Master of Epidemiology
The Master of Epidemiology (MEpi) at the University of Melbourne is designed for students to want to increase their research skills in epidemiology with the aim of either contributing to epidemiological or medical research or developing a research career, but who don’t want the breadth of subjects required for the MPH.
The course combines five compulsory integrated subjects in epidemiology and statistical methods, one specialty elective subject and a research report where students conduct an applied project.
The Master of Epidemiology is an excellent grounding for undertaking a PhD or other graduate research program. It also develops skills that enable clinical researchers to undertake their own research. Graduates are expected to:
- Understand the epidemiological and biostatistical theory and methods that underpin epidemiological practice and research with a solid foundation in epidemiological and analytical skills
- Build competence in critical appraisal, and develop core skills for research and practice in epidemiology
- Investigate and describe the causes and spread of disease and develop the means for prevention or control
The project may involve a student analysing existing data, performing a systematic review or developing a research protocol, allowing further development in a specialty interest area of the student’s choice according to methods, disease groups and/or population setting.
The Master of Epidemiology lays a solid foundation in epidemiological, analytical and critical appraisal skills used in clinical and epidemiological practice and health research.
To be eligible, you need an honours degree, a medical degree, or a 3-year degree with relevant work experience. Students in this program are typically practising clinicians (e.g. doctors) who are looking for the equivalent of a one-year degree or students who have been working in the health sector and who eventually want to do a PhD based on epidemiological research.
Two of the core subjects are offered in online mode only, while other subjects are offered in dual delivery mode: online and on-campus. Some subjects are semester long, others run for shorter periods.
Choosing between the Master of Epidemiology, Master of Science (Epidemiology) or Master of Public Health specialising in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Students wishing to specialise in Epidemiology have three options:
- Master of Epidemiology (MEpi)
- Master of Science (Epidemiology) (MSci (Epi))
- Master of Public Health (MPH) specialising in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
How long are the courses?
The MPH is a two year-full time course (200 points), although it is possible for students to be offered up to 50 points credit, making it equivalent to 1.5 years full-time. The MSc (Epi) is a two-year full-time program (200 points). The MEpi is a two-year part-time program (100 points); it is not available for full-time study.
What are the differences in the entry requirements?
Applicants for the MPH and MSc(Epi) must have a 3-year undergraduate degree. Any degree is acceptable for the MPH, whereas applicants for the MSc(Epi) must have a science major. Because the MEpi is equivalent to a one-year masters degree, applicants for this program must have at least an honours degree, a medical degree, or a 3-year degree with at least two years relevant work experience.
What are the main differences in the structure of the courses?
The MPH is a broad degree that includes a diverse range of subjects relevant to the practice of public health. It has six compulsory subjects (including Epidemiology and Biostatistics) and many electives from which to choose. It includes an optional, 25-point research project or an optional, 25-point professional practice unit.
The MEpi has five compulsory subjects and one elective subject in epidemiology and biostatistics and a compulsory 25-point research project. The entry requirements are stricter than for the other two degrees because it is a one-year program.
The MSc(Epi) has six compulsory subjects in epidemiology and biostatistics (five of which are the compulsory subjects for the MEpi). Students in the MSc(Epi) must also do at least two subjects designed to improve their professional skills. The degree has a compulsory, 50-point research project. It offers more opportunity for elective subjects than the MEpi.
Can I do the same epidemiology and biostatistics subjects in each degree?
Depending on how many points you do for your MPH, you can include all the epidemiology and biostatistics subjects that are part of the MSc (Epi). You can do six of these subjects for the MEpi.
What type of students are the degrees designed for?
The MPH is a broad degree that is internationally recognised as suitable for public health practitioners. It is available to anyone with a 3-year degree in any field of study. The MPH is probably the most suitable degree for you if:
- You are interested in the practice of public health, but want good skills in epidemiology and biostatistics
- You have no background in public health or science, but are interested in developing skills and knowledge in public health (and want good skills in epidemiology and biostatistics). The combination of these subjects will help you to explore your career options in public health in practice or epidemiological research. Students in the MPH come from many backgrounds and the MPH is suitable if you are not sure if epidemiology is the career path for you.
The MEpi is designed for students to want to increase their research skills in epidemiology with the aim of either contributing to epidemiological or medical research or developing a research career, but who don’t want the breadth of subjects required for the MPH. To be eligible, you need an honours degree, a medical degree, or a 3-year degree with relevant work experience. Students in this program are typically practising clinicians (e.g. doctors) who are looking for the equivalent of a one-year degree or students who have been working in the health sector and who eventually want to do a PhD based on epidemiological research.
The MSc(Epi) is designed for students coming from a science background who want to become epidemiologists. It allows more flexibility than the MEpi because it is a two-year program. It is available to anyone with a 3-year degree in a relevant science discipline and thus allows people without an honours degree the possibility of in-depth study in epidemiology. Most of the students in this program come straight from a 3-year undergraduate degree with the aim of developing a career in epidemiology.
Can I use each degree as a pathway PhD?
If you do the MPH, you would need to do the research project or have already completed the equivalent of 25 points worth of research to be eligible for a PhD.
If you do the MPH, and you want to do a PhD in epidemiology, you would be advised to do most, if not all of the epidemiology/biostatistics subjects.