M.S. in Epidemiology Georgetown University - Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Georgetown University offers a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology, a core discipline in public health. Epidemiology is the study (scientific, systematic, and data-driven) of the distribution (frequency, pattern) and determinants (causes, risk factors) of health-related states and events (not just diseases) in specified populations (neighborhood, school, city, state, country, global). The epidemiology program addresses health disparities as a crosscutting theme at the local, national, and global levels via didactic training, practicums, and applied ‘hands-on’ research leading to the written thesis.
The M.S. in Epidemiology program is a 4-semester program requiring each student to complete 34 credit hours. These 34 credit hours are comprised of 22 credits of core courses, and at least 12 credits in concentration-specific courses, inclusive of a thesis.
All students take a sequence of core courses in epidemiology, health disparities research, and an introduction to the program’s concentrations. Students then choose one of the three areas of concentrations offered for their electives and thesis focus.
HEALTH DISPARITIES AS A PROGRAM THEME
A unique feature of the Master's in Epidemiology program at Georgetown University is the crosscutting theme of Health Disparities, motivated by Georgetown University’s commitment to social justice and community engagement, and aims to train students as public health researchers, practitioners, and leaders in recognition, investigation, and elimination of local, regional, national, and global health disparities.
Healthy People 2020 (https://www.healthypeople.gov) defines health disparity as “a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.”
To realize Healthy People 2020 goals of achieving health equity, eliminating disparities, and improving the health of all groups requires a well-trained cadre of public health professionals, including epidemiologists. The M.S. in Epidemiology program is designed to provide graduate students with a firm foundation in the application of epidemiological methods to the study of health disparities across various health-related states or events, including infectious and chronic diseases.
This is achieved through development of core competencies in the students’ ability to understand the principles of social justice and health equity and recognize the biological, social, economic, and political determinants of health disparities nationally and globally; understand and apply epidemiologic methods to the investigation of health disparities; understand the role of community-based and community-engaged research in the amelioration of health disparities; and, recognize existing disparities across common health conditions and specific methods to eliminate such disparities. The location of the program in the nation’s capital offers a rich and rewarding environment for academic and scholastic excellence.
Knowledge & Skills
Students will acquire many skills that can be utilized in wide variety of job opportunities in the field of epidemiology. More specifically, graduate students will learn the following skills as part of the M.S. in Epidemiology program training:
- Design an epidemiologic study to address a health problem;
- Understand the basic types of study design and the advantages and limitations of each type;
- Design a questionnaire or other data collection tool to address a health problem;
- Collect health data from appropriate sources (e.g., case interviews, medical records, vital statistics records, laboratory reports, or pathology reports);
- Create a database for a health data set;
- Utilize statistical software to analyze and characterize epidemiologic data
- Interpret findings from epidemiologic studies, including recognition of the limitations of the data and potential sources of bias and/or confounding; and
- Recommend control measures, prevention programs, or other public health interventions based on epidemiologic findings.
Additional skills for master’s level epidemiologists include:
- Assessment and analysis
- Basic public health sciences
- Community dimensions and practice
- Cultural competency
- Financial / operational planning and management
- Leadership and systems thinking
- Policy development
- 22 credits from core courses
- 12 credits from concentration-specific courses
The M.S. in Epidemiology program is a 4-semester program requiring each student to complete 34 credit hours. These 34 credit hours are comprised of 2 credits of core courses, and at least 12 credits in concentration-specific courses, inclusive of a thesis.
All students take a sequence of core courses in epidemiology, health disparities research, and an introduction to the program’s concentrations. Students then choose one of the three areas of concentrations offered for their electives and thesis focus:
- Social and Behavioral Epidemiology (SBE)
- Cancer Epidemiology (CE)
- Infectious Disease Epidemiology (IDE)
All students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of no less than 3.00 to remain in the program.
All students in the M.S. in Epidemiology program must identify an advisor/mentor who will help form the thesis advisory committee comprising a total of two faculty members. This process is expected to be a culminating project based on interest, exposure and experience of students and mentors. The mentors will facilitate and oversee research thesis projects for the students. Each master’s student must write a thesis and follow the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences policies and procedures.
The students will be required to present his/her thesis as a poster on the established annual research symposium day for the Epidemiology Program. The poster session will be in lieu of a formal thesis defense. The thesis committee and mentor/advisor must sign off on the Master’s Thesis Reviewers Report once thesis has been successfully completed.
Graduate Policies / Graduate Bulletin
All students in the M.S. in Epidemiology program must follow all Graduate School of Arts & Sciences policies and procedures as described on the Graduate Policies webpage and in the Graduate Bulletin.
English Language Requirements
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