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Students will complete a minimum of 39 credit hours of coursework, including 27 hours of required program inclusive of a research thesis (CPH699), and a minimum of 12 hours of electives. CPH 663 (Introduction to Public Health 1- credit) or equivalent is needed for students without a prior public health degree.

Program Objectives

Following successful completion of the program, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate the literature in a substantive area of research in epidemiology; be able to identify gaps in knowledge in the substantive area.

  • Using principles of epidemiologic study design, interpret the impact of bias, confounding, and effect modification on causal inference in epidemiologic research.

  • Analyze epidemiologic data using advanced statistical methods including linear models, generalized linear models, and survival analysis with statistical software.

  • Apply core aspects of field methods in epidemiology (e.g., survey design, sampling and power, GIS, exposure assessment, and surveillance) to epidemiologic research.

  • Communicate both orally and in writing the results of epidemiologic analyses in a professional manner.

Program Requirements

Students will complete a minimum of 39 credit hours of coursework), including 27 hours of required program inclusive of a research thesis (CPH699), and a minimum of 12 hours of electives. CPH 663 (Introduction to Public Health 1- credit) or equivalent is needed for students without a prior public health degree.

The core curriculum includes foundational coursework in epidemiology, biostatistics, and programming:

  • CPH 605 Epidemiology (3)

  • CPH 712 Advanced Epidemiology (3 hours)

  • BST 600 Intro to Biostatistical Methods (3 hours)

  • BST 635 Databases and SAS programming (3 hours)

  • BST 681 Linear Regression (3 hours)

  • EPI 714 Epidemiologic Study Design (3 hours)

  • BST 715 Advanced Methods in Epidemiology and Biostatistics (3 hours)

  • Choose one: CPH 612, CPH 615 or CPH 711 (Chronic, Infectious, or Cancer Epidemiology)

  • CPH 699 MS Epidemiology Research Thesis (3 hours)

  • CPH 663 Introduction to Public Health (required only for students without prior PH degree). (1 credit)

Electives in epidemiology and biostatistics should be selected from the following list:

  • CPH 612 Infectious Disease Epidemiology (3 hours)

  • CPH 615 Cancer Epidemiology (3 hours)

  • CPH 711 Chronic Disease Epidemiology (3 hours)

  • CPH 617 Environmental / Occupational Epidemiology (3 hours)

  • CPH 660 Disease Mapping and Data Visualization (3 hours)

  • CPH 713 Pharmacoepidemiology (3 hours)

  • BST 636 Analytic Methods for Mining Healthcare Data

  • BST 661 Survival Analysis (3 hours)

  • BST 663 Analysis of Categorical Data (3 hours)

  • BST 664 Design and Analysis of Clinical Trials (3 hours)

Any other electives must be approved by the DGS.

Thesis Requirement

The thesis research will need to be an original scientific project using either primary or secondary data with a population (epidemiologic) or clinical trials focus. The thesis must be developed under the direction of a Full or an Associate member of the Graduate Faculty. The completion of the thesis will require the formation of a master’s thesis committee. No fewer than 3 persons shall constitute the thesis committee. One of the members must be a Full member of the Graduate School, and at least 2 of the 3 members must be faculty from the Department of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health. The scope of the thesis shall demonstrate independence, mastery of research skills, and thoughtful reflection of the results in accordance with guidelines given in the CPH student handbook and the rules of the graduate school. A successful thesis must be approved by the thesis director, the Director of Graduate Studies, the Examination Committee, and the Graduate School, and must conform with instructions prepared by the Graduate School entitled “Instructions for the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations.” (Copies of this document are available from the Graduate School.)

At the University of Kentucky, Master's degrees (Plan A) require the completion of a thesis. This work reflects the quality of the program that supervises the student and the university that awards the degree. Therefore, the Graduate School sets criteria and standards for the format of the written work which will be available not only to the immediate campus, but also to a wider scholarly community via the Web. Each program has selected the style manual(s) most consistent with scholarly practice in their specific discipline. The student should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies concerning the manual to be used.

Students no longer have had the option of submitting their thesis or dissertation in the traditional print format. The submission of the work in an electronic form has a number of potential advantages, including greater flexibility for the inclusion of multimedia components, and cost savings on paper.

Each student must meet with a faculty advisory committee before the end of the semester for which the student is admitted to discuss the thesis research project (Plan A). The intention is that this committee would be the student’s examination committee, thereby involving the examination committee in the development of each student’s thesis. The committee composition must meet all requirements of the Graduate School for composition of a final examination committee for an MS degree. Any changes in the schedule of classes made by the committee will be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for audit to ensure that all requirements will be met. The student must document the first and all subsequent advisory committee meetings by submitting an Advisory Committee Meeting Report to the Director of Graduate Studies. These reports will be placed in the student’s academic file.  Plan A students must present an acceptable thesis and successfully complete an oral final examination.

Maximum length of time for completion of the Master's degree and procedures for early termination of a student's enrollment in the program will comply with guidelines outlined in the Graduate School Bulletin.

Sample Schedule

Year 1 Fall Year 1 Spring Year 2 Fall Year 2 Spring
CPH 605 CPH 612, CPH 615, CPH711 CPH 712 EPI 714
BST 600 BST 635 BST 681 EPI 715
CPH 663 (if needed) [1 credit] Guided Elective Guided Elective CPH 699 Thesis
Guided Elective


Guided Elective


Total = 9-10 credits 9 credits 12 credits 9 credits


  MS Degree MPH Degree
Credit Hours 39 42
Audience Research and technical, PhD seeking, Practice as epidemiologist Practice PH
Epidemiology Classes
  • 605 Intro Epidemiology
  • 712 Advanced Epidemiology
  • Cancer or Chronic or Infectious Epidemiology
  • Study Design (714)
  • Advanced Methods in Epi Bio (715)
  • 605 Intro Epidemiology
  • 712 Advanced Epidemiology
  • Cancer or Chronic
  • Infectious Epidemiology
  • CPH 660 Disease Mapping & Data Visualization
Biostatistics Classes
  • BST 600 Methods in Biostatistics - Slade
  • BST 681 Regression Models for Epidemiology (Linear) - Ellis
  • CPH 635 SAS Programming
  • CPH 603 Data Analysis
Environmental Health, Health Management, Health Behavioral Classes None Required 4 Classes
CPH 663 1 Credit Version Required
Electives 12 Elective Hours 6 Credits of Electives
Practicum No Yes
Capstone No Yes
Master Thesis Yes No