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Education / Graduate Education / PhD Programs / Epidemiology / Student Handbook / Master of Science in Epidemiology (MS-EPI)

Master of Science in Epidemiology (MS-EPI)

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Rochester Medical Center is to be nationally recognized by 2020 for improving community health through transformative approaches in compassionate care, education, and research. The MS in Epidemiology will support this mission by preparing students to apply these ideals in clinical and public health research and outcomes evaluation.

Program Goals

  • Equip students with the tools, skills, and scientific perspective needed to address future public health and information challenges using epidemiologic and biostatistical methods.
  • Offer an intensive yet comprehensive program of study with close faculty interaction to provide student with essential skills for employment in a wide variety of occupational settings.
  • Provide students with the skills necessary for further graduate study at the doctoral level.

Program Objectives

The Master of Science in Epidemiology is a 34-credit, three-semester course of study designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to examine factors associated with the development and prevention of disease. We meet this goal by providing students with a solid foundation in the fundamental elements of epidemiologic research and biostatistics. Upon completion of the program, students will be:

  • Able to understand and apply epidemiologic methodologies to examine factors associated with the development and prevention of disease.
  • Able to apply the statistical tools necessary for epidemiologic analysis of public health data.
  • Prepared for employment in a wide variety of private and public institutions engaged in clinical and public health research and evaluation as well as health promotion.
  • Prepared to undertake doctoral-level study in epidemiology

The curriculum includes 6 epidemiology (or biostatistics) core methods courses, Ethics (1 credit), 3 elective courses, and thesis research (6 credits). Students will present a written proposal for approval to their thesis committee. They will defend their completed thesis at completion in a public forum followed by a closed Q & A session with thesis committee members.

MASTER OF SCIENCE EPIDEMIOLOGY (MS-EPI) PROGRAM OF STUDY SHEET

TOTAL CREDITS REQUIRED: 34

Student Name:

Date Matriculated:

General Information

Electives can be tailored toward individual's research focus and are identified accordingly.

COURSE NUMBER

COURSE TITLE

CREDITS

CREDITS COMPLETED

 

 

 

 

PM 401 or

BST 463

Quantitative Methods in Public Health Research

Introduction to Biostatistics

3

3

 

PM 410

Intro To Data Mgmt. & Data Analysis Using SAS

3

 

PM 413 or

BST 465

Field Epidemiology

Design of Clinical Trials

3

4

 

PM 415

Principles of Epidemiology

3

 

PM 416

Epidemiological Methods

3

 

PM 469 or

BST 464

Multivariable Models for Epidemiology

Linear Regression

3

4

 

IND 501

Ethics

 

 

PM xxx

Epidemiology Elective

3

 

PM xxx

Epidemiology Elective

3

 

PM xxx

Epidemiology Elective or

Public Health/ Clinical Research Elective

3

3

 

PM 460

Master’s Essay

6

 

EPI Electives

Epidemiology Electives

COURSE NUMBER

COURSE TITLE

CREDITS

CREDITS COMPLETED

PM 413*

Field Epidemiology

3

 

PM 414

History of Epidemiology

3

 

PM 417

Molecular Epidemiology

3

 

PM 418

Cardiovascular Epidemiology

3

 

PM 424

Chronic Disease Epidemiology

3

 

PM 442

Nutritional Epidemiology

3

 

PM 451

Infectious Disease Epidemiology

3

 

PM 466

Cancer Epidemiology

3

 

PM469*

Multivariable Models for Epidemiology

3

 

PM 470

Environmental & Occupational Epidemiology

3

 

PM 489

Injury Epidemiology & Emergency Care Research Methods

3

 

*If not taken as required course

Public Health/Clinical Research

COURSE NUMBER

COURSE TITLE

CREDITS

CREDITS COMPLETED

PM 412

Survey Research

3

 

PM 419

Recruitment & Retention of Human Subjects in

Clinical Research

3

 

PM 426

Social & Behavioral Medicine

3

 

PM 445

Intro. to Health Services Research & Policy

3

 

BST 465*

Design of Clinical Trials

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other course with approval from advisor

3

 

 

 

 

 

*If not taken as required course

Masters Thesis Project Guidelines

Purpose/Background

A Master’s Thesis Project is a requirement of all MS-EPI students.  It is an opportunity for students to synthesize knowledge and skills gained during their course work. All students are to design, conduct, and write a document summarizing this project under the supervision of a chair and committee.

Requirements

Students are able to start working on their Thesis Project when they are ready in the judgment of their advisor and committee chair. Students will generally be expected to have taken courses covering the methods the student proposes to use in their project.

Program Specifications for Students

Topic

Consult with your advisor on identification of a topic. Note that MS thesis topic must have a public health relevance, focusing on the determinants of disease in a population (e.g., descriptive or qualitative studies will not be considered). Thesis projects in epidemiologic methods will be considered on a case by case basis. Use of course assignments to satisfy the thesis requirement, with no additional work, is prohibited.

Committee Chair

Consult with your advisor on identification of a thesis committee chairperson. The chair must hold a full-time faculty appointment in the Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health Sciences. The committee chair has primary responsibility for helping the student plan, propose, complete, and report the results of their thesis project.

The committee chair also has primary responsibility for coordinating the efforts of all committee members. The committee chair is also charged with mentoring the student through publication of the thesis as it is our expectation that all thesis projects will be submitted for peer review in an academic journal. To model best practices and avoid future misunderstanding, students and their chair should expect to talk about authorship order on any potential publication derived from the thesis project as part of the proposal development process.

Committee Members

Consult with your advisor and/or your committee chair on identification of committee members (at least 3):

  • Two members whose primary faculty appointment is in the Division of Epidemiology, and one whose primary faculty appointment is not in the Division of Epidemiology.
  • A committee may also include one or more consultants who are asked to help with specific issues identified by the committee, but who would not formally serve on the committee.

Committee members are responsible for helping the student plan, complete, and report the results of their thesis project, particularly in areas of their individual expertise. Committee members who supply thesis project data must agree to allow the student to use the data to complete their proposed project. The student and all committee members must be included on any manuscripts reporting the project that are subsequently published whenever established authorship criteria are met.

Approval

Submit a description of your proposed research topic and proposed committee members for approval by the Program Director. Students may then proceed with the proposed work upon approval of the thesis proposal by the committee. The Program Director should be notified by the committee chair of the proposal approval.

Investigations Involving Human Subjects

Projects involving the use of human subjects (through direct subject contact or through use of subject records) must be approved by the University of Rochester Research Subjects Review Board. All students must have successfully completed human subjects training through an on-line program called the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program) prior to conducting any human subject research (see

https://www.rochester.edu/ohsp/education/certification/initialCertification.html for more information). Your committee chair will typically be the primary investigator for the RSRB application; however, in cases where the data used for the thesis come from a project led by another member of the committee, that committee member should be the primary investigator for the RSRB application. Students should register as the study coordinator. Because review may take several weeks before a decision is rendered, advance planning is necessary. After submission, there is a departmental review prior to delivery of the proposal to the RSRB. You can track the status of your application on the RSRB website. If it remains in “Departmental Review” for more than one week, ask the PI (your committee chair) to follow up with the Department Chair. Please consult the on-line RSRB application instructions for protocol development, templates for consent letters, and definition of terms (http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/rsrb).

Thesis Project presentations

The final thesis document, including the background, study objectives, methods, results and discussion is presented publicly. The goal of the presentation is to obtain feedback about the completed work from additional faculty and students. Presentations are usually scheduled on Wednesday from 12:00 to 1:30 in 90-minute time slots. The presentation should last no more than 30 minutes to leave ample time for public discussion. The public forum will be followed by a closed Q & A session with thesis committee members.

To set a date, first verify availability of committee members. Then send an electronic version of the proposal abstract to Elaine Topeck and schedule a presentation date with her (see contact information below). The abstract should describe the project and be approximately 250-300 words. An electronic announcement for the presentation with the abstract will be disseminated to all PHS faculty, staff and students as well as invited guests one week prior to the scheduled presentation. Printed announcements will also be posted. A reminder announcement will be forwarded the morning of the scheduled presentation. Students are strongly encouraged to arrange a time with the committee chair to rehearse the proposal presentation several days in advance of the proposal date. Students are strongly encouraged to review information and guidelines regarding how to prepare effective PowerPoint presentations available from the University of Rochester (as they prepare for their proposal). This information can be accessed at https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/education/graduate/professional-development/skills- development/communication/powerpoint.aspx.

Contact Information

Edwin van Wijngaarden, PhD, MS-EPI Program Director
Phone: (585) 275-1985
Email:  edwin_van_wijngaarden@urmc.rochester.edu

Pattie Kolomic, Graduate Programs Administrator
Phone: (585) 275-7882
Email: Pattie_kolomic@urmc.rochester.edu

Elaine Topeck, Secretary IV
Phone: (585) 275-6806
Email: Elaine_topeck@urmc.rochester.edu

Thesis Requirements

The final thesis document should be a complete record of the Thesis project. The following sections should be included:

  1. Title page (see formatting below)
    1. The cover page is not numbered
    2. Project title is typed in Title Case following standard rules of English
    3. Only the Chair is listed on the cover page. Others may be included in the acknowledgements
    4. Student’s Departmental Name
    5. College/School
    6. Year of Final Defense (not month or day)
  2. Table of contents
  3. Abstract
    1. The final abstract of the project should appear immediately after the table of contents
    2. The final abstract must include the following headings bolded with a brief description of each:  Background, Objective, Methods, Results and Conclusion.
  4. Introduction
  5. Background
  6. Public Health Significance
  7. Methods
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
    1. Summary of findings
    2. Relationship of study findings with previous results
    3. Strengths and weaknesses
    4. Conclusion and implications for further research
  10. References
  11. Tables
  12. Figures
  13. Appendix
    1. Study materials (surveys, etc.)

In addition to the final thesis document, we encourage students to prepare a shorter version of the project in the form of a manuscript suitable for publication as they complete the main thesis document.

Formatting

All students are required to submit a final copy of their Master’s Thesis to the Graduate Programs Administrator in an electronic version. In addition they are required to present the final abstract with findings to Elaine Topeck. Students should use the following margins: 1 l/2" from the left side and 1 l/4" from the right side, top and bottom, including the page number (you may put the page number on the bottom of the page). Font size should be 11 – 12; font type should be Times New Roman; the report should be double-spaced.