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.

The Master of Science in Epidemiology is 24, consecutive months in duration. The option for part-time studies can be made available to professionals who would like to continue working whilst pursuing their degree. If part-time is of interest, please contact MSc in Epidemiology Graduate Assistant for more information.

Completing Your Degree

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

Fall, year 1 

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

Winter, year 1

  • Completion of Intermediate Epidemiology (EPID 804) and Applied Regression Analysis (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. Instructor:  K.Aronson

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. Instructor:  W. King. PREREQUISITE: EPID 801

EPID 821:  Essentials of Biostatistics

This course provides an overview of basic statistical concepts, principles, and techniques essential for community health and epidemiologic research. This course covers both descriptive and inferential statistics. Topics covered include measures of association, t-tests, regression, chi-square tests, analysis of variance, and some nonparametric methods. Emphasis is on understanding and interpreting fundamental statistical analyses from public health research.
Fall. Instructors:  TBD. PREREQUISITE: Permission of the Instructor. 

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. InstructorsP. 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 802:  Foundations in Public Health

This course provides an overview of theoretical and conceptual foundations of public health. It examines the social determinants of health and population health approaches to promote and protect health. It instils in students an understanding of the historical achievements, core values and ethical frameworks that guide public health action. Three term-hours, Fall. Instructor:  C. Davison.

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:  D. Hunter.

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 a stakeholder analysis, survey methods, handling qualitative data, building logic models, choosing indicators, communicating the results, taking action. Three term-hours, Winter. Instructor TBD.

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. 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. Instructors: H. Richardson and D. Tu

EPID 810 Course Outline


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 2018-19.

EPID 819:Introduction to Epidemiology

This course will demonstrate the way in which epidemiological principles guide the practice of medicine and the design of clinical research. Topics will include how to select the correct design for a study that addresses a clinical question, how to evaluate the quality of clinical publications, and research proposals, and how to prepare a clinical research proposal.

Not offered in 2018-19

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, Winter. Instructor: D. Tu. PREREQUISITE: EPID 821 (or equivalent).

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 2018-19

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

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 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. Instructors: S. Belanger.

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. EXCLUSION; GPHY886

Courses offered Outside the Department for MSc program

Student may take electives from other departments. Any electives taken within other departments require approval from the MSc Program Director.