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UC Irvine students


The Department of Epidemiology, within UC Irvine's School of Medicine, offers a course of study and academic research leading to the Master of Science (MS) degree in Epidemiology.


Master of Science in Epidemiology

Students seeking the Masters degree in Epidemiology are usually interested in teaching careers, but many go into different areas of industry, research and government.  Conferral of the masters degree demonstrates a students familiarity with the current state of the science in one or more areas and thier capability to make important contributions to knowledge in one or more areas of Epidemiology. Nominal time to degree in our program is two years.


Students pursuing the MS are guided throughout their training and development by faculty members.  Progress of all students is overseen by the Department Graduate Faculty Advisor.  However, each student is guided at a more detailed and personal level by an individual faculty member called the Faculty Mentor.  Students are assigned to Mentors based on shared areas of interest, and the mentor can and often does change as the student’s interests develop.  Once settled, the Faculty Mentor becomes the Chair of the student’s thesis committee.


The course of study toward the MS degree is fairly structured due to the short 2-year timeline.  The first year is largely devoted to required courses in epidemiologic and biostatistics methods.  As students advance there is more opportunity to take elective courses, and to arrange for directed or independent study with specific faculty members. The 2nd year is largely focused on research and writing. Students must carry a minimum of twelve (12) credit units per quarter. 

Qualifying Exams and Research Presentations

Masters students take a comprehensive exam between their first and second years of study, to demonstrate mastery of the material covered in the first year.  In and beyond the first year, students are encouraged to make presentations of research in the department seminar and other forums, in preperation for their thesis defense at the conclusion of their second year. 


The thesis demonstrates a students understanding of epidemiologicl methods and scientific study design. A successful thesis is primarily a demonstration that the student can make, on their own, important contributions to the field.  Acceptance of the thesis implies that the student is (1) able to identify research questions that are both important and feasible to answer, (2) able to create a workable research plan, and (3) generate results. The completion of the thesis contributes to the growing knowlege of information in the students specific field of study.  

Why chose UCI?

The Department of Epidemiology at UC Irvine ranks among the top epidemiology departments in the nation and is among the most respected academic units at UC Irvine. The evolution of our academic unit over the past 25 years has included the development of California's first cancer epidemiology program focused on a population-based cancer registry. This cancer registry has facilitated a steady growth of large cancer epidemiology research projects making UC Irvine a leader in this  field. As a result, the Department of Epidemiology has been successful in recruiting superb faculty members who are leaders in their respective research areas, as well as an exceptional group of graduate students who are partners with us in our research and teaching.