The Epidemiology (EPI) area of study is focused on the frequency, distribution, and determinants of disease in humans–a fundamental science of public health. EPI students are highly interested in quantitative methods, population-based studies, and analyzing data to improve results.  

The EPI area of study educates and prepares future medical leaders and practitioners as part of Harvard Chan School’s mission to ignite positive changes in the quality of health across the world. 

Department overview

The Department of Epidemiology has a long tradition of teaching and research in the epidemiology of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases, as well as in epidemiologic methodology.  

The EPI department offers a total of 70 courses with 12 substantive areas, such as Cancer Epidemiology, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Reproductive Epidemiology, and Cardiovascular Epidemiology. 

Degree programs

Student interests

Students who choose to study EPI are dedicated to pursuing groundbreaking research initiatives. EPI applicants are encouraged to have experience in relevant disciplines–biology, chemistry, genetics, physiology, bioengineering, and related social and computational sciences–and mathematics. Summer-only Master of Science students have to complete a thesis and identify clear research goals at the start of the program. 

Career outcomes

EPI offers a well-rounded curriculum that can be applied across a variety of disciplines for career growth. 

Graduates of the Master of Science (SM) programs have found employment as: 

  • Research analysts at consulting firms 
  • Program coordinators at community-based organizations 
  • Project directors at city, state, and federal health commissions 
  • Leadership positions at non-profit organizations 

Graduates of the Master of Public Health (MPH-EPI) program will receive the advanced research and epidemiological skills needed to pursue senior positions in the following industries: 

  • Academia 
  • Healthcare Management 
  • Public Health Agencies 
  • Nongovernmental Organizations 
  • Private Sector Institutions 

A large portion of MPH-EPI students are physicians who return to their medical doctor roles or positions within research labs. Others use their MPH-EPI degree to pivot toward leadership roles in health organizations. Those interested in research occasionally move towards Principal Investigator (PI) positions in the public or private sectors. 

Graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program have found employment in: 

  • Postdoctoral positions
  • Tenure-track faculty positions 
  • Management/research positions at government agencies