Department of Public Health Sciences

Department of

Public Health Sciences


Public Health Sciences

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Program Overview

This Master of Science in Epidemiology with Specialization in Biostatistics is is a 12 month full time program (part time available case by case). All students are required to complete eight courses in two terms (including 6 core courses and two elective courses) and a one-term supervised practicum project in biostatistics. In the practicum, students will complete either a research project pertaining to some aspect of the biostatistics methodological research work of their supervisor or a practicum placement with an academic or industry-based research group pertaining to the biostatistics applications. When all program requirements are completed satisfactorily, students will be awarded either a M.Sc. in Epidemiology with Specialization in Biostatistics (if they are registered in the Department of Public Health Sciences), OR M.Sc. in Mathematics and Statistics with Specialization in Biostatistics (if they are registered in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics).

Completing Your Degree

Students are accepted for a September start date and, if enrolled in full-time studies, are expected to meet the milestones listed below:


  • Introduction to Epidemiology (EPID 801)
  • Advanced Biostatistics (EPID 823) 
  • Statistical Inference (STAT 853)
  • Computational Data Analysis (STAT 862) 


  • Intermediate Epidemiology (EPID 804) 
  • Survival Analysis (STAT 886) 
  • Two electives


  • Practicum (EPID 888)


The following is a brief overview of course content of the Master of Biostatistics program, including 6 core courses offered by the Department of Public Health Sciences and Department of Mathematics and Statistics and some elective courses offered by the various departments identified.

Core Courses

EPID 801: Introduction to Epidemiology

This course deals with the design and analysis of research in epidemiology. Topics include: measures of health status; risk factors and associations between them; study design including descriptive, analytical, experimental, and theoretical approaches; validity issues; critical appraisal; sources of data; and data collection and management.

Three term hours, fall, every year.

EPID 804: Intermediate Epidemiology

This course deals with advanced methods and issues in the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of epidemiologic studies. The content focuses on observational study design and analysis, and builds on epidemiologic principles presented in EPID 801. Data analysis will emphasize te application and interpretation of statistical concepts in epidemiologic research.

Three term hours, winter, every year.

EPID 823: Advanced Methods of Biostatistics

An advanced course in the theoretical issues and analytical practices in epidemiology, and biostatistics. Major topics include the life-table method, demography and confounding and its solutions. Detailed design and analysis of cohort, case-referent and experimental studies shall be performed. Multi factor techniques including log-linear logistics and Cox's proportional hazards models will be discussed detail.

Three term hours, fall, every year.
Prerequisites: EPID 822 or equivalent ("equivalent" option applicable to MSc Collaborative Biostatistics students only

STAT 853: Statistical Inference

Decision theory and Bayesian inference; principles of optimal statistical procedures; maximum likelihood principle; large sample theory for maximum likelihood estimates; principles of hypotheses testing and the Neyman-Pearson theory; generalized likelihood ratio tests; the chi-square, t, F and other distributions.

Three term hours, fall, every year.
Offered jointly with STAT 463

STAT 862: Computational Data Analysis

An introduction to aspects of computer software consistent with modern professional practice of statistics. Particular attention is given to the use of the statistical packages SAS and S-Plus.

Three term hours, fall, every year.
Offered jointly with STAT 462

STAT 886: Survival Analysis

Introduces the theory and application of survival analysis: survival distributions and their applications, parametric and nonparametric methods, proportional hazards models, counting process and proportional hazards regression, planning and designing clinical trials.

Three terms hours, winter, every year.
Offered jointly with STAT 486

Department of Public Health Science Electives

EPID 812: Program Evaluation

This course provides an introduction to public health program evaluation methods. The intent is to familiarize the student with the major issues, methods and challenges faced by program evaluators working in the field of public health. The emphasis will be on conceptual approaches, potential program design issues, and the interpretation and application of program evaluation findings.

Three term hours, winter, every year.

EPID 815 Independent Study : Manuscript Review and Publication

This directed reading course guides novice researchers through the process of peer-reviewed publication. Students are assigned "first draft" manuscripts and assume roles as authors, reviewers, and editors. Students complete readings, on-line tutorials developed by the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, and assignments to develop skills to support successful publication.
Instructor: E. Weir. Prerequisites: Epid 801 ( Introduction to Epidemiology), or instructor approval. Three term hours, winter, every year.

EPID 825: Foundations of Public Health Practice

This is an introductory course in public health. This course will introduce students to individual-, community-, regional- and national-level health promotion and health protection strategies. Examples will be drawn from chronic disease and injury prevention, reproductive and child health, infectious disease prevention and control, and environmental health. Students will be introduced to the role of surveillance in determining public health priorities.

Three term hours, winter, every year. Instructor: P. Belanger

EPID 827: Public Health Leadership and Administration

This course provides an introduction to public health leadership and administration. The intent is to familiarize students with the main organizational, financial, and service delivery components of public health in Canada. Students will learn principles of strategic planning, public health marketing, legal and ethical issues associated with public health programs and interventions, and will be taught how to tackle system level thinking when resolving community health and organizational problems. This course will build competencies in critical thinking and communication.

Three term hours, fall, every year. Instructor: E. Weir.
Prerequisite: EPID 825

EPID 829: Foundations in Global Health

Students will be exposed to various global health concepts and be trained to work through potential solutions in a public health context. The course will be taught through formal lecture, seminar and small group learning, and online modules. Topics may include: health; public health and development; aboriginal health; health systems and policies; Canada's role in global health and social justice; and special populations.

Three term hours, winter, every year. Instructor: C. Davison.

EPID 831: Chronic Disease Epidemiology 

This course will provide an overview of the epidemiology of some of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Canada and will highlight the key methodological considerations for the study of each disease or health problem.

Three term hours, winter, every year. Instructor: L. Levesque.
Prerequisites: EPID 801 and EPID 821 or equivalents with permission of course coordinator. 

EPID 832: Mental Health/ Critical Inquiry 

This course will provide students with in-depth substantive knowledge about the evolution of health issues that have shaped policy and mental health services. 

Three term hours, winter, every year. Instructor: H. Stuart.
Prerequisites: EPID 801 or permission of course instructor. 

EPID 833: Issues in Military and Veteran Health Research

Students are exposed to health issues associated with military experience that includes both veterans and military families. As a weekly webinar, the course will include presentations from Canadian specialists who will contextualize military mental and physical health needs and introduce theoretical and methodological approaches to conducting applied health research among this population.

Three term hours, fall, every year. Instructors: S. Belanger.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics Electives

STAT 855: Stochastic Processes and Applications

Markov chains, birth and death processes, random walk problems, elementary renewal theory, Markov processes, Brownian motion and Poisson processes, queuing theory, branching processes.

Three term hours, fall, every year.
Offered jointly with MTHE/STAT 455)

STAT 865/465: Quality Management

An overview of the statistical and lean manufacturing tools and techniques used in the measurement and improvement of quality in business, government and industry today. Topics include management and planning tools, Six Sigma approach, statistical process charting, process capability analysis, measurement system analysis. (Offered jointly with STAT 465.)

Winter, every year. 

STAT 873: Generalized Linear Models

An introduction to advanced regression methods for binary, categorical, and count data. Major topics include maximum-likelihood method, binomial and Poisson regression, contingency tables, log linear models, and random effect models. The generalized linear models will be discussed both in theory and in applications to real data from a variety of sources.(Offered jointly with STAT-473*.) 

Winter, every year. 

MATH 895: Probability Theory

The course provides basic knowledge in probability at the graduate level. Topics will include: basic notions and concepts of Probability Theory; characteristics functions; law of large numbers and central limit theorem; martingales; stochastic processes.

Three term hours, fall, every year.

Interdepartmental Electives

Students in the past have completed electives within the listed departments. Any electives taken within other departments require approval from the MSc specializing in Biostatistics Program Director.

Department of Psychology

Department of Biology

Economics Department