Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in populations. Its role has expanded over the past 20 years to involve all facets of health care, disease prevention, and health promotion. In addition to being the basic science of public health, epidemiology has emerged as an important discipline for nursing, allied health science, and clinical medicine, especially in the managed-care environment. The Master of Science program (36 credit hours minimum) is designed to provide the necessary methodological skills for students to be able to independently pursue epidemiological research in their chosen areas. As part of the program, students receive training in epidemiology, biostatistics, health research methods, and health behavior and promotion. This hybrid program relies on both face-to-face instruction along with online courses to deliver the curriculum.
The program emphasizes training current health professionals to develop and enhance their knowledge of epidemiology, research design, and data analysis skills. Students holding an advanced degree at the master’s or doctoral level may opt for a non-thesis track in which the student prepares a quantitatively based research article, approved by the student’s committee, which must be ready to submit for publication in a professional epidemiology-related, peer-reviewed journal. Track selection, for clinical investigation or traditional epidemiology, should be made by the end of a student’s first year in the program. Regardless of track, students present their thesis or submitted article in an announced forum with subsequent defense before the student’s committee.
Admission and Selection
The program is offered to qualified applicants holding a baccalaureate, master’s, or professional degree in a variety of disciplines, including physical, biological, and social sciences, health and medical sciences.
Minimum Admission Requirements
Admissions will be determined based on strength of academic credentials, maturity of interest, and fit with faculty interests.
Applicants should meet the following requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree with a grade-point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale from an accredited college or university;
- Official academic transcripts (international applicants must arrange for an independent educational equivalency evaluation company to submit an evaluation of their transcripts to UT at their own expense; the evaluation report should include the grade-point average based on a 4.0 scale);
- An application form including 200-word- minimum essay with goal statement describing the applicant’s area of interest in epidemiology;
- 3 letters of recommendation;
- GRE revised test minimum verbal score of 150, minimum quantitative score of 150, and minimum analytical writing score of 3.5 (physicians licensed in the United States and persons with advanced terminal degrees may petition for waiver of the GRE);
- TOEFL minimum score of 213 on the computer-based exam, or 79 on the Internet-based exam, for applicants whose first language is not English.
Technical Standards and Accommodations
The minimum abilities for eligibility to participate successfully in educational programs and activities by students enrolled in the College of Graduate Health Sciences are listed below. All persons who wish to enter one of the programs in the College should be aware of the minimum abilities required for success. Admission decisions for the College programs do not take disabilities into consideration; students may disclose their disabilities after admission to request accommodations to the UTHSC Office of Student Academic Support Services and Inclusion (SASSI) https://www.uthsc.edu/sassi/.
Minimum abilities are as follows:
- To make proper assessments and ethical judgments regarding research and professional decisions.
- To communicate effectively with colleagues and professional staff.
- To acquire necessary information developed through classroom instruction, laboratory experience, independent learning, and consultation.
- To search and evaluate articles in the scientific literature.
- To obtain, interpret, and accurately document research data.
- To complete computer-based assignments and use computers.
- To understand and carry out safety rules and precautions in the laboratory.
- To handle emergencies in the laboratory, including fire, exposure to dangerous agents, and explosions.
These abilities may be accomplished through direct student response, use of prosthetic devices, or personal assistance (e.g., readers, signers, and note takers). Purchase of prosthetic devices to aid the student in meeting these requirements is the responsibility of the student. On a case-by-case basis and upon written request of the student, the College may assist in providing attending services.
Promotion and Graduation
Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average or greater throughout the program.
Admission to Candidacy
The student must apply for degree candidacy no later than the end of the second month in the term in which the thesis or project is to be presented to the college. Application may be made only after the student successfully completes the prerequisite courses and 18 semester credit hours of graduate course work. Admission to candidacy for the master’s degree requires (1) certification by the student’s Faculty Committee and the Program Chair that the student has successfully completed sufficient graduate courses and has demonstrated an ability to do graduate work of satisfactory character and (2) approval by the Dean of the student’s proposed program. The Dean will inform the Program Director of admission to candidacy. Upon admission to candidacy, all master’s students must be enrolled full-time, unless an exception is approved by the Dean.
Research, Electronic Thesis and Oral Defense
Requirements for the master’s degree include the successful completion of a suitable research problem, the student’s demonstration of scholarly attainment, and the potential to do independent research. This phase of the master’s program takes the form of a major research project reported in the form of a thesis or project. The subject of the research shall be determined by the student in consultation with Faculty Committee members and the Program Chair. The scientific content and style of the thesis are the responsibility of the student and student’s Faculty Committee. The thesis must be formatted and delivered according to the electronic thesis and dissertation policies outlined in these bylaws under “ET/D Program Policies”.
The final oral defense of the research shall be publicized to the University community and shall be conducted by the student’s Faculty Committee. When the defense is successfully completed, a Report of Final Examination is signed by all Faculty Committee members and forwarded to the Dean of the CGHS.
Additional information regarding this program is available at http://grad.uthsc.edu/Programs/index.php?page=Programs.