degree, while some DrPH programs require students to hold an MPH and have a specific number of years of work experience. Most of these degree programs at both the master's and doctoral levels require students to have GRE scores and some programs may also require a minimum GPA around a 2.85 or higher. Students may also need to have prior coursework in areas like statistics and sciences. Applicants for public health programs in epidemiology are likely to need to include transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement and/or a resume with their application. Students commonly submit their application to the public health departments through SOPHAS, but may also need to complete a general application to the university.
Students can earn an MPH or DrPH in Epidemiology to prepare for careers in academia, research or public health. Both degree programs require a final paper (thesis or dissertation), but doctoral programs typically require more coursework and may include teaching responsibilities.