Written By - Bob Litt

Edited By Arlene Ward

Review & Contribution By Dr. Florence Beck

Epidemiology is a specialty offered in Master in Public Health (MPH) degree programs. Epidemiologists, sometimes called disease detectives, research sectors of a target population to examine the causes of illness. They assist public health organizations to prevent the spread of disease and create strategies for identifying the at-risk population.  To become a professional, students must earn an MPH specializing in epidemiology. Master’s in Epidemiology Online (MPH Epidemiology Online) degrees are designed for students with active jobs and commitments to their families. This guide provides an overview of the master’s in epidemiology online, the university admission requirements, and financial aid opportunities.

masters in epidemiology online

Table Of Contents

Featured Online Programs

Southern New Hampshire University

PROGRAM: Online Masters Degrees in Public Health

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 60,000 online students, making us one of the fastest-growing universities in the country. Founded in 1932, we’ve been relentlessly reinventing higher education ever since and have gained national recognition for our dedication to helping students transform their lives and the lives of those around them.

We’re proud to provide affordable, accessible education that students can pursue on our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH, over our innovative online platform or at our regional centers in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem, NH, and Brunswick, ME.

SNHU has earned the GetEducated.com Best Buy and Best of Business – Best Online Degree awards and is consistently ranked as a top Military Friendly® School by G.I Jobs®.

Best Master’s in Epidemiology Online Programs

Many factors go into determining the best online Epidemiology programs. Some of these factors are – credits required for graduation, program admissions requirements, the timeline for graduation, financial aid, concentrations, graduation rates, tuition fees, program quality & reputation, etc. The teams at OMC have considered all those factors and created a list of the best online MPH epidemiology programs:

<a href="https://www.onlinemasterscolleges.com/mph-programs/epidemiology/">Master's in Epidemiology Online</a>

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College Name & AddressTuitionGraduation Rate
University Of California, Berkeley
200 California Hall, Berkeley, California 94720
Columbia University
West 116 St and Broadway, New York, New York 10027
Texas A&M University
KW Administration Building, Suite 200, College Station, Texas 77843
Harvard University
Massachusetts Hall, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
University of Southern California
University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089
Boston University
One Silber Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02215
George Washington University
1918 F Street, NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20052
University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, Florida 33620
Loyola University, Chicago
1032 W. Sheridan Rd, Chicago, Illinois 60660
University of Nebraska Medical Center
42nd & Dewey Ave, Omaha, Nebraska 68198
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
University of Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee 38163
Eastern Virginia Medical School
700w. Olney, Norfolk, Virginia 23507
University of Alabama, Birmingham
Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, Alabama 35294
Kent State University
Executive Office, 2nd Floor Library, Kent, Ohio 44242
South Dakota State University
1015 Campanile Avenue, Brookings, South Dakota 57007
University of Memphis
Southern Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38152
East Tennnessee State University
1276 Gilbreath Drive, Johnson City, Tennessee 37614
Ferris State University
1201 S State St, Big Rapids, Michigan 49307

Source – Integrated Post Secondary Education Data System & University Data
*Tuition rates are for in-state and per year. Program specific rates may apply.
**NA – data not available

Understanding Master’s in Epidemiology Online Programs

MPH epidemiology online programs allow students to complete up to 80 percent of their didactic coursework at their location of choice. The remaining 20 percent of the program includes one on-campus course per year. University programs permit online epidemiology master’s students up to four years to complete their degree; however, most students finish their degree in 26 months. Graduation requirements can vary by program from 45 to 60 credits.

MPH/epidemiology coursework focuses on research strategies, biostatistics, public health policy and management, infectious disease, and public health data analysis. Students also complete an on-site internship with a public health organization. Online courses are offered in two required modalities: asynchronous and synchronous. The asynchronous component allows students to complete their degree at their own pace, while synchronous online courses must be attended on schedule to provide live lectures and class sections with their peers. The online courses use multimedia, virtual chat, discussion threads, instructional podcasts, Skype, and email. Students may work with a faculty adviser via chat or by phone.

Curriculum and Skills Gained in an MPH Epidemiology Online Programs

Curriculum requirements for the epidemiology program include satisfactory completion of a supervised internship lasting for one or two semesters. Coursework focuses on survey design, causal analysis, statistical methods, medical informatics, biomedical research, regression, and healthcare systems. Programs may also require the completion of a research project and scholarly paper or a comprehensive exam. Here are samples of the core courses offered in an online master’s in epidemiology program:

Principles and Methodology
This course comprehensively explores fundamental principles and research methodologies essential for epidemiological investigations. Students delve into study design, data collection, statistical analysis, and ethical considerations, gaining critical skills for conducting rigorous epidemiological research.

Epidemiology of Communicable diseases
This course analyzes infectious disease patterns, determinants, and dynamics within populations. Students explore disease transmission, outbreak investigation, preventive measures, and public health strategies, equipping them to contribute to controlling and managing communicable diseases.

Public Health Policy and Management
This course addresses formulating, implementing, and evaluating policies in public health contexts. Students study healthcare systems, policy analysis, organizational management, and leadership skills, preparing them to navigate the complexities of public health administration and contribute to effective policy development.

Community Outreach and Education
This course emphasizes developing strategies for engaging communities and disseminating health information effectively. Students learn to design and implement outreach programs, assess community health needs, and employ educational methods to promote public health. This course equips students with skills for fostering community well-being and preventive health practices.

Epidemiologic Method
This course thoroughly explores the principles and techniques essential to epidemiological research. Students explore study design, data collection, statistical analysis, and interpretation, equipping them with the methodological foundation necessary for investigating and understanding the distribution and determinants of health-related events in populations.

Some of the core courses in a Master’s in Epidemiology program may include:

  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Outbreak Investigations
  • Biostatistics for Research
  • Intro to Multivariate Stats
  • SAS Data Management
  • Epidemiology of HIV/STDs
  • Field Epidemiology
  • Epidemiologic Surveillance
  • Health Budgeting & Financial Management
  • Computer Analysis in Public Health
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Sociocultural & Behavioral Aspects of Public Health
  • Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology

Upon graduation, students can expect to gain the following skills:

  • Acquire proficiency in designing and conducting epidemiological studies to investigate patterns of health and disease.
  • Develop advanced skills in statistical analysis, interpreting health data, and drawing evidence-based conclusions.
  • Understand and contribute to developing and implementing public health policies related to epidemiology.
  • Learn techniques for monitoring and tracking the spread of diseases to support timely interventions.
  • Gain expertise in investigating and managing disease outbreaks, including identifying sources and implementing control measures.
  • Design and implement effective health education and promotion programs for communities.
  • Master statistical methods essential for analyzing health data, ensuring accurate interpretation and presentation.
  • Understand and apply ethical principles in epidemiological research and public health practice.
  • Develop effective communication strategies for conveying epidemiological findings to diverse audiences, including policymakers and the public.
  • Cultivate teamwork and leadership skills to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams and lead initiatives for improving population health.

Master’s in Epidemiology Degree Types

The Master’s in Epidemiology offers diverse degree types, such as the research-focused Master of Science in Epidemiology (MS) and the practice-oriented Master of Public Health (MPH). These programs equip students with specialized skills, blending rigorous scientific inquiry (MS) and applied public health strategies (MPH) to address complex health challenges and contribute to evidence-based interventions.

Master of Science in Epidemiology (MS)

The Master of Science in Epidemiology (MS) is a research-intensive program focusing on advanced methods and techniques for investigating disease patterns and determinants. Students delve into study design, data analysis, and interpretation, developing a strong foundation for contributing to the field through rigorous scientific inquiry and evidence-based research.

Master of Public Health (MPH)

The Master of Public Health (MPH) is a practice-oriented program dedicated to developing professionals in public health. MPH students gain expertise in policy development, community health, and disease prevention. This program emphasizes applied knowledge and skills, preparing graduates to address public health challenges and promote well-being on a population level.

Specializations for Master’s in Epidemiology Students

Specializations in Epidemiology, such as infectious diseases, chronic diseases, and environmental epidemiology, allow students to customize their Master’s in Epidemiology to specific interests. These specialized tracks deepen knowledge and skills in targeted areas, providing a focused and comprehensive understanding. Students graduate with expertise that aligns with their career goals, enhancing their ability to contribute effectively to public health initiatives and research.

Area of FocusDescriptionCareers This Concentration Prepares For
Infectious Disease This specialization explores the dynamics of infectious agents, their transmission, and control strategies. Students gain expertise in tracking and preventing the spread of diseases, preparing them to address emerging health threats and contributing to the global effort in combating infectious diseases through evidence-based approaches.• Epidemiologists
• Infectious Disease Researchers
• Public Health Advisors- Infectious Diseases
• Infection Control Specialists
Chronic Disease This specialization focuses on understanding the patterns, risk factors, and prevention strategies related to chronic health conditions. Students delve into research on heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, developing skills to contribute to public health interventions to reduce the burden of chronic illnesses.• Chronic Disease Epidemiologists
• Health Policy Analysts – Chronic Diseases
• Chronic Disease Research Scientists
• Community Health Educators – Chronic Conditions
Environmental EpidemiologyThis specialization explores the relationships between environmental exposures and health outcomes. Students investigate the impact of pollution, toxins, and climate on disease patterns, equipping them to assess and alleviate environmental health risks and contribute to sustainable public health practices.• Environmental Epidemiologists
• Environmental Health Scientists
• Occupational Health Specialists
• Environmental Risk Analysts
Social EpidemiologyThe Social Epidemiology specialization examines how social factors influence health outcomes and disease distribution within populations. Students analyze societal structures, inequalities, and social determinants of health, developing an understanding of how social contexts shape public health disparities. This specialization prepares graduates to address health challenges through a socio-ecological lens.• Social Epidemiologists
• Health Equity Researchers
• Community Health Planners
• Social Determinants of Health Analysts
Global Health EpidemiologyThis specialization focuses on understanding and addressing health issues on an international scale. Students examine global health disparities, infectious disease control, and strategies for improving health outcomes worldwide. This specialization equips graduates to contribute to global health initiatives through evidence-based research and interventions.• Global Health Epidemiologists
• International Health Program Managers
• Global Health Policy Analysts
• Global Disease Surveillance Specialists

Timeline for graduation in Master’s in Epidemiology Online

Timelines for completing an online Master’s in Epidemiology vary based on factors such as part-time or full-time enrollment, program format, university policies, and credit load per semester. Typically, online Master’s in Epidemiology programs span 2 to 3 years, allowing flexibility for working professionals to balance academic commitments with other responsibilities. Individual pacing, elective choices, and potential research or capstone project requirements may influence the duration.

Accelerated Master’s in Epidemiology Online Programs

Accelerated Master’s in Epidemiology programs offer a condensed timeframe, allowing students to complete their degree swiftly. This benefits students by saving time and potentially reducing tuition costs. However, it’s crucial to choose accredited programs for quality assurance. Accredited programs adhere to recognized standards, ensuring a rigorous curriculum and increasing the credibility of the earned degree. Prospective students should prioritize accredited institutions to secure a valuable and reputable education. Here are a few universities that offer accelerated master’s in epidemiology programs:

Admission Requirements for Master’s in Epidemiology Online Programs

Admission to Master’s in Epidemiology Online Programs typically mandates an accredited Bachelor’s degree, often in a related field. Some programs may require coursework in biology, statistics, or related subjects. Alternatively, applicants with degrees in other fields might need additional coursework and, in some cases, professional experience in epidemiology or a related field. Here are a few of the standard requirements to be considered for admission:

  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Transcripts from previous academic institutions
  •  GRE   scores (some colleges waive the GRE)
  •  Statement of Purpose or a Personal statement
  • Letters of Recommendation
  •  Relevant work experience 
  •  Completed application form and application fee
  •  Application fee (if applicable)

Master’s in Epidemiology Online No GRE

The admission requirements at most universities that offer MPH Epidemiology Online degrees include a GRE test score. However, many universities provide MPH Epidemiology Online No GRE programs. These universities emphasize the program quality and do not want students’ time and effort into the GRE test but instead want the students to spend time in the program and become epidemiology professionals. Here are some universities that offer MPH Epidemiology Online No GRE programs:

Accreditation for MPH Epidemiology Online Programs

It is important to check for Accreditation before students apply for Master’s in Epidemiology Online degrees. Online university programs with an epidemiology specialization must be accredited by The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH)6. Some employers, particularly the U.S. Public Health Service and state and local agencies – hire only graduates of CEPH-accredited MPH programs. As long as the program students apply to is accredited by CEPH, students can be confident about the degree’s value.

Universities can also be accredited by any one of the six regional accrediting agencies:

Free Online Epidemiology Courses

Free online courses provide a valuable opportunity for students to access diverse learning resources at no cost. These courses cover various subjects and often offer certificates, showcasing acquired skills upon completion. While these certificates may not be accredited, they serve as valuable credentials for showcasing knowledge and commitment to continuous learning in a flexible and accessible manner. Here are a few free online courses for master’s in epidemiology students can explore:

CourseFoundations of Epidemiology7
Provided byAlison
DescriptionCovering essential epidemiological principles, the course details methods for studying disease patterns. The significant role of epidemiology in enhancing public health is explored, along with challenges encountered by epidemiologists. Additionally, guidance is provided on collecting and analyzing epidemiological data, outlining practical applications in the field.
CourseUnderstanding Epidemiology – Principles and Concepts8
Provided byAlison
DescriptionThis course introduces Epidemiology, examining disease science and health outcomes in citizens. Explore the role of epidemiologists, various disease types, study design, and outbreak investigations. Emphasis is placed on understanding risk factors, disease prevention strategies, and related topics.
CourseClinical Epidemiology9
Provided byClass Central
DescriptionThe course imparts knowledge on clinical epidemiology principles and practices, using real-world challenges encountered by medical professionals and expanding upon existing clinical research examples. Medical researchers will discover how to convert actual clinical issues into research queries, gaining valuable insights into crucial considerations when designing epidemiological studies.

How to Pay for Master’s in Epidemiology Online Programs

With tuition fees and the increasing cost of Master’s programs, prospective students should explore financial support for Master’s in Epidemiology Online Programs. Various funding options exist, including scholarships, grants, and government aid like the FAFSA. Here’s a brief overview of potential funding avenues to explore:


Scholarships are the most common means to fund higher education and involve straightforward application processes. The key advantage of scholarships is that they are considered “free money,” meaning recipients are not obligated to repay the awarded amount. However, caution is advised to students falling prey to Scholarship Scams.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships, commonly available in Master’s programs, include roles like Teaching and Research Assistants. These positions provide students with valuable experiences, allowing them to teach, work, or research while pursuing advanced degrees.


Typically provided by federal, state, or private entities, grants aim to assist students with tuition fees and associated expenses, including study materials, transportation, and necessary equipment.

Student Loans

Student loans are financial instruments that enable students to borrow money to cover educational expenses. These loans often come with interest and must be repaid after the student completes their education or leaves school.


FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a government form that U.S. students complete to determine their eligibility for financial assistance through grants, loans, and work-study programs. This application is crucial for accessing federal and some state-based financial aid for higher education. More information on FAFSA can be found here.

To better understand college funding, read the best guide to financial aid.

Scholarships for Master’s in Epidemiology Online Students

With rising tuition costs, scholarships are vital for Master’s in Epidemiology students, providing financial relief and fostering academic achievement. To secure funding, students should meticulously research institutions, exploring both general and program-specific scholarships. This proactive approach ensures they identify opportunities aligned with their goals, promoting a financially sustainable pursuit of advanced education in epidemiology.

Careers for Master’s in Epidemiology Online Graduates

Master’s in Epidemiology graduates pursue diverse careers, often finding roles in state government agencies, hospitals, research firms, and federal positions like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)10. Beyond disease investigation, their expertise extends to areas like bioterrorism, occupational health, and substance abuse. Epidemiologists contribute to public health, research, and emergency response, with employment opportunities spanning clinical settings, government agencies, and international health organizations. Here are a few careers for students with an online master’s degree in epidemiology:

Median Annual Salary$78,520
Job Growth (up to 2032)27% (much faster than average)
Job DescriptionEpidemiologists, as public health professionals, analyze patterns and origins of diseases and injuries. Their goal is to diminish the risk and occurrence of adverse health outcomes by engaging in research, community education, and the formulation of health policies.
OccupationPublic Health Research Epidemiologist12
Median Annual Salary$107,190
Job Growth (up to 2032)No data Available
Job DescriptionPublic Health Research Epidemiologists play a vital role in advancing population health. They investigate patterns, causes, and trends of diseases, researching to inform evidence-based interventions. By analyzing data and implementing public health strategies, they contribute to preventing and managing health issues, ultimately improving the well-being of communities.
OccupationInfection Control Epidemiologist13
Median Annual Salary$107,200
Job Growth (up to 2032)No data Available
Job DescriptionInfection Control Epidemiologists meticulously analyze disease data, employing statistical methods to interpret trends. They investigate sources and transmission of communicable diseases, implementing effective interventions. Focusing on community or facility-based prevention, they develop and coordinate practical procedures to control and manage diseases, ensuring a safer and healthier environment.
OccupationMedical Scientists14
Median Annual Salary$99,930
Job Growth (up to 2032)10% (much faster than average)
Job DescriptionMedical scientists research to improve human health. They design and conduct experiments, analyze data, and interpret results to understand various aspects of diseases and medical conditions. Medical scientists may specialize in areas such as epidemiology, microbiology, genetics, or clinical research. Their work contributes to advancements in medical knowledge, treatment options, and public health.

Certifications and Licensing for Master’s in Epidemiology Graduates

Certifications for Master’s in Epidemiology students are not universally mandatory, but their relevance depends on specific career paths. Some roles, especially in clinical or applied settings, may require certifications. Licensing is generally not compulsory, but fulfilling state-specific requirements may be necessary for certain positions or research involving human subjects.

Resources for Epidemiology Professionals

Master’s in Epidemiology students benefit from various additional resources enhancing their educational experience. Online forums, webinars, and virtual conferences facilitate connections with professionals and peers, fostering collaborative learning and networking opportunities. Access to online libraries, databases, and research tools supports academic excellence, while mentorship programs guide seasoned experts. These resources collectively enrich students’ online learning journey and contribute to their professional development. The following sites provide online epidemiology master’s students access to statistical information, professional news, case studies, and other resources to assist their research:

American Public Health Association
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is a prominent organization advancing public health initiatives. With a mission to protect and improve community well-being, APHA provides resources, advocacy, and platforms for collaboration. It is pivotal in promoting health equity, shaping policies, and fostering collective efforts for public health advancement.

CDC National Center for Health Statistics
The CDC National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) is a vital source of health data and information in the United States. NCHS conducts surveys, compiles statistical reports, and disseminates critical health-related information. It is a key resource for researchers, policymakers, and the public, contributing to evidence-based decision-making and public health initiatives.

International Epidemiological Association
The International Epidemiological Association fosters global communication among epidemiology professionals with 1,300 members in 100+ countries. Committed to promoting epidemiology in diverse health fields, it achieves its aims through scientific meetings, publications, and member interactions. Membership is inclusive, transcending boundaries of race, religion, sex, politics, and origin.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in Atlanta, Georgia, is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dedicated to safeguarding communities, ATSDR responds to environmental emergencies, investigates health threats, researches hazardous waste sites, and supports state and local health partners with actionable guidance.

Important Journals for Master’s in Epidemiology Students

FAQs About Master’s in Epidemiology Online Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an online Master’s in Epidemiology program?

An online Master’s in Epidemiology program is a graduate-level educational offering accessible online. It focuses on studying disease patterns, causes, and prevention within populations. The program typically includes coursework and research and may offer specializations, preparing students for careers in public health, research, and related fields.

How long does it take to complete an online Master’s in Epidemiology?

Can I pursue an online Master’s in Epidemiology part-time?

Is there a difference in the curriculum between online and traditional Master’s in Epidemiology programs?

How are examinations conducted for an online Master’s in Epidemiology?

Is a Master’s in Epidemiology worth it?

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