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Master of Science in Epidemiology

The Graduate Program in Epidemiology offers instruction and interdisciplinary research opportunities leading to the M.S. degree in Epidemiology. Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of illness and impairment in human populations. It is important in its own right, and epidemiologic methods are used by clinical investigators and by other scientists who conduct observational and experimental research on the identification, prevention, and treatment of human disorders.

Core and affiliated faculty come from the Department of Health Research and Policy; other Stanford University departments, and notable Bay Area research facilities. The Program has particular strengths in cancer epidemiology, cardiovascular disease epidemiology, infectious disease epidemiology, musculoskeletal disease epidemiology, neuroepidemiology, and aspects of epidemiologic methods, genetic epidemiology, and reproductive epidemiology and women's health.

The mission of the Stanford University School of Medicine is to be a premier research-intensive medical school that improves health through leadership and collaborative discoveries and innovation in patient care, education and research. With support from a NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award, the graduate program in Epidemiology fosters this mission through the training of physician investigators in techniques of clinical research. The department also considers students from other disciplines who would benefit from formal training in epidemiologic methods.

A typical student has the M.D. degree and is in the fellowship stage of his or her postgraduate training, or in an early stage of faculty development. Other students may not have prior clinical training. These may include behavioral, social, and life scientists; law students; and students with the baccalaureate degree. They may wish to bring an epidemiologic orientation to their research or practice, or they may be considering careers in epidemiology or a related discipline.

To receive the M.S. degree, students are expected to obtain a grounding in epidemiologic methods and applied biostatistics and to demonstrate research skills through the completion of a thesis. Students must complete at least 45 units of course work:

  1. Epidemiologic methods: HRP 225, Design and Conduct of Clinical and Epidemiologic Studies; HRP 226, Advanced Epidemiologic and Clinical Research Methods; HRP 251, Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials.
  2. Biostatistics: HRP 259, Introduction to Probability and Statistics for Epidemiology; HRP 261, Intermediate Biostatistics: Analysis of Discrete Data; HRP 262, Intermediate Biostatistics: Regression, Prediction, Survival Analysis.
  3. Research seminars: HRP 236, Epidemiology Research Seminar (at least 3 units).
  4. Research: HRP 399, Master thesis (at least 12 units).
  5. Research conduct: Students must complete MED 255, Responsible Conduct of Research, and attend a Human Subjects Institutional Review Board meeting.
  6. Additional approved selective and elective courses to complete the program total of at least 45 units.

Students are assigned a methodology mentor from the Department of Health Research and Policy, and they also select a research mentor, who may be from another department. For physicians, the research mentor is often an affiliated faculty member from the department of the student's clinical specialty.

University requirements for the M.S. degree are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of this bulletin. Other programmatic requirements are in Graduate Program in Epidemiology, Information and Guidelines, available from the educational coordinator in the Department of Health Research and Policy.

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