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MS Degree in Epidemiology

Dornsife students work together in class.

Graduates of the MS in Epidemiology have a solid understanding of epidemiologic principles and methods, and the demonstrated ability and capacity to apply that understanding and skill to solve complex health problems.

The curriculum and project requirements are designed to provide, and then to demonstrate, the ability to effectively engage in and report research. This includes the development of appropriate research questions and aims, the design and conduct of epidemiologic studies, and the appropriate analysis, interpretation and presentation of research data. Upon graduation, MS students will have attained competencies in two areas: general epidemiology knowledge and skills, and epidemiologic research methods. MS students will be prepared to work in applied epidemiologic and health research field, or pursue doctoral training in Epidemiology.

Download the program guide (PDF)

Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6% increase in the job market for masters-trained epidemiologists. The average salary for epidemiologists in 2016 was $70,820 per year. More information regarding the projected outlook and salary for epidemiologists can be found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' website.


The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics has 24 full time faculty, all of whom are dedicated to balancing research and teaching. The Department has a robust research portfolio focusing on a range of areas including social inequalities in health, neighborhood differences in health, chronic and infectious disease epidemiology, lifecourse epidemiology, aging, nutrition, physical activity and obesity, clinical research, analytical methods for longitudinal and spatial data, and complex systems approaches to population health. This research activity provides and enhances the training opportunities and educational environment for the MS in Epidemiology students.


The 45 total credit hour requirement is distributed as 27 credits in Year 1 and 18 credits in Year 2. There are 24 credits of required courses, 15 credits of electives and 6 additional credits for the masters research project.

Masters Project

In addition to coursework, students will be required to complete a masters project which will include at a minimum:  1) a written proposal identifying and describing testable hypotheses developed from a literature review; 2) management and analysis of a sufficiently large dataset to permit hypothesis testing using appropriate multivariate techniques; 3) a written report of the project including standard sections of background, methods, results, discussion and references;  4) an oral presentation of the project to department faculty and students.   

The faculty advisor will serve as the supervisor of the master’s project, but the department will require an additional reader of the written report.  The second reader may be another faculty of the department or a doctorally trained colleague who has expertise or an affiliation with the project through either its organizational site or dataset. 

Sample Plan of Study

The tables below outlines the typical sequence for full-time students in the MS Epidemiology program, 2017-2018.

Year 1 - MS in Epidemiology

Fall Quarter Winter Quarter Spring Quarter
Introduction to Epidemiology
and Biostatistics 1
(3 credits)
EPI 500
Introduction to Epidemiology
and Biostatistics 2
(3 credits)
EPI 501
Intermediate Epidemiology
(3 credits)
EPI 560
Statistical Computing
(3 credits)
BST 555
(3 credits)
Intermediate Biostatistics 1
(3 credits)
BST 560
Pathophysiologic Basis of
Epidemiologic Research
(3 credits)
EPI 561
(3 credits)
Applied Survey Research
(3 credits)
EPI 550
9 credits 9 credits 9 credits

Year 2 - MS in Epidemiology

Fall Quarter Winter Quarter
Longitudinal Data Analysis
(3 credits)
BST 553
(3 credits)
(3 credits)
(3 credits)
MS Epidemiology Project
(3 credits)
EPI 590
MS Epidemiology Project
(3 credits)
EPI 590
9 credits 9 credits


Applicants to the MS Epidemiology program must possess a baccalaureate degree, two semesters of college math and at least one course of college biologic science (e.g. biology, microbiology, physiology, genetics). 

Review admission and application requirements


Applicants to the MS in Epidemiology program should have strong GRE Quantitative scores and quantitative classes.

Application Deadline

  • March 15: Priority deadline. Applicants who apply by March 15 will be given priority consideration for scholarship.
  • August 1: Regular decision deadline. Applicants will be considered for scholarships should funds remain available.


  • Bachelor's degree
  • Two courses of college-level math
  • Two courses of college-level biology (i.e. microbiology, physiology, genetics, etc.)

Application Requirements

  • Completed application through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS)
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended
  • Official results from the GRE or MCAT taken within the last 5 years. The SOPHAS GRE school code is 7890. 
  • Results from the IELTS or TOEFL exam (non-native English speakers only)
  • World Education Service evaluation of all foreign transcripts (international applications only)
  • A written statement of career and educational goals, professional experience, and area of research interes
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty or professionals who can evaluate the applicant’s promise as a graduate student
  • Resume or CV
  • Competitive applicants will possess a undergraduate GPA of 3.30 or higher and GRE or MCAT scores above the 60th percentile

Degree Requirements

Completion of the MS in Epidemiology requires:

  1. a minimum of 39 credit hours of course work;
  2. a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher;
  3. a substantial data analysis project (6 credit hours) with a written report and oral presentation.