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)
  • Statistical Inference (STAT 853)
  • Computational Data Analysis (STAT 862)
  • One Elective


  • Intermediate Epidemiology (EPID 804)
  • Advanced Methods in Biostatistics (EPID 823) 
  • Survival Analysis (STAT 886) 
  • One Elective


  • Practicum (EPID 888)


The following is a brief overview of course content of the Master of Epidemiology specializing in Biostatistics program, including six 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.

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.

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 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, Winter.
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.
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.
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.
Offered jointly with STAT 486

Department of Public Health Science Electives

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. Instructor:  H. Richardson.

EPID 810 Course Outline

EPID 815:  Independent Study

This course is designed for individual students interests that are not covered by existing courses offered in the Department. Normally, this will take the form of a closely supervised reading course in the area of a graduate instructor's expertise but may also include practical field experience. The proposed study must be improved by the appropriate instructor and Program Director, the Coordinator of Graduate Studies and the Head of the Department.

EPID 817:   Foundations of Cancer Control

This course is intended for graduate students, clinical fellows and postdoctoral fellows who are engaged or interested in cancer research. This course will provide students with training in the fundamentals of epidemiologic methods in cancer research and with knowledge of how epidemiology could contribute to better understanding of cancer etiology and control in human populations. The course will focus on concepts and methodological issues central to the conduct of epidemiologic studies of cancer etiology and control. Topics will include:  an introduction to basic epidemiologic concepts, biologic concepts central to the investigation of cancer, study design, clinical epidemiology, and cancer control and prevention.
Three term hours, Fall. Instructor:  H. Richardson. Not offered 2017-18.

EPID 822:  Applied Regression Analysis

This course deals with the commonly used regression 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 modeling approach with topics including multiple regression, analysis of variance and covariance, reliability of measurements, analysis of categorical data, logistic regression, Poisson regression and survival analysis. This course includes a compulsory SAS Programming component. 
Three term-hours, plus a two-hour tutorial, Winter. Instructors: P. Peng and C. O'Callaghan. SAS Tutorial instructors: A. Day and J. Zhang-Salomons. PREREQUISITE: EPID 821.

EPID 828:  Infectious Diseases

This course provides an introduction to the principles of infectious disease prevention and control relevant to public health practice. The course focuses on the etiology, history, societal impacts, and determinants of infectious diseases of major public health importance. There is an emphasis on modern prevention and control efforts that can be applied at the local, national and international levels.
Not offered 2017-18.

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.
Three term hours, Fall. Instructor:   C. Davison.

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. Instructor:   H. Richardson. PREREQUISITE:  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. Instructor:  H. Stuart. PREREQUISITE:  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.
Offered jointly with MTHE/STAT 455

STAT-864:  Discrete Time Series Analysis

Autocorrelation and autocovariance, stationarity; ARIMA models; model identification and forecasting; spectral analysis. Applications to biological, physical and economic data.
Three term-hours; lectures.
Offered jointly with STAT-464

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.)
Three term hours.
Not offered in 2017-18.

STAT-871:  Design and Analysis of Experiments

Analysis of variance for fixed, random and mixed models; analysis of covariance; distribution of mean squares; classical designs including fractional factorial experiments, Latin squares and split plot designs. Modern topics including Taguchi methods and designs for nonlinear models.
Three term hours; lectures.
(Offered jointly with STAT-471)

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*.)
Not offered in 2017-18.

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, Winter.

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