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Epidemiology Master's Degree (MS)

What is a Master of Science in Epidemiology?

The Master of Science (MS) in Epidemiology degree is a full-time graduate program designed to provide students with a solid understanding of epidemiologic principles and methods.

This program provides students with the ability and capacity to solve complex health problems.

Why Pursue an Epidemiology Master’s Degree at Drexel Dornsife?

Unique benefits of the MS Degree in Epidemiology program at Drexel Dornsife include:

  • Learn from over 25 full-time faculty in the department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, all of whom are dedicated to balancing research and teaching.
  • Training opportunities and a robust educational environment 
  • Investigate and master topics that inform public health aspects of various fields such as medicine, nursing, and law.
  • Renowned program ranked as the #1 graduate school of public health in Philadelphia and accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

MS students attain competencies in two areas: general epidemiology knowledge and skills, and epidemiologic research methods. Upon completion of the MS in Epidemiology program, students will be able to:

  • Address a research question by identifying appropriate study designs based on knowledge of biological basis of disease and calculating appropriate measures of disease frequency and risk
  • Review and critically evaluate the validity of the design, analysis, and interpretation of findings from published research studies
  • Create and manage datasets appropriate for epidemiologic analyses from sources such as surveillance, large-scale data (i.e, Big Data, such as electronic medical records, administrative claims data), or other health-related research
  • Conduct univariable and multivariable regression and other semi- and non-parametric analytic techniques of an epidemiologic data set using a standard statistical software package
  • Create effective peer-review quality written and visual summaries of analysis results

Graduates are prepared to work in applied epidemiologic and health research fields, or pursue doctoral training in Epidemiology.

Admissions Requirements and Prerequisites for the MS in Epidemiology Program

The Dornsife School of Public Health seeks students with intellectual and interpersonal competencies who have the potential to serve as thought leaders in the field of public health.

The School has set a high priority on establishing a student body that is representative of the nation's population.

To be considered for the MS in Epidemiology program, applicants must meet these admissions criteria: 1) an undergraduate bachelor's degree from an accredited US college/university, or its equivalent in another country; 2) two semesters of college math; and 3) two courses of college biology (i.e. microbiology, physiology, genetics, etc.).

Competitive applicants will possess a undergraduate GPA of 3.30 or higher.

Application Requirements for the Epidemiology Master's Program

To have your application reviewed, applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts from every college-level institution you attended (academic records from institutions outside the U.S. must undergo a credentials evaluation)
  • English proficiency test score (TOEFL or IELTS), if applicable
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Statement of Purpose and Objectives (describing career and educational goals, professional experience, and area of research interest)

Applications for the Masters of Epidemiology program do not require the GRE.

Master’s in Epidemiology Program Curriculum

The MS in Epidemiology curriculum is designed to provide students with the ability to effectively engage in and report research to answer complex public health problems. 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.

Students will develop a course of study that will build their skills and knowledge in the following areas:

  • Epidemiology Methodology
  • Biostatistics
  • Public Health Research Methods
  • Data Analysis

The MS in Epidemiology requires two years of coursework, consisting of required core courses and electives in the Dornsife School of Public Health. Students are required to complete a Master’s research project.

Core courses in the program include:

  • EPI 500 Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics - 3 credits
  • EPI 560 Intermediate Epidemiology - 3 credits
  • BST 555 Introduction to Statistical Computing - 3 credits
  • BST 553 Longitudinal Data Analysis - 3 credits

Students have flexibility to select electives that align with their research interests and professional goals, including topics such as autism, cardiovascular disease, perinatal epidemiology, and disease outbreak investigation. 

In order to receive a Master’s in Epidemiology, students must complete 45 credit hours. In year one, students will complete 27 credits, and in year two, 18 credit hours. There are 21 credits of required courses, 18 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:

  • Written proposal identifying and describing testable hypotheses developed from a literature review
  • Management and analysis of a sufficiently large dataset to permit hypothesis testing using appropriate multivariate techniques
  • Written report of the project including standard sections of background, methods, results, discussion and references
  • Oral presentation of the project to department faculty and students

A 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.

Epidemiology Degree Requirements

Completion of the MS in Epidemiology requires:

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

To learn more about the MS in Epidemiology curriculum and to see a sample plan of study, please follow the links below.

Review Degree Requirements and Courses

Sample Plan of Study

Career Options with an MS in Epidemiology

Program graduates work in an applied epidemiologic field, health research field, or they pursue doctoral training in epidemiology. Graduates are employed by state and local governments, nonprofits, universities, health insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies.

A Master’s in Epidemiology prepares individuals for unique career paths and advancement opportunities, including:

  • Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Research Analyst
  • Senior Epidemiologist

An MS in Epidemiology provides a unique opportunity to investigate and become an expert in current topics that inform public health aspects of medicine, nursing, law, or other fields.

Master’s in Epidemiology Salary Scale

While salary can range across industries, the median annual wage for epidemiologists was $78,830 in May 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30% increase in the job outlook for masters-trained epidemiologists. More information regarding the projected outlook and salary for epidemiologists can be found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' website.

Further develop your skills and propel your career forward with a Master’s degree in Epidemiology. Take the next step:

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image of 92 percent of Masters students receive scholarships

Paying for Your Public Health Degree

Historically, more than 92% of full-time masters students receive some type of scholarship funding.

The Dornsife School of Public Health makes every effort to ensure that students receive as much financial assistance as possible through merit-based scholarships, grants and student loans.

Explore scholarships and financial aid


Yvonne Michael, ScD, SM
Epidemiology MS and PhD Program Director
Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

David A. Wood, MBA, MS
Executive Director, Enrollment Management