Find Now

Epidemiology Degree

Epidemiologists have some serious work at hand as they are the ones who investigate the causes and consequences of a disease or illness. Their research can influence public health policies and strategies that are used to prevent and combat diseases throughout the world. Since epidemiologists put in so much hard work to study why and how different illnesses occur, they also become the ones who prevent diseases from spreading and occurring again. In order to find the causes of a disease, epidemiologists need to collect and delve in public health data. They not only research on the origin and spread of fatal diseases, but also find out illnesses that occur due to exposure to certain substances in the environment. Not all epidemiologists work in the same area of epidemiology.

They can select different specialties such as genetic, psychological, social, and environmental epidemiology. Epidemiologists spend endless hours researching on subjects that are really significant for the society. Although, epidemiologists are not very well known to the common people, their work is intrinsically satisfying, as they solve medical mysteries and strive to add value to the society with their hard work.

What are the degrees available in epidemiology?

It is uncommon to find a bachelor’s degree in epidemiology; however, some schools offer a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in the field. The most common degrees offered in epidemiology are master’s and PhD degrees. Students can opt for epidemiology degrees or they can select epidemiology as the concentration or specialization in their public health degree. If you want to get admission in a master’s degree in epidemiology, you would need to have a bachelor’s degree in public health or any other health related field. To complete your master’s degree in epidemiology, you may need to complete an internship as well. If you are interested in a PhD degree, you would need a master’s degree first with certain health related courses. A doctoral program in epidemiology has its focus on research and analysis, but it may also require fieldwork and independent study from students. Although, the duration of a doctoral program can vary, typically students can complete the degree in four or more years.

Master's Degree

There are two types of master’s degrees in epidemiology. One is the Master of Public Health which offers a concentration in epidemiology. It is a professional degree that focuses on public health practice, as opposed to research and teaching. On the other hand, a Master of Science (MS) degree is for students who want to gain quantitative skills in epidemiology research.  Students in the MS programs are normally required to conduct secondary data analysis and literature review.  Epidemiology degrees are generally rigorous in nature as students need to work on projects and also complete internships. Although, courses offered in the degree can vary from one institute to another, following are some of the major courses offered in the program:

  • Epidemiology principles
  • Infectious disease
  • American healthcare system
  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology of cancer
  • Epidemiology of diabetes
  • Environmental health
  • Statistics in epidemiology

Doctorate Degree
A doctorate degree in epidemiology suits those students who have worked in the healthcare field and have a master’s degree in epidemiology. With a doctoral program, students get an opportunity to develop new theories and work on different projects with other scientists. They acquire a number of research skills in epidemiology areas such as nutrition, psychiatry, infectious diseases, and cancer.  Doctoral students normally have to conduct research and submit a dissertation.   Moreover, a student may need to take courses such as disease modeling, methods of epidemiology, and statistics. Courses offered in a doctoral program in epidemiology include:

  • Dissertation research
  • Data analysis
  • Probability
  • Biostatistician methods

What kind of skills and training are required to work as an epidemiologist?

Epidemiologists do not need to have any outside training for their job. Most entry level positions require an epidemiology degree and then the newly hired epidemiologists are given on the job training. The duration of the training varies from one individual to another and it usually depends on the previous work experience of a person. Epidemiologists are required to be highly skilled, as their job requires  precision and there is little margin for error.  Communication skills play a crucial role in their job and they need to be skilled listeners so they can make the most out of the fact-finding interviews that they conduct for their research.  Critical thinking skills are also vital for their job, as they help epidemiologists do a thorough analysis of their research findings. Other than that, epidemiologists need to be good at number crunching and statistical analysis. It is important for them to effectively present data with the help of software programs. Besides, they need to have excellent writing skills to be able to communicate their conclusions and recommendations to the general public and the medical industry. Since epidemiologists have to present very technical research findings, they need to have a really good understanding of their research. Not only should they understand their research, they need to be able to communicate the results of their research to the general public in an effective way.

What will be my career prospects as an epidemiologist?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median annual salary for epidemiologists was $66,330 in May 2013. Epidemiologists can have a starting salary around $42,560 and it can go up to $111,000 once they have acquired experience in the field. Those professionals who conduct scientific and pharmaceutical research earn a higher salary than other epidemiologists. BLS predicts the job growth for epidemiologists to be 10% from 2012 to 2022. Individuals who have advanced degrees such as a doctorate degree in epidemiology are likely to have more job opportunities available to them in research and teaching.


States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 16600.111.2618.1337720
Florida 11300.141.6817.9737370
Illinois 9600.161.9217.937240
Texas 7600.070.7816.6234570
New York 6500.070.8520.1241840


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What is the definition of clinical epidemiology?

A:Clinical epidemiology can be defined as the application of the science of epidemiology in a clinical setting. Clinical epidemiology differs from other fields as it emphasizes on a medially defined population rather than a public health perspective. The field has evolved in recent decades and can be studied a variety of courses and degree programs.

Q:What will I learn in the infectious disease epidemiology?

A:This course will introduce students to the basic methods of infectious disease epidemiology. Students will learn how various diseases spread, how they can be controlled via vaccinations, and the types of diseases. Topics such as the following are covered under this course: outbreak investigations, disease surveillance, laboratory diagnosis, respiratory infections, and more.

Q:What is studied in a public health epidemiology course?

A:A course in public health epidemiology will cover the basic epidemiologic concepts, principles, and terms. The course will emphasize the determinants of a healthy population, outbreaks of disease, living conditions of the public, availability of vaccination, and health education. Students will gain knowledge regarding the availability of healthcare services and how other disciplines such as biostatistics and social sciences are related to this field.

Q:What are the requirements for an epidemiology certification?

A:The Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc, is a leading multidisciplinary board which provides professional certification in epidemiology. All candidates must meet certain requirements to get certified. These requirements include: must hold a job position in this field, must be a licensed healthcare professional, must be working in a healthcare setting, must have sufficient experience in infection prevention and control, and must pass the certification examination.

Q:Can I study nutritional epidemiology?

A:Yes, you can study nutritional epidemiology as a major or specialization at graduate and post-graduate level. The field emphasizes the basics of applied nutrition and nutrition science policy. You will learn how the biological basis of nutrition affects health, metabolism, molecular genetics, and physiology. Many colleges are offering graduate degrees in this field.

Q:Can you describe what is environmental epidemiology?

A:Environmental epidemiology can be described as the study of external factors that affect health conditions in a specific geographic location. Factors may include physical agents, chemical agents, microbiological pathogens, climate change, environmental changes, social conditions, distal exposures, ecosystems, etc. This course can be studied in an epidemiology degree as a major.

Q:Why is it better to select an accredited epidemiology online course?

A:If you are planning on enrolling in an epidemiology online course, it is better to select an accredited program. Accredited programs are approved by recognized accrediting agencies. These agencies make sure that the program meets educational standards. An accredited program is likely to provide you quality education and will also help you in your career.

Q:What courses or subjects do graduate epidemiology programs cover?

A:In a graduate epidemiology program, students will cover a range of advanced courses. The program is designed to equip students with knowledge of the principles of epidemiology and the application of these principles in public health. Some of the courses covered may include: biostatistics, epidemiology theory, statistical analysis, research, and more.

Q:What are the general admission requirements of a PhD in epidemiology?

A:The admission requirements may vary from college to college. Generally, applicants will be required to submit a masters degree transcript, a personal essay and statement of research interest, letters of recommendation, and meet a minimum CGPA requirement. Applicants must demonstrate potential for advanced level studies. Some schools may require applicants to pass an entry test.

Q:What jobs can students get with epidemiology graduate programs?

A:After completing a masters level degree in epidemiology, individuals can work as epidemiologists. These professionals study the causes of diseases in a society, conduct field work, and help direct studies of public health for disease prevention. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, epidemiologists made a median annual income of $65,270 in 2012 and were mostly employed in government public health departments. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Q:What are the learning outcomes of a bachelors in epidemiology degree?

A:In a bachelor degree in epidemiology, students will learn about the basic principles and concepts of epidemiology. Students will learn about the risk factors and modes of transmission of diseases in a society, conduct research and field work, analyze disease outbreaks and trends, develop and implement strategies to control diseases, and apply basic epidemiology measures.

Q:How is an epidemiology degree online different from an on-campus degree?

A:An online degree in epidemiology is more flexible and convenient to pursue as compared to on-campus programs. The curriculum of both programs is generally the same. Only the mode of learning is different. Students in an online program can cover the coursework online with the help of videos, classroom conferencing, tutorials, and online lectures.

Q:What is the general duration of a masters in epidemiology?

A:A masters degree in epidemiology is a two-year program. Please remember that the duration can vary from college to college. Students can also go for an accelerated program to earn the degree in less than two years. The program is designed to prepare students for careers as epidemiologists and public health professionals.

Ask your Question

* All Fields are Required
Call Now(877) 721-2529