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. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a nine percent increase in professional epidemiologists, 2016 to 2026.  The average annual salary epidemiologists is $84,048.  To become a professional, students must earn an MPH with a specialty in epidemiology. Masters 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.

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 Online MPH Epidemiology Programs

Many factors go into determining the Best Online MPH Programs. Some of these factors are – credits are required for graduation, program admissions requirements, the timeline for graduation, financial aid, concentrations, graduation rates, tuition fees, program quality & reputation, etc. We have considered all those factors and created a list of the Best Online MPH 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 Masters 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 in 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 is a sampling of typical courses offered in a master’s in epidemiology online program:

  • Principles and Methodology
  • Epidemiology of Communicable Disease
  • Public Health Policy and Management
  • Community Outreach and Education
  • Epidemiologic Method
  • 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

Accreditation for MPH Epidemiology Online Programs

It is important to check for Accreditation before students apply for Masters in Epidemiology Online degrees. Online university programs with an epidemiology specialization must be accredited by The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). 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 that students applying to, is accredited by CEPH, students can be confident about the value of the degree.

Admission requirements for MPH Epidemiology Online Programs

According to the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), there are 60,000 students attending the nation’s MPH degree programs. Most online institutions use the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS). It allows prospective students to apply to multiple universities at the same time. Approximately 13,000 students were accepted into programs via SOPHAS in 2017.

The first step is to register for a SOPHAS account. The initial university application by SOPHAS costs $135 and $50 per additional school. Here is the SOPHAS suggested schedule for applying to schools offering an epidemiology degree online:

  1. Begin the SOPHAS application at least three months prior to the school’s deadline
  2. Request for official college transcripts be sent to SOPHAS at least eight weeks prior to the school’s deadline
  3. Submit transcripts, graduate test scores, entry essays, and letters of recommendation to SOPHAS at least four weeks prior to school deadlines
  4. Complete and submit your online SOPHAS application at least three weeks prior to deadlines.

Important Note: The fees paid for the SOPHAS application are for the submission of your application materials. Students should contact each prospective program to find out if there are additional fees. Some offer tuition waivers based on need.

Individual universities establish their own requirements for accepting students into the program. These may include two or three letters of recommendation, the submission of an essay on your education and career goals. They usually favor an undergraduate degree in the fields of mathematics, health, or sciences, with a 3.0 cumulative GPA. Prerequisites may include college undergraduate credits in anatomy, algebra, physiology, microbiology, and biology. Students who do not meet the prerequisites can complete them in summer session preceding or during their first graduate semester. Check with your prospective programs. Some master’s in epidemiology online schools require no prerequisites beyond completion of a baccalaureate degree and submission of transcripts and test scores.

Timeline for graduation in Masters in Epidemiology Online

Timelines for graduation depends on many factors like part time/full time, the format of the program, university, bow many credits per semesters, etc. But like most online masters programs, Masters in Epidemiology Online programs take about 2-3 years by most students.

MPH Epidemiology Online No GRE

The admission requirements at most universities that offer MPH Epidemiology Online degrees include a GRE test score. However, many universities offer MPH Epidemiology Online No GRE programs. These universities put emphasis on the program quality and do not want students’ time and efforts into the GRE test but rather 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:

Careers for Masters in Epidemiology Online Graduates

According to the BLS, most epidemiologists take jobs working for state government organizations. The second largest sector of employers are state, local, and private hospitals, followed in order by public and private colleges, universities and scientific research firms.  Some pursue federal employment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In addition to their work as disease detective, epidemiologists find roles in disease control, occupational health, bioterrorism, substance abuse, adult and child health.  In addition to service in clinical settings, epidemiologists work as government researchers and in field support of emergency responders and investigators. Some find employment in overseas health organizations. The BLS also reports that the states with the highest employment of epidemiologists are CaliforniaTexasGeorgiaMaryland and Washington.

Master’s Seminar Internships – Internships require the physical attendance of online students and may be arranged at locations convenient to students. Depending on the institution, internships at a public health or related agency may require a minimum of 200 hours, or 20 hours per week for 10 weeks. They are usually allowed for MPH students who have completed their first year of graduate school. Internships are often at universities and college research centers, healthcare organizations, state and federal disease control agencies, pharmaceutical firms, or biogenetical research organizations. Open internships are posted at your university’s career services office or at the university MPH department. You can also find listings of current internship openings at IndeedGlassdoor and Internships.com.

How to Pay for Masters in Epidemiology Online Programs

The first step in applying for grants and scholarships is to complete the online Free Application for Financial Student Aid ( FAFSA ). The application is used to evaluate financial need and the analysis is sent to the universities of your choice.  The federal aid programs include:

Students employed by non-profit organizations or governmental agencies can apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.  In addition to federal aid, students should contact each state’s department of education to investigate loan, grant or scholarship programs. The U.S. Department of Education has a search tool that identifies the contacts for each state.  There are also scholarships available by health organizations, MPH-related organizations and more. These are pegged to financial need or scholarly achievement.  Epidemiology master’s students can search for more than 8,000 scholarships at the Department of Education.  The ASPPH also list and extensive selection of graduate scholarships for MPH candidates. In addition, grants, tuition reductions and scholarships are available from universities or the master’s in epidemiology online program.  Finally, there are private educational loans to help students who need more loan funds beyond federal aid. These loans may be considerably more expensive than federal loans. They are not backed by the Department of Education and carry with higher interest rates.

It is also important to note that some employers may query about students’ SAS programming skills, how they respond to stress and deadlines, and about their internship or practical experience.

Fellowships for MPH Epidemiology Students

There are many paid fellowships for grads, including the CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control. You may want to explore the ASPPH/CDC Public Health Fellowship Program.

Read more about how to pay for Online Masters on the Best Finance Guide.

Certifications and Licensing for Masters in Epidemiology Students

Getting certifications for Epidemiology is not mandatory. But most professionals find that getting certifications helps a lot in enhancing careers. Also, some employers prefer to hire job applicants with certifications. The credentials attest to the level and quality of MPH training and your commitment to continuing education. There are several certifications that MPH professionals get. Some of them are the National Practitioner DatabankThe National Board of Public Health Examiners, etc. But the most important certification for Epidemiology professionals is The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology (CBIC) certification.

Resources for MPH Epidemiology Online Students

The following sites provide online epidemiology master’s students access to statistical information, professional news, case studies, and other resources to assist in their research:

Important Journals for Masters in Epidemiology Students


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