Department of Public Health Sciences

Department of

Public Health Sciences


Public Health Sciences

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Program Overview

Through a combination of coursework and independent research, students will gain skills to communicate scientifically, describe trends and patterns of disease incidence and prevalence, critically review scientific literature related to epidemiology; apply epidemiological and analytic methods in the design of research; collect, analyze and interpret health data; conduct a study; and write and defend a thesis.  

Completing Your Degree

To complete the requirements for the program, students must​ complete:

Fall, year 1 

  • Completion of Introduction to Epidemiology (EPID 801) and Introductory Biostatistics (EPID 821)
  • Completion of one elective course
  • Choose a thesis supervisor

Winter, year 1

  • Completion of Intermediate Epidemiology (EPID 804) and Intermediate Biostatistics (EPID 822) 
  • Completion of one elective course 
  • Submit Thesis Outline (EPID 899) - last working day in February 

Spring/summer, year 1

  • Submit thesis proposal (EPID 899) - last working day in June 
  • Present Master's Thesis Proposal (EPID 899) - July 

Fall/winter, year 2 

  • Master's Thesis research (EPID 899)
  • Supplementary electives (optional) 

Spring/summer, year 2

  • Completion of Master's Thesis Research (EPID 899)
  • Thesis Defense (EPID 899) - June/August

Complete a Human Research Ethics (CORE) online tutorial (SGS 804) before starting to work on their thesis. This online course is a mandatory requirement for all graduate students conducting research involving human subjects. 

Mandatory MSc Courses offered by the Department 

EPID 801: Introduction to Epidemiology

This course provides foundational knowledge on how human evidence relevant to public health is created, assessed, and used, with a focus on epidemiologic methods. Topics include measures of health status; risk factors and associations with health outcomes; study design including descriptive, analytical, and intervention approaches; validity issues;critical appraisal; assessment of calculation; ethics; and application of epidemiologic evidence in public health decisions.
Three term-hours, fall; every year. Instructor:  W. Pickett

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 the application and interpretation of statistical concepts in epidemiologic research.
Three term-hours, winter; every year. Instructors: W. King. PREREQUISITE: EPID 801

EPID 821: Introductory Biostatistics

​This course introduces basic statistical concepts, principles and techniques essential for community health and epidemiologic research. Topics include descriptive statistics, probability distribution, estimation, hypothesis testing, simple linear regression, correlation and measure of some and nonparametric methods.
Three term-hours, plus 1 1/2 hour tutorial, fall; every year. Instructors: B. Chen and M. McIsaac. Tutorial instructors: A. Day and J. Zhang-Salomons. PREREQUISITE: Permission of the Instructor. 

EPID 822: Intermediate Biostatistics 

This course deals with the commonly used statistical methods proven useful in health services research and the epidemiologic analysis of the relationship between traits, exposures or treatments and diseases or other medical outcomes. The course emphasizes the statistical modelling approach with topics including multiple regression, analysis of variance and covariance, reliability of measurements, analysis of categorical data and logistic regression.  
Three term-hours, plus 1 1/2 hour tutorial, winter; every year. Instructors: B. Chen, M. McIsaac,  P. Peng and C. O'Callaghan. SAS Tutorial instructors: A. Day and J. Zhang-Salomons. PREREQUISITE: EPID 821.

Master's Thesis Research

EPID 899 Thesis Research

Under the direction of Co-supervisors, students will identify a relevant research topic, prepare and present an outline, then a more detailed research proposal. Normally, the proposal would include a statement of the study purpose, the rationale for conducting the research, the study design and data collection methods to be used, a description of the data management and analysis strategies, ethical implications of the study, and the theoretical or practical benefits of the project. Once the proposal is presented to the Department, approved, and receives ethical review and approval from Queen's University, the student will conduct the study, then write and orally defend the results. It is expected that the outline will have been submitted by the end of February of the first year of study; the proposal written and approved by July of the first year of study; and the thesis submitted for defense by the close of the second year of study.

Elective Courses offered by the Department 

EPID 803: Public Health & Policy in the Canadian Health System ​

This course will provides  overview of the public health system in Canada including the provision of health care services. The first section of the course describes how health services are financed, organized and delivered in Canada. The second section of the course shows how finances and legislation influence the development of health policy.
Three term hours, fall; every year. Instructor: A. Mahar

EPID 807: Health Economics

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to economic concepts and analysis relevant to health, health care and health care systems. Topics include: health as an economic variable; health production models: uncertainty in health and its effects; the behaviour and influence of various participants (health care providers, patients, government) on health care utilization and health status. No prior economic background is required, although, students must have basic quantitative skills.
Three term hours, fall every year. Instructor: A. Johnson

EPID 810: Controlled Clinical Trials

This course will cover material relevant to the design and conduct of controlled clinical trials. Design topics will include methods used to achieve unbiased results with improved precision, such as adequate sample size, randomization, blinding, pre- and post-stratification, cross-over designs, placebos and the counting of relevant events. Attention will be given to the problems of conducting multi-centre clinical trials. Topics covered will include drafting of protocols, design of data forms, logistics of data flow, methods of follow-up, data management and quality control, periodic reporting, final data analysis and the production of final reports. Ethical issues and the role of randomized trials in clinical investigation will be discussed.
Three term hours, winter; every year. Instructors: H. Richardson and J. Pater.

EPID 810 Course Outline

EPID 806 Applied Research Methods for Program Planning and Evaluation

This course provides an overview of social research methods and tools to assist students to complete the "evidence to action" program planning and evaluation cycle. Topics covered include: defining the issue, using surveillance data; engaging the community; conducting stakeholder analysis, survey methods, handling qualitative data, building logic models, choosing indicators, communicating the results, and taking action.
Three term hours, winter; every year. Instructor: H. Stuart

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 succesful publication.

Three term hours, winter , every year. Instructor: E. Weir

EPID 823: Advanced Methods in 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 solution. Detailed design and analysis of cohort, case-referent and experimental studies shall be performed. Multifactor techniques including log-linear logistic and Cox's proportional hazards models will be discussed in detail.
Three term hours, fall, every year. Instructors: K. Ding, W. King and D. Tu. PREREQUISITE: EPID 821 + knowledge of basic statistical modeling techniques deemed adequate by the Instructors.

EPID 802: Foundations in Public Health

This course provides an overview of the theoretical and conceptual foundations of public health. It examines the social determinants of health and population health approaches to promote and protect health. It instills in students an understanding of the historical achievements, core values and ethical framework that guide public priorities.
Three term-hours, fall every year. Instructor: TBD

EPID 826: Determinants of Health

This course examines the determinants of health from a population health perspective including social, cultural and economic factors; personal health practices; individual coping skills; and health services will be discussed.
Three term hours, fall, every year. InstructorB. Alvarado. Prerequisite: PREREQUISITE: EPID 801 AND EPID 821.

EPID 827: Public Health Leadership & Administration

This course provides an introduction to public health leadership and administration. The intent is to familiarize with the main components of the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services in Canada. Students will also learn principles of strategic planning, public health marketing, the legal and ethical basis for public health interventions, and systems thinking for resolving community health and organizational problems. Finally, the course will build competencies in critical thinking adn communication skills necessary for public health practice.
Three term-hours, fall every year. Instructor: E. Weir. PREREQUISITE: EPID 825 and completion of practicum.

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. The course 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.
Not offered in 2016-17.

EPID 831: Chronic Disease Epidemiology 

This course will provide an overview of the epidemiology of some of the leading non-infectious 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 fall, every year. Instructor: A. Vafaei

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. 
Not offered in 2016-17.

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 subject matter experts 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.

EPID 835: Environmental Public Health

This course provides students with a foundation for understanding, assessing and mediating environmental exposures. Methods for assessing and communicating about exposures, risks and standards in air, water, soil and food are introduced. Case studies of managing hazardous exposures are reviewed. Environmental health policy implications of global climate, energy use and disaster planning are explored.
Three term hours, winter, every year. Instructor: E. Weir. PREREQUISITE: EPID 801, EPID 821, or equivalent, or permission of Instructor.

EPID 836:Qualitative Research Methods

Qualitative research seeks to understand how and why people perceive and interact with the world around them. This course introduces graduate students to the nature and scope of qualitative research methods with respect to data collection and analyses in the social and health sciences, giving them theoretical and practical foundations to build on.
Three term hours, winter,every year. Instructor: H.Castleden

Courses offered Outside the Department for MSc program

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

Computational Science and Engineering (QCSE)

School of Environmental Studies

Department of Geography

Department of History

Department of Mining Engineering

School of Rehabilitation Studies

School of Policy Studies