MS in Genetic Epidemiology


The Master of Science degree offers advanced training in Genetic Epidemiology with an emphasis on applied research skills to understand the etiology and prevention of complex diseases with genetic and environmental components. Completion of this degree prepares graduates for careers in academic institutions, health care delivery systems, public health departments, governmental agencies, and the private sector, particularly biotechnology. The core curriculum develops competencies in genetic epidemiology, epidemiology, biostatistics, and bioinformatics within the broader context of ethical, legal and social issues. The degree requires coursework in genetic epidemiology, epidemiology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, law, and bioethics. Upon completion, graduates will have been introduced to the research principles and methods that will enable them to design, conduct, analyze, and interpret genetic epidemiologic research. Successful completion requires a research-based master's thesis.

Likely Careers

Academia; research institutes and organizations; HMO's; local, state, and national government.


The degree is also appropriate for individuals who possess an MD, RN, DVM, DDS, PhD, or JD degree that seek a career in public health practice or academia. 

Application Deadline:  Jan. 1 for Autumn Quarter entry


Upon satisfactory completion of the MS in Genetic Epidemiology, graduates will be able to:

  • Meet the generic SPH learning objectives for the MS degree;
  • Apply knowledge of inheritance to understanding the etiology of a variety of diseases and health conditions;
  • Describe the major genetic epidemiologic research study designs and their advantages and limitations and apply epidemiological and statistical approaches to the study of risk factors and diseases with a genetic component;
  • Design, conduct and analysis of genetic epidemiologic studies and interpretation of findings, including integration of findings from other genetic epidemiologic studies;
  • Describe the importance of evaluating interactions among genes, environmental factors, and behaviors, and their roles in health and disease;
  • Critically read and evaluate quantitative research findings contained in, genetics, medical and public health journals;
  • Write a research proposal including rationale for a specific genetic epidemiologic investigation, including a clear description of methods, and strengths and limitations of the proposed study;
  • Demonstrate proficiency in conducting statistical analysis of genetic epidemiologic data;
  • Describe the legal, ethical and social issues that may be associated with the collection and application of genetic and genomic information;
  • Describe the latest technologies and genomic advances used to investigate the role of genes in disease and normal variation of traits; and
  • Communicate effectively and persuasively, both orally and in writing, with colleagues within genetic epidemiology and from other disciplines.