School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Public Health Sciences

Stoner, B.

Graduate Coordinator
Richardson, H. 

Program Directors
M.P.H.: Weir, E.
M.Sc. Field of Study Epidemiology: King, W.
M.Sc. Biostatistics Collaborative: Peng, P.
Ph.D.: Groome, P.(Sept-Dec 2020); Davison, C. (Jan-June 2021)

Aronson, K., Chen, B., Groome, P., Janssen, I., Johnson, A., Ouellette-Kuntz, H., Peng, P., Stuart, H.L., Tu, D.

Associate Professor
Davison, C., Ding, K.,  Hunter, D., King, W., Richardson, H.

Assistant Professor
Lu, Z.

Professor Emeritus
Lees, R.E.M., Steele, R.

Adjunct Professor
Booth, C., Brundage, M., Donnelly, P., Mackillop, W.J., Moore, K., O'Callaghan, C., Pickett, W., Zoutman, D.

Adjunct Associate Professor
Belanger, S., Brogly, S., Gemmill, I., Thompson, J.

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Alvarado-Llano, B., Arbuckle, T., Belanger, P., Borghese, M., Carter, M., Gyawali, B., Huras, P., Majury, A., Miao, Q., Reballato, S., Sahai, V., Walkwe, M.

Adjunct Lecturer
Day, A., Melles, B., Hopman, W., Marlin, S., Norman, P.

Bartels, S., Bayoumi, I., Brooks, S., Carpenter, J., Duffy, A.,Flemming, J., Gill, S., Green, M., Hanna, T., Lougheed, D., McColl, M.A., Medves, J., Murray, H., Phillips, S., Purkey, E., Rosenberg, M., Roy, A., Schneider, H., Towheed, T., Tranmer, J., Turner, K., Velez, M., Weir, E.

(613) 533-2901 (M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs)
(613) 533-2234 (M.P.H. Program)

Web address

Mission of the Department

The Department of Public Health Sciences was established in 1968 (originally named the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology). The mission of the Department is to advance scientific knowledge relevant to research in public health sciences and to participate in the dissemination and application of scientific knowledge to the solution of health, health care, and health system problems. The Department offers a thesis-based Master of Science degree in Public Health Sciences (Specialization Epidemiology), a non-thesis based Master of Science degree in Public Health Sciences (Specialization Biostatistics, Collaborative with Department of Mathematics and Statistics), a professional Master  of Public Health degree, a Ph.D. in Public Health Sciences, a PhD in Public Health Sciences  (Specialization Epidemiology) and a PhD in Public Health Sciences (Specialization Biostatistics).  It also contributes to education in the undergraduate medical curriculum as well as the undergraduate Life Sciences curriculum.

Purpose of the M.Sc. Program (Specialization Epidemiology)

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related events in populations and the application of this study to the control of health problems. The purpose of the M.Sc. program is to provide the common methodological foundation to conduct research across diverse health-related areas. The Department offers a 24 month research-based M.Sc. degree, with one cycle of enrollment in September of each year.

Students graduate from the program with abilities to: communicate scientifically; describe trends and patterns of disease incidence and prevalence; critically review health evidence; apply epidemiologic and analytic methods in the design of research; collect, analyze and interpret health data; conduct a study; and, write and defend a thesis.

Study satisfactorily completed by physicians may fulfill part of the requirements for Fellowship in Public Health and Preventive Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Purpose of the M.Sc. Program (Specialization Biostatistics, Collaborative with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics)

There is a growing demand for qualified Master’s level biostatisticians in academic and industry sponsored epidemiologic studies, health services research, and clinical trial analysis.

The purpose of this 12-month Collaborative M.Sc. program specializing in Biostatistics is to produce graduates who will be capable of working as biostatistical analysts within multi-disciplinary health research teams. This objective will be achieved through two-term coursework that will equip students with a sound knowledge in observational and experimental study designs, statistical theory, and statistical models for health data analysis, and statistical computing. A four-month practicum will allow students to apply basic knowledge and develop consulting expertise within a health research group in a research institution, government or industry setting.

Purpose of the Master of Public Health Program

The Master of Public Health is a professional, course-based degree built on the foundational disciplines of epidemiology and biostatistics.  It is designed to educate, equip and inspire students to take Evidence-Informed Action for Public Health. 

The degree is 16 consecutive months in duration, attracting applicants from a range of disciplines.

A 12-month Accelerated MPH program is available for candidates with at least two years of full-time cumulative paid work experience in health care, public health or a related field. Work experience may include two years of accredited residency through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

By the completion of the program, graduates are able to:

  • Define public health issues using a population health approach
  • Search for evidence to address public health issues
  • Appraise and interpret public health evidence
  • Synthesize evidence to develop recommendations for public health action
  • Adapt public health communication and evidence-based interventions to specific contexts and populations
  • Plan to implement public health programs, services and policies
  • Evaluate the process and outcomes of public health actions
  • Demonstrate development of core attitudes and values of a public health professional.

Each of these eight program outcomes is critical to enable evidence-informed action for public health.

Study satisfactorily completed by physicians may fulfill part of the requirements for a specialist certification in Public Health and Preventive Medicine from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Purpose of the PhD Program

The program objective is to graduate individuals who are capable of functioning as independent investigators within academic (or equivalent) research positions, or who can occupy positions of professional leadership in public health- or health-related agencies where research is an important function.

Through coursework students demonstrate a mastery of theories, methodological concepts, and substantive knowledge integral to their research area. In the Comprehensive Exam, students demonstrate their in-depth knowledge in theoretical and applied methods; and an ability to apply that knowledge to their research area.

Through the dissertation process, students demonstrate the ability to undertake research including the ability to critically appraise and synthesize appropriate literature; develop researchable questions; design practical and feasible studies; write scientific protocols that summarize research plans and demonstrate an understanding of key methodological issues; collect primary or process secondary data, where the latter are not ‘research ready’ at the outset;  analyze and interpret data; and understand the implications of findings within the appropriate context.

Students also have opportunities to present their research in seminars and scholarly academic meetings.  Students gain an ability to communicate scientifically, both in terms of publishing research findings in reputable journals, and by presenting research findings to their respective research communities. Some students also gain experience as teaching assistants.


Areas of Research

Faculty members conduct research in a wide variety of areas related to epidemiology, clinical trials, biostatistics, health services research, health policy, and health economics. Within these broad disciplines, specific content strengths include: cancer epidemiology, biostatistics methodology, injury epidemiology, environmental health, developmental disabilities, psychiatric epidemiology, mental health, home care, health reimbursement mechanisms, health care utilization, and community care. Opportunities in many of these areas are strengthened by formal affiliations with research groups such as: The Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CTTG) and the Division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology, both located in the Queen's Cancer Research Institute, Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, Queen's - ICES Health Services Research, Social Program Evaluation Group, the Centre for Studies in Primary Care, the Centre for Obesity and Research Education(CORE), the Nursing (PRN) Group, Mental Health Research Group, KFL&A Public Health, and the Clinical Research Unit at Kingston General Hospital.

Financial Assistance

PhD candidates who are accepted into the program will be guaranteed four year funding of $18,000 per year minimum. This amount may be higher based upon available external and internal awards.

Funding is provided for all first and second year full-time MSc students  with a current guaranteed minimum of $10,000 per year. Qualified candidates will be automatically nominated for internal Queen's Fellowship and Graduate Awards. Students who are eligible are required to apply for Ontario Graduate Scholarships, and encouraged to apply for other major awards available through national, provincial, or private funding bodies.

There is no funding for students in the professional MPH program, although some of the practicums offered for the summer term will provide funding.

Each year there is a limited number of teaching assistantships. Positions are posted in July of each year and are awarded according to the instructor's assessment of skills for the position. 

Students may also be employed by individual faculty members with research assistantships or research fellowships. Research assistantships vary according to the availability of positions and are paid as wages based on a collective agreement.  Research fellowships are related to student thesis work and paid as non-taxable (T4A) income.

Departmental Facilities

Shared desk space with power and wireless hookup, as well as separate general meeting space, is available on the third floor of Carruthers Hall to MPH students during their program and to first year MSc students.  Students are required to have their own computers.  Upper year research students who are working on their theses typically arrange appropriate work space through their thesis supervisors. Photocopy, fax, and office supplies are provided on a cost-recovery basis. A  computer with statistical software installed is available for general use in the student common room. SAS and SPSS student licences are available for free download through Queen’s Information Technology Services (ITServices).

Degree Programs

The graduate program is administered under the rules and regulations of the School of Graduate Studies and applicants are accepted under these general regulations.

Master of Science Degree (Specialization Epidemiology) Requirements

Full-time study that requires students to complete four mandatory core courses and two elective courses. As well, students must complete an online course on research ethics and defend their thesis. Mandatory core courses focus on epidemiologic and biostatistical methods. There is a wide range of elective courses offered both within and outside of the Department.

Under the guidance of supervisors, students will identify a research topic, prepare and present an outline, and then submit a detailed research proposal. The proposal includes the study purpose and objectives, the rationale for conducting the research, the student's contribution to the research, the study design and data collection methods, data management and analysis strategies, ethical consideration, strengths and limitations, and the potential impact of the project. Once the proposal is approved by the Department and by the Human Ethics Committee at Queen's University, the student can conduct the study. The outline deadline is the end of February of the first year of study, the proposal deadline is in July of the first year of study, and the thesis can be submitted for defence in May through August in the second year of study.

Master of Science (Specialization Biostatistics, Collaborative with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics) Degree Requirements

The Department, in conjunction with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, offers a twelve month, non-thesis based program of full-time study that requires students to complete 8 term courses (six mandatory courses and two electives) and a practicum. The practicum will involve a four month placement working on a project pertaining to some aspect of biostatistics applications or methodological research affiliated with the work of the supervisor. Students must write a report on their practicum and make a presentation to an examining committee by late August of their year.

Master of Public Health Degree Requirements

In a professional course-based degree, MPH students develop their capacity to lead Evidence-Informed Action for Public Health by building a solid foundation in public health theory, methods, skills and competencies. An emphasis is placed on foundational instruction in epidemiology and biostatistics.

The 16-month MPH is comprised of:

  • 9 courses - 6 mandatory core and 3 elective
  • 400 hour practicum placement in a supervised setting
  • Public Health Professional Development course (EPID- 886)
  • Short online tutorial in Human Research Ethics

The 12-month Accelerated MPH is available for applicants with at least two years of full-time cumulative paid work experience in health care, public health, or a related field. Work experience may include two years of accredited residency through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The 12-month Accelerated MPH is an intensive program that requires carrying a load of four courses in fall and winter semesters. The 12-month Accelerated MPH is comprised of:

  • 8 courses – 6 mandatory core and 2 elective
  • 400 hour practicum placement in a supervised setting during the summer 
  • Short online tutorial in Human Research Ethics

PhD Degree Requirements

To complete a PhD degree in the Department of Public Health Sciences, students must:

  • Complete EPID-902 Advanced Topics in Public Health Sciences Research and three additional half courses. The supervisor will advise the student on what coursework will best prepare them for their particular thesis area. Students in the Epidemiology Specialization must complete EPID-901 Advanced Epidemiology (full course across two semesters) and EPID-823 Advanced Biostatistics. Students in the Biostatistics Specialization must complete EPID-822 Applied Regression Analysis.
  • Complete the comprehensive examination.
  • Write and present a research outline.
  • Write and successfully present a research proposal.
  • Complete the Course on Research Ethics (CORE) online tutorial.
  • Write and successfully defend their doctoral dissertation.