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M.P.H. Concentration: Epidemiology

Epidemiologists are "disease detectives." Epidemiology investigates and controls disease and injury patterns in populations.

A public health student listens to a classmate.


Whether it's an infectious disease outbreak, such as influenza, or a disparately high rate of hypertension in a resource-poor community, epidemiologists do the fieldwork that pinpoints the root causes, what the risks are, who is at risk and how to prevent further harm to the public.

At SLU, you will learn to understand how various behavioral, genetic, environmental and health policy factors affect the health of communities.

Admission Requirements and Deadlines

In addition to the admission criteria for all M.P.H. programs, the following is needed for admission to the M.P.H. in epidemiology program:

  • A bachelor's degree in a biomedical or social science is preferred. 

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until classes are full. No GRE is required. Applications are reviewed holistically and are accepted on a rolling basis until classes are full. Apply using the centralized application services or

Joint Concentration Options

In addition to majoring in epidemiology at SLU, you can add it as a joint concentration to almost every other concentration and still graduate in two years. Blending concentrations enables you to combine your interests and provides additional skills that future employers will value.

You can choose these concentration options at SLU (all require just 54 credit hours):

  • Behavioral Science and Health Education
  • Biosecurity and Disaster Preparedness
  • Biostatistics
  • Global Health
  • Health Management and Policy
  • Maternal and Child Health
Concentration Competencies

SLU's strong jobs placement rates are based largely on its competencies-based training, collaborative faculty and a team-based experience. In this concentration, you will:

  • Develop appropriate study designs and analytical strategies to test epidemiologic hypotheses.
  • Accurately interpret epidemiologic data.
  • Appropriately communicate epidemiologic findings.
  • Use data to describe the health of populations.
  • Critically analyze the epidemiologic literature.

What Our Faculty Investigate

  • Cancer epidemiology
  • Exposure assessment
  • Global health
  • Indoor and outdoor air pollution

Applied Practice Experience (APEx)

As a Master of Public Health student, you will be required to complete an internship, referred to as the Applied Practice Experience, or APEx, with an approved organization and preceptor. This 320-hour experience is designed to enhance your educational experience and promote professional competence in epidemiology.

Students who focus on epidemiology have completed practice experiences with:

  • BJC Healthcare
  • Missouri Department of Health and Human Services
  • City of St. Louis Department of Health
  • St. Charles County Public Health Department 
  • St. Louis County Department of Public Health 
  • St. Louis Integrated Health Network

Careers in Epidemiology

Master of Public Health students who chose to concentrate in epidemiology at SLU have gone on to careers in public health departments, the CDC, in hospitals and health systems doing infectious disease control and outcomes research, consulting companies and more.