The Department of Epidemiology offers the following three graduate degrees: Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Science, and Master of Public Health, for individuals intending to become academicians, highly qualified research specialists, or well-trained public health practitioners, respectively. The department also offers a number of degree tracks within the masterís degree programs, as well as several graduate certificates.
Admission Requirements for All Degrees
Admission to all graduate programs is highly competitive and is based on the following:
The Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in epidemiology requires coursework in health services and environmental health, in addition to epidemiology and biostatistics, as well as a thesis and a practicum as preparation for a career in public health practice or as a prelude to the PhD program. Three tracks are available: the general track, which is selected by most students and allows specialization via the choice of electives and thesis topic; the global health track (GH); and the maternal and child health track (MCH). The global health track requires approximately two years of prior health science work experience in a developing country, although some of the two years may be health-related work with immigrant or underserved groups in the United States. (The epidemiology global health track is not the same as the MPH general track through the Global Health Department in that it focuses on epidemiology and biostatistics rather than on health services-oriented training, but it does incorporate some of the same classes.) Applicants without the requisite experience may apply to both the Epidemiology general track and the global health graduate certificate (listed below) which combined offer equivalent training. The MCH track expects prior U.S. MCH experience for admission. Applicants without this experience may apply to both the general track and the MCH graduate certificate (listed below) which combined offer the similar training.
Formal concurrent degree programs involving the epidemiology MPH include the following: Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Anthropology, Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS), and Master of Public Affairs (MPA). A masterís or doctorate from another department at the UW may be combined with the MPH with the approval of both programs.
The Master of Science (MS) degree in epidemiology requires concentration on courses and research in epidemiology and biostatistics as preparation for a research specialization or as a prelude to the PhD program. It also requires electives from the School of Public Health. Two tracks are available, the general track, which allows specialization via the choice of electives and thesis topic and the clinical research track (CR). The MS CR is intended chiefly for professionals who have already completed clinical training, and who plan to conduct research with patients in healthcare settings as a significant part of their future careers.
A formal concurrent degree program combines the epidemiology general track MS with the PhD in molecular and cellular biology. A masterís or doctorate from another department at the UW may be combined with the MS with the approval of both programs.
Applicants interested in an MS in genetic epidemiology, administered by the Institute for Public Health Genetics (a School of Public Health program that is not part of the Department of Epidemiology), should visit http://depts.washington.edu/phgen/programs/msge.html.
The Doctor of Philosophy is designed to produce academics who are highly qualified as independent investigators, teachers, and practitioners. The requirements for the PhD degree in epidemiology differ from the MS program requirements primarily in the scope and complexity of research for the dissertation. Coursework includes a core series in epidemiology and biostatistics, as well as epidemiology electives and other electives from the School of Public Health.
Admission Requirements Specific to the PhD
The Epidemiology Department and other School of Public Health departments offer several graduate certificate programs open to any qualified graduate student at the University (sph.washington.edu/prospective/edprograms.asp#cert). Some certificate programs are open to Graduate Non-Matriculated students, if indicated on the certificate websites. Following is a partial listing of certificate programs:
Master of Public Health
Minimum 63 credits, as follows:
MPH Specialized Program Options: The MPH degree offers specialized tracks as listed below. They have additional course, practicum and thesis requirements detailed on the program websites.
Master of Science
60 credits, to include:
Students may enroll in additional elective courses in epidemiology and other relevant departments, and for independent study (EPI 600) to bring the total to 60 credits. Public health-related 400-level coursework taken as a graduate student at the UW may count toward total credits with departmental approval. Coursework unrelated to public health and at the 300-level or below does not count toward the degree.
MS Specialized Program Options:
Doctor of Philosophy
The curriculum includes courses on epidemiologic methods, and biostatistics. Electives in substantive disease and exposure areas, as well as research methods, are required. Requisite general electives from the School of Public Health are also part of the curriculum.
Minimum 90 total credits:
Research assistantships (RA) for work on various projects provide salary and tuition waivers for students working 20 hours a week. Although funding is not guaranteed with admission, many new PhD and a few masterís students find a research assistantship by the start of their first autumn quarter. Most doctoral students have found an RA by their second or third quarter in the program, and many masterís students do so by their second year, when they have more of the skills that faculty supervisors need. Research training stipends with partial tuition support are available on a limited basis, especially for more advanced doctoral students. Teaching assistantships are available competitively for second-year and higher-level students. More information is at http://depts.washington.edu/epidem/funding/index.shtml.
University facilities include an excellent library system and access to computers. Many varied opportunities for field research and practica are provided in Seattle and elsewhere in the state and nation, at institutions such as Seattle Children's hospital, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Group Health Research Institute, Harborview Medical Center, the Center for AIDS and STD, Public Health: Seattle-King County, Washington State Department of Health, VA Puget Sound Healthcare Systems, and many other local health institutions. Cooperating organizations focusing on global health also are available in Seattle and internationally. Additional, but not exhaustive, lists of cooperating agencies are at depts.washington.edu/epidem/research/Other_Institutions.shtml. A partial list of agencies and funding related to international health are listed at http://globalhealth.washington.edu/ghrc/funding-and-fieldwork.