M.S. in Epidemiology

General

Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Georgetown University offers a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology, a core discipline in public health. Epidemiology is the study (scientific, systematic, and data-driven) of the distribution (frequency, pattern) and determinants (causes, risk factors) of health-related states and events (not just diseases) in specified populations (neighborhood, school, city, state, country, global). The epidemiology program addresses health disparities as a crosscutting theme at the local, national, and global levels via didactic training, practicums, and applied ‘hands-on’ research leading to the written thesis.

The M.S. in Epidemiology program is a 4-semester program requiring each student to complete 34 credit hours. These 34 credit hours are comprised of 22 credits of core courses, and at least 12 credits in concentration-specific courses, inclusive of a thesis.

All students take a sequence of core courses in epidemiology, health disparities research, and an introduction to the program’s concentrations. Students then choose one of the three areas of concentrations offered for their electives and thesis focus.

HEALTH DISPARITIES AS A PROGRAM THEME

A unique feature of the Master's in Epidemiology program at Georgetown University is the crosscutting theme of Health Disparities, motivated by Georgetown University’s commitment to social justice and community engagement, and aims to train students as public health researchers, practitioners, and leaders in recognition, investigation, and elimination of local, regional, national, and global health disparities.

Healthy People 2020 (https://www.healthypeople.gov) defines health disparity as “a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.”

To realize Healthy People 2020 goals of achieving health equity, eliminating disparities, and improving the health of all groups requires a well-trained cadre of public health professionals, including epidemiologists. The M.S. in Epidemiology program is designed to provide graduate students with a firm foundation in the application of epidemiological methods to the study of health disparities across various health-related states or events, including infectious and chronic diseases.

This is achieved through development of core competencies in the students’ ability to understand the principles of social justice and health equity and recognize the biological, social, economic, and political determinants of health disparities nationally and globally; understand and apply epidemiologic methods to the investigation of health disparities; understand the role of community-based and community-engaged research in the amelioration of health disparities; and, recognize existing disparities across common health conditions and specific methods to eliminate such disparities. The location of the program in the nation’s capital offers a rich and rewarding environment for academic and scholastic excellence.

Curriculum

The M.S. in Epidemiology program is a 4-semester program requiring each student to complete 34 credit hours. These 34 credit hours are comprised of 22 credits of core courses, and at least 12 credits in concentration-specific courses, inclusive of a thesis.

All students take a sequence of core courses in epidemiology, health disparities research, and an introduction to the program’s concentrations. Students then choose one of the three areas of concentrations offered for their electives and thesis focus.

Program Concentrations

There are three concentrations within the M.S. in Epidemiology program:

  • Social and Behavioral Epidemiology (SBE)
  • Cancer Epidemiology (CE)
  • Infectious Disease Epidemiology (IDE)

The Social & Behavioral Epidemiology concentration provides graduate students with a command of essential concepts and skills in epidemiology and a solid foundation in human social and behavioral science theories, research methods, and their application to clinical and public health challenges, including disparities in social and behavioral health. Students who choose this concentration will develop competency in topics such as social determinants of health, health promotion, and risk and resilient behaviors in disease prevention and control. The concentration in social and behavioral epidemiology also provides graduates with comprehensive research, advocacy, and program planning and management skills and prepare them for careers in local, national, and global disease prevention and control programs and population health management.

The Cancer Epidemiology concentration provides graduate students with a firm foundation in the application of epidemiological methods to the study of cancer and cancer health disparities. Despite recent progress on the “war on cancer” on many fronts, the aging of the global population is predicted to result in an ever-increasing burden of cancer on societies that is unequal across different population subgroups, if current trends in incidence and prevalence continue unabated. Epidemiologists will continue to play a central role in the prevention and control of cancer, and reduction in cancer disparities through their participation and leadership roles in cancer registries, population demographic studies, screening programs, developing biomarkers of risk factors and early diagnosis, furthering the understanding of underlying risk factors, and performing impactful research on cancer prevention and survivorship.

The Infectious Disease Epidemiology concentration provides graduate students with extensive training in the epidemiologic principles related to the microbiology, virology, and parasitology of infectious diseases and the associated clinical and scientific methods associated with diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, surveillance along with modes and dynamics of transmission, disease elimination strategies, global, national, and local disparities in infectious diseases, and exploratory and inferential statistical analyses to model disease patterns. This track will forge the successful training of scientific professionals who will be able to interact with other interdisciplinary professionals so as to mitigate the impact of infectious diseases and infectious disease-related disparities.

FALL I SEMESTER CREDITS Not
EPID-000 Epidemiology I 3 required
EPID-000 Biostatistics I 3 required
EPID-000 Research Ethics & Professional Development Seminar 0 required
EPID-000 Statistical Computing Software 2 required
EPID-000 Introduction to Social & Behavioral Health and Health Disparities Research 3 required
Semester total 11
SPRING I SEMESTER CREDITS Notes

EPID-000 Epidemiology II 3 required EPID-000 Biostatistics II 3 required EPID-000 Research Ethics & Professional Development Seminar 0 required EPID-000 Elective 2 SBE, CE, or IDE conc. EPID-000 Introduction to Cancer Epidemiology 1.5 required EPID-000 Introduction to Infectious Disease Epidemiology 1.5 required Semester total 11

FALL II SEMESTER CREDITS Notes

EPID-000 Elective 2 SBE, CE, or IDE conc. EPID-000 Elective 2 SBE, CE, or IDE conc. EPID-000 Research Ethics & Professional Development Seminar 0 required EPID-000 Thesis Research 2 required Semester total 6

SPRING II SEMESTER CREDITS Notes

EPID-000Elective 2 SBE, CE, or IDE conc. EPID-000 Elective 2 SBE, CE, or IDE conc. EPID-000 Research Ethics & Professional Development Seminar 0 required EPID-000 Thesis Research 2

required

Semester total 6 Program Total 34

Master’s Thesis

All master's students must identify a faculty member who will serve as the mentor for the Thesis. In addition, a faculty member will be assigned to serve as the 'reader' for the Thesis. This process is expected to be a culminating project based on interest, exposure, and experience of students and mentors.

The mentors will facilitate and oversee research thesis projects for the students. Each master’s student must write a thesis and follow the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences policies and procedures. The students will be required to present his/her thesis as a poster at the established annual research symposium day for the Epidemiology Program. The poster session will be in lieu of a formal thesis defense. The Thesis mentor and reader must sign off on the Master’s Thesis Reviewers Report once the thesis has been successfully completed.

Knowledge & Skills

Students will acquire many skills that can be utilized in wide variety of job opportunities in the field of epidemiology. More specifically, graduate students will learn the following skills as part of the M.S. in Epidemiology program training:

  • Design an epidemiologic study to address a health problem;
  • Understand the basic types of study design and the advantages and limitations of each type;
  • Design a questionnaire or other data collection tool to address a health problem;
  • Collect health data from appropriate sources (e.g., case interviews, medical records, vital statistics records, laboratory reports, or pathology reports);
  • Create a database for a health data set;
  • Utilize statistical software to analyze and characterize epidemiologic data
  • Interpret findings from epidemiologic studies, including recognition of the limitations of the data and potential sources of bias and/or confounding; and
  • Recommend control measures, prevention programs, or other public health interventions based on epidemiologic findings.

Additional skills for master’s level epidemiologists include:

  • Assessment and analysis
  • Basic public health sciences
  • Communication
  • Community dimensions and practice
  • Cultural competency
  • Financial / operational planning and management
  • Leadership and systems thinking
  • Policy development

ADMISSIONS

Application Materials required:

  • Application Form
  • Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Official Transcripts (all prior institutions)
  • Official Recommendations (2)
  • Resume / C.V.
  • GRE Score
  • TOEFL/IELTS (please see below)

Official hard copy transcripts should be mailed to the following address:

Office of Graduate Admissions

Attn: Credentials - Epidemiology

Box 571004

3520 Prospect Street, NW, CB-207

Washington, DC 20057-1004

GRE - GRADUATE RECORD EXAM

Results of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for all applicants. There is no required minimum score on the GRE. Georgetown University's reporting code is 5244. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without GRE scores. Information on registering to take the GRE can be found at http://www.gre.org/ttindex.html

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY: TOEFL / IELTS

All applicants are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language sufficient to meet the admission requirement of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Proficiency can be demonstrated by the receipt of a bachelor's or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (please note that applicants receiving degrees at universities in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, are required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS unless the primary language of instruction at the institution is English). All other applicants must achieve at least a minimum score on either the TOEFL or IELTS test. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without TOEFL/IELTS scores.

  • TOEFL: A minimum score of 550 (paper-based test) or 80 (iBT test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Georgetown University's reporting code is 5244. TOEFL information: http://www.ets.org/toefl/
  • IELTS: A minimum score of 7.0 from the International English Language Testing System. IELTS Information: http://www.ielts.org

Degree Requirements

Credit Requirements

34 credits

  • 22 credits from core courses
  • 12 credits from concentration-specific courses

The M.S. in Epidemiology program is a 4-semester program requiring each student to complete 34 credit hours. These 34 credit hours are comprised of 2 credits of core courses, and at least 12 credits in concentration-specific courses, inclusive of a thesis.

All students take a sequence of core courses in epidemiology, health disparities research, and an introduction to the program’s concentrations. Students then choose one of the three areas of concentrations offered for their electives and thesis focus:

  • Social and Behavioral Epidemiology (SBE)
  • Cancer Epidemiology (CE)
  • Infectious Disease Epidemiology (IDE)

GPA Requirements

All students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of no less than 3.00 to remain in the program.

Master’s Thesis

All students in the M.S. in Epidemiology program must identify an advisor/mentor who will help form the thesis advisory committee comprising a total of two faculty members. This process is expected to be a culminating project based on interest, exposure and experience of students and mentors. The mentors will facilitate and oversee research thesis projects for the students. Each master’s student must write a thesis and follow the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences policies and procedures.

The students will be required to present his/her thesis as a poster on the established annual research symposium day for the Epidemiology Program. The poster session will be in lieu of a formal thesis defense. The thesis committee and mentor/advisor must sign off on the Master’s Thesis Reviewers Report once thesis has been successfully completed.

Graduate Policies / Graduate Bulletin

All students in the M.S. in Epidemiology program must follow all Graduate School of Arts & Sciences policies and procedures as described on the Graduate Policies webpage and in the Graduate Bulletin.

Internships & Careers

A graduate degree in epidemiology at the Masters level provides several options for careers in academia, public health practice, health care, and industry.

Academia: Epidemiologists work in Universities with responsibilities including assisting senior scientists in designing and implementing research studies to answer important questions about risk factors and outcomes.

Public Health Practice: Epidemiologists assist in data collection of risk factors and health outcomes across multiple types of study designs and perform data analyses, which would inform the design of intervention strategies to mitigate these health problems. These careers are often in government such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Departments of Public Health.

Health Care: Epidemiologists work in health care settings and medical centers. The responsibilities involve tracking medical treatments and outcomes as well as designing interventions and reporting outcomes.

Industry: Epidemiologists with strong methodological and analytical skills are often sought in industry to assist with reporting of clinical trials enrollment, adverse event monitoring during product development and post marketing, dissemination of study results.

Last updated Sep 2019

About the School

Georgetown is a major international research university with nine schools, an affiliated hospital and many highly ranked academic programs. Today the university has more than 12,000 undergraduate and ... Read More

Georgetown is a major international research university with nine schools, an affiliated hospital and many highly ranked academic programs. Today the university has more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students who take classes at five locations. Georgetown has a large and diverse workforce that employs more than 5,000 faculty and staff members. Georgetown continues to move forward as one of the world’s leading universities, building upon its distinctive history, unique values and commitment to justice and the common good. Read less