San Diego State University

MPH – Epidemiology




Epidemiologists study the transmission and control of epidemic diseases.

Epidemiologists study the transmission and control of epidemic diseases in human populations.

The Division of Epidemilogy is one of the graduate divisions within the SDSU Graduate School of Public Health.  It offers the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with concentration in Epidemiology.

Epidemiology has often been termed “the basic science of public health.” The Epidemiology concentration provides training in the following areas:

  • identification of biological, environmental, social, and behavioral risk factors for human disease.
  • determination of the distribution and etiology of health and disease in human populations.

The program in Epidemiology is designed to prepare students to be public health practitioners as well as for careers in teaching and research.  Epidemiologists may continue on to become leaders in public or private health agencies and organizations.



See also…

Required Courses

The 51 unit program is listed below and is typically completed in two years by full-time students:

  • Public Health Core Classes (15 units)
    • PH 601 Epidemiology (3)
    • PH 602 Biostatistics (3)
    • PH 603 Behavioral and Social Science in Public Health (3)
    • PH 604 Environmental Determinants of Human Health (3)
    • PH 605 Health Services Administration (3)
  • Epidemiology Concentration Courses (12 units)
    • PH 623 Epidemiological Methods (3)
    • PH 627 Advanced Statistical Methods in Public Health (3)
    • PH 621 Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (3)
    • PH 622 Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases (3)
  • Supervised Field Placement (3 units)
    • PH 650R Required Community Practice (3) Cr/NC
  • Prescribed Electives (6 units) – A minimum of six additional units selected with the approval of adviser from:
    • PH 625 Control of Infectious Diseases (3)
    • PH 626 International Field Epidemiology (3)
    • PH 726 HIV/AIDS Epidemiology (3)
    • PH 649 Border and Global Public Health Surveillance (3)
    • PH 700A Seminar in Public Health: Epidemiology (3)
    • PH 722 Seminar in Clinical Trials (3)
    • PH 724 Advanced Methods in Epidemiology (3)
    • PH 823 Case-Control Studies (3)
    • PH 824 Cohort Studies (3)
    • PH 826 Analysis of Case-Control Studies (3)
    • PH 827 Analysis of Cohort Studies (3)
  • Additional Electives (12 units) *
    • PH 797 Research (3) Cr/NC OR three units to include any public health or statistics course with the approval of the faculty adviser
  • Capstone Experience (3 units) **
    • PH 799A Thesis (3) Cr/NC OR PH 798 Special Study (3) Cr/NC


See the SDSU Graduate Bulletin for descriptions and prerequisites for these courses.

Plan of Study

Students seeking a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology are required to file a formal Official Program of Study (list all the classes that will be taken to fulfill degree requirements) after completing at least 12 units of study, and before completing the last 9 units. The Official Program of Study must be approved by the graduate adviser.

*Additional Electives

To fulfill the additional elective requirement students are strongly encouraged to take PH 797 (Research). It allows them to earn units for the effort they put into researching their thesis or manuscript. Their committee chair will very likely require them to enroll in PH 797.

**Thesis or Manuscript

Students can complete their degree in the Epidemiology concentration by choosing either Plan A (Thesis) or Plan B (Manuscript).  If students select Plan A, PH 799A is required for completion of their degree, accompanied by a final defense of their thesis. If students select Plan B, PH 798 (Special Study) is required, and a scientific manuscript based on their research must be prepared for completion of the degree.

Time Limitation

The school expects a student to complete the degree within seven years. Failure to complete the degree requirements within seven years will result in dismissal from the program.







last updated: 10/31/2013