Epidemiology - MS

Program Contacts

Program Director

Sean D. Cleary




The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics offers the degree of Master of Science in Epidemiology. The goals of the MS degree are to prepare students for careers in industry or academia and to prepare students for continued study in a doctoral program. The program includes coursework that focuses on theoretical and applied epidemiological and statistical methods. Comprehensive examinations are required.

If desired, a student may apply for admission to the Ph.D. degree program prior to completing the M.S. degree, in which case no more than 24 credit hours from the M.S. degree may be applied to the Ph.D. course work requirements. In this instance, the student will be required to take a minimum of 27 additional credit hours of coursework. The distribution of these courses between epidemiology and statistics will depend on the nature of the Master's degree and whether the transferred credit hours would be used to defray epidemiology and statistics course work.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution of higher learning.  Applicants should have academic backgrounds of excellence, usually with majors, or equivalent, in the fields in which they intend to study for advanced degrees. Generally, a minimum of a B average (or equivalent) in undergraduate and/or graduate coursework from an accredited college is required. With evidence of special promise, such as high Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, an applicant whose academic record falls short of a B average may be accepted on a conditional basis. All students are required to submit current GRE scores (within 5 years of matriculation date).  Meeting the minimum requirements does not assure acceptance. Applicants must provide evidence of the completion of their undergraduate and/or graduate work before registration in Milken Institute SPH is permitted. Applicants should be aware that graduate courses taken prior to admission while in non-degree status may not be transferable into those programs. 

All applications are submitted through SOPHAS.org.  Information about Milken Institute SPH Admissions and policies are available online at http://publichealth.gwu.edu/admissions/graduate-admissions.  For reporting GRE general test scores use the following institutional code: 5268.

Program Requirements

Prerequisite Requirements

(or equivalents to these GW courses)

The courses listed below (or equivalents) are prerequisites for admission consideration, and MUST appear on your transcript. Submit your MS Epidemiology program admission application only after you have completed all of the following courses: 

BISC 1111 Introductory Biology: Cells and Molecules  
BISC 1112 Introductory Biology: The Biology of Organisms  
MATH 1231 Single-Variable Calculus I  
MATH 1232 Single-Variable Calculus II  

Additional Course Requirements

The courses listed below are “Additional Course Requirements.” Applicants lacking these courses (or equivalents to these GW courses) will be considered for admission, but, if admissible, will be admitted conditionally with the expectation that these courses will be satisfactorily completed within two semesters following matriculation in the program. 

STAT 2183 Statistical Computing Packages  
or PUBH 6249 Use of Statistical Packages Data Management & Data Analysis

Course Requirements

Program Guide for a MS in Epidemiology 2016-2017

MS students who select the Epidemiology program enroll in Core Courses (22 credits) of which 16 credits are in Public Health and 6 credits are in Statistics as well as Electives (8 credits).  The total 33 credit degree program also includes Consulting/Thesis requirements (3 credits). 

Required public health core courses (11 credits):  
PUBH 6003 Principles & Practice in Epidemiology   
PUBH 6247 Design of Health Studies   
PUBH 6252 Advanced Epidemiology Methods   
PUBH 6299 Topics in Epi/Bio (credits vary per course- may take 1 or 2 courses)  
Required statistics core courses (6 credits):  
One of the following:  
STAT 4157
  & STAT 4158
Introduction to Mathematical Statistics I
   and Introduction to Mathematical Statistics I
STAT 6201
  & STAT 6202
Mathematical Statistics I
   and Mathematical Statistics II (students interested in applying to the PhD program in epidemiology may register in STAT 6201 & STAT 6202 with advisor's approval)
Approved elective courses (13 credits):  
Choose from the following:  
Approved public health courses:  
PUBH 6004 Environmental & Occupational Health in a Sustainable World  
PUBH 6007 Social & Behavioral Approaches in Public Health  
PUBH 6121 Environmental & Occupational Epidemiology  
PUBH 6123 Toxicology: Applications for Public Health Policy  
PUBH 6124 Problem Solving in EOH  
PUBH 6242 Clinical Epidemiology & Decision Analysis  
PUBH 6243 Topics in Clinical Epidemiology and Decision Analysis  
PUBH 6244 Cancer Epidemiology  
PUBH 6245 Infectious Disease Epidemiology  
PUBH 6250 Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS  
PUBH 6260 Advanced Data Analysis in Public Health  
PUBH 6262 Intro-Geographic Information Systems  
PUBH 6283 Biostatistics Consulting Practicum  
PUBH 6299 Topics in Epi/Bio  
Approved statistics elective courses:  
STAT 2118 Regression Analysis  
STAT 4181 Applied Time Series Analysis  
STAT 3187 Introduction to Sampling  
Consulting (3 credits):  
PUBH 6258 Adv Topics/Biostat Consulting  
PUBH 6999 Thesis  



At the completion of the MS program in Epidemiology students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in basic epidemiology concepts, e.g., formulate hypotheses and research aims, select appropriate study design, identify risk and/or protective factors that contribute to disease outcomes, develop analytic plans, and identify bias.
  • Demonstrate competence using standard statistical software packages to manage and analyze primary data or conduct secondary data analyses to address research questions
  • Demonstrate proficiency in data analysis and interpretation of results, including discussion of threats to internal validity, and compose a formal presentation or report
  • Describe and apply methods to conduct sound ethical research


Graduation Requirements

  1. Graduate Credit Requirement: 33 graduate credits are required
  2. Thesis: 2 credits
  3. Grade Point Requirements: A 3.0 (B average) overall grade point average is required.
  4. Time Limit Requirement: The MS must be completed within 4 years

Past Program Guides

This is the current program guide for this program. Students should follow the course requirements from the year in which they entered the program. 

Past Guides:
Guides that are not available online can be accquired from the Academic Affairs Program Coordinator in the Dean's Office.