Best Global Universities for Epidemiology in 2022-2023

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Best Epidemiology Universities and Programs in the World

About Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the scientific study of disease patterns, causes, and effects in the population at large. Epidemiologists, also known as disease detectives are public health workers who get to the root of health problems and outbreaks in a community. They can either be laboratory scientists, statisticians, physicians, other health care providers, or public health professionals who specialize in the study of various infectious diseases. 

Epidemiology saves lives and promotes long-term global health, making it an essential component of public health. Candidates who are passionate about saving lives and serving communities are best suited for the role of an epidemiologist. This article is a useful resource for anyone interested in pursuing a career in epidemiology; it also includes a list of the best epidemiology universities in the world to help students choose the best and brightest.

Duties of Epidemiologists

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), epidemiologists research problems associated with public health events such as infectious diseases, natural disasters, non-infectious diseases, environmental exposures, bioterrorism, and injuries. Their responsibilities vary according to their expertise, but in general, epidemiologists perform the following set of duties:

  • Uncover the causes of diseases or other health problems
  • Discover strategies to prevent or treat public health issues if and whenever they occur
  • Collect and evaluate data through observations, interviews, surveys, and samples of blood or other bodily fluids
  • Inform health professionals, policymakers, and the general public about their findings
  • Publish their findings in research journals 
  • Train and supervise junior epidemiologists, technical, and clerical staff
  • Stay updated with latest trends in epidemiology research

Popular degrees for pursuing a career in Epidemiology

A master’s degree is often required for entry into epidemiology, while applicants with a bachelor’s degree can work as assistants or technicians in the field and work their way up via experience. Many epidemiologists earn a Ph.D. or post-doctorate to become independent researchers. This career is also open to candidates with medical degrees such as MBBS, pharmacy, nursing, or veterinary medicine. 

Best Epidemiology bachelor’s programs 

  • Bachelor of Epidemiology
  • Bachelor of Public Health
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy
  • Bachelor of Nursing
  • Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)

Best Epidemiology master’s programs

  • Master of Epidemiology
  • Master of Public Health in Epidemiology
  • Master of Epidemiology and Clinical Research 
  • Master of Community Health and Prevention Research
  • Master of Health Care
  • Master of Hospital and Molecular Epidemiology
  • Master of Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology
  • Master of Global Health Epidemiology

Best Epidemiology Ph.D. programs

  • Ph.D. in Epidemiology
  • Ph.D. in Public Health
  • Ph.D. in Epidemiology and Clinical Research 
  • Ph.D. in Health Care
  • Ph.D. in Clinical and Psychosocial Epidemiology
  • Ph.D. in Global Health

Specializations in Epidemiology

Epidemiologists can specialize in one or more of the following public health specializations:

  1. Infection Disease and Control Epidemiology: This sub-field of epidemiology works to understand the effects of diseases on a population. It also studies the effects of vaccines and their efficacy on the public. 
  2. Hospital Epidemiology: It evaluates the effects of diseases and monitors disease outbreaks and studies their pathology, prevention, and cures within health care settings
  3. Pharmaceutical Epidemiology: This branch is involved in studying the effects, such as safety, efficacy, and side effects, of different drugs on the population over time
  4. Veterinary Epidemiology: Also called epizootiology or epizoology specialize in the study of patterns of disease in different animal species
  5. Forensic Epidemiology: This sub-field uses the principles of epidemiology and forensic medicine for potential criminal investigation
  6. Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology: It examines the genetic and molecular components involved in the causation of a disease and device strategies to prevent or treat it. 
  7. Environmental Health Epidemiology: It is concerned with the study of environmental and external risk factors that impact public health and diseases
  8. Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology: This discipline of epidemiology assists with epidemiologic research to help improve mother and child health services. 
  9. Field and Emergency Response Epidemiology: The epidemiologists in this area work at the ground level and serve communities during a severe, acute public health crisis or disaster. 

Duration of programs in Epidemiology

As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers hire candidates with master’s or terminal degrees in epidemiology. But before earning graduation, a bachelor’s degree is essential which can last anywhere from three to four years. A full-time master’s degree in epidemiology-related fields can last one or two years, while a Ph.D. can take anywhere from three to six years. The duration of courses can vary from country and university as shown in the following table. 

CountryBachelor’s DegreeMaster’s DegreeDoctoral Degree
USA and Canada4 years2 years4-6 years
UK3-4 years1-2 years3-6 years
Australia3-4 years1-2 years3-6 years
Others3-4 years1-2 years3-6 years

Career opportunities in Epidemiology

A career path in epidemiology is more investigative involving surveys and research, unlike other fields. Since the countries around the world are placing a high priority on building up the nation’s public health workforce there will be a higher demand for epidemiologists in the coming years. A career in epidemiology opens the door to diverse opportunities in a variety of sectors such as federal, private, hospitals, and non-governmental organizations. 

  • Epidemiologist (Infection control, pharmaceutical, filed, molecular, veterinary)
  • Biostatistician
  • Health educator
  • Consultant epidemiologists
  • Epidemiology professor

Average salaries for Epidemiologists

The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed transformed the job market for epidemiologists and public health officials. Graduates with epidemiology and public health degrees, in general, have been in great demand since the pandemic. The future job prospects for epidemiologists also appear to be bright. Epidemiologists with a graduate degree earn a good living in the major countries, as shown in the table below.

CountryAverage salary in USD*/year
Canada 67,657 (Indeed)
Australia74,835 (Indeed)
UK81,089 (Indeed)
USA71,360 (Indeed)

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Top 50 universities in the world for Epidemiology based on academic rankings

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor’s ProgramsMaster’s Programs
271University of OxfordUKClick HereClick Here
324Stanford UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
335University of CambridgeUKClick HereClick Here
512Harvard UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
72512Imperial College LondonUKClick HereClick Here
8718University College LondonUKClick HereClick Here
82115Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichSwitzerlandClick HereClick Here
131513University of PennsylvaniaUSAClick HereClick Here
14119Yale UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
163830University of EdinburghUKClick HereClick Here
19811Columbia UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
232624University of Michigan – Ann ArborUSAClick HereClick Here
251613Johns Hopkins UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
262218University of TorontoCanadaClick HereClick Here
273550University of ManchesterUKClick HereClick Here
276744McGill UniversityCanadaClick HereClick Here
373333University of MelbourneAustraliaClick HereClick Here
386958University of SydneyAustraliaClick HereClick Here
401420University of California – Los AngelesUSAClick HereClick Here
436570University of New South WalesAustraliaClick HereClick Here
464237University of British ColumbiaCanadaClick HereClick Here
475154University of QueenslandAustraliaClick HereClick Here
481834University of California-San DiegoUSAClick HereClick Here
523223Duke UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
588057Monash UniversityAustraliaClick HereClick Here
627892University of BristolUKClick HereClick Here
674147University of Texas at AustinUSAClick HereClick Here
705475University of ZurichSwitzerlandClick HereClick Here
73151-20086University of GlasgowUKClick HereClick Here
793096University of CopenhagenDenmarkClick HereClick Here
851929University of Washington – SeattleUSAClick HereClick Here
87151-200116Lund UniversitySwedenClick HereClick Here
90101-150105University of BirminghamUKClick HereClick Here
1002952University of North Carolina at Chapel HillUSAClick HereClick Here
10560197University of GenevaSwitzerlandClick HereClick Here
1129562Boston UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
121101-150201-250University of Sao PauloBrazilClick HereClick Here
12478131Uppsala UniversitySwedenClick HereClick Here
1409280McMaster UniversityCanadaClick HereClick Here
160101-15082Emory UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
163101-150140University of PittsburghUSAClick HereClick Here
179101-15072Erasmus University RotterdamNetherlandsClick HereClick Here
180101-150185University of GothenburgSwedenClick HereClick Here
1864086University of Minnesota – Twin CitiesUSAClick HereClick Here
235151-200201-250University of CalgaryCanadaClick HereClick Here
330NA351-400University of LondonUKClick HereClick Here
365401-500351-400Umea UniversitySwedenClick HereClick Here
459801-900301-350University of St. GallenSwitzerlandClick HereClick Here
601-650301-400301-350University of ManitobaCanadaClick HereClick Here
NA4239Karolinska InstituteSwedenClick HereClick Here

Top universities in the USA for Epidemiology

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of epidemiologists is expected to increase by 30% between 2020 and 2030 providing ample of job opportunities for students studying in the USA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national public health agency of the USA that offers a number of job opportunities to budding epidemiologists with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in epidemiology. The table below contains a list of top universities in the USA providing doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees in the epidemiology field. 

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor’s ProgramsMaster’s Programs
324Stanford UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
512Harvard UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
131513University of PennsylvaniaUSAClick HereClick Here
14119Yale UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here
19811Columbia UniversityUSAClick HereClick Here

Top universities in the UK for Epidemiology

According to Indeed statistics, epidemiologists in the UK earn the highest income (81,089 USD per year). The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is a publicly funded healthcare system that gives a number of job options every year to graduates as well as entry-level positions to individuals with a bachelor’s degree in epidemiology or a related field.

Oxford University, one of the top universities in the UK and the world, which helped in the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Coronavirus vaccine, is a world leader in epidemiology. In addition to Oxford University, there are a number of other prominent epidemiology schools offering doctoral and master’s degrees in the field of epidemiology to study in the UK.

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor’s ProgramsMaster’s Programs
271University of OxfordUKClick HereClick Here
335University of CambridgeUKClick HereClick Here
72512Imperial College LondonUKClick HereClick Here
8718University College LondonUKClick HereClick Here
163830University of EdinburghUKClick HereClick Here

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Top universities in Australia for Epidemiology

Australia is one of the best places for international students to study due of its high immigration rates and openness to students from all over the world. Following the COVID-19 epidemic, both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in epidemiology have come into the limelight in Australia. Here is a list of top Australian universities that provide Ph.D., master’s, as well as bachelor’s degree programs in epidemiology.

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor’s ProgramsMaster’s Programs
373333University of MelbourneAustraliaClick HereClick Here
386958University of SydneyAustraliaClick HereClick Here
436570University of New South WalesAustraliaClick HereClick Here
475154University of QueenslandAustraliaClick HereClick Here
588057Monash UniversityAustraliaClick HereClick Here

Top universities in Canada for Epidemiology 

Canada is one of the best places to study for anyone interested in getting an education with scholarships, especially full-funded ones. Top Canadian universities, like the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia, provide high-quality, globally recognized bachelor’s and master’s degrees in epidemiology. International students seeking epidemiology degrees, including a bachelor’s degree in epidemiology and related fields, can apply for financing and scholarships at Canadian universities.

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor’s ProgramsMaster’s Programs
262218University of TorontoCanadaClick HereClick Here
276744McGill UniversityCanadaClick HereClick Here
464237University of British ColumbiaCanadaClick HereClick Here
1409280McMaster UniversityCanadaClick HereClick Here
235151-200201-250University of CalgaryCanadaClick HereClick Here

Top universities in Switzerland for Epidemiology

Another great place for international students seeking higher education is Switzerland. It has the WHO’s global office located in Geneva city, which offers a variety of job options for epidemiologists with doctoral and master’s degrees. The following table contains a list of Swiss universities famed for offering top master’s degrees in epidemiology. Some also offer terminal degrees like P.hD. and post-doctoral fellowships.

QS RankingShanghai RankingTHE RankingUniversityCountryBachelor’s ProgramsMaster’s Programs
82115Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ZurichSwitzerlandClick HereClick Here
705475University of ZurichSwitzerlandClick HereClick Here
10560197University of GenevaSwitzerlandClick HereClick Here
459801-900301-350University of St. GallenSwitzerlandClick HereClick Here

Academic requirements for studying Epidemiology

As previously stated, a master’s degree is required to begin a career in epidemiology. While a bachelor’s degree in a specific field is not needed, students should have a degree that provides them with exposure to public health and health science in general. For a master’s in epidemiology, a bachelor’s degree in public health, bioscience, nursing, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, or even MBBS is accepted. Students should possess skills such as critical thinking, attention to detail, problem-solving and interpersonal skills. They also should have knowledge of statistics and mathematics. Any work or internship experience improves overall chances of being accepted to the university of choice. Students can also apply via Gyanberry to expedite their admission process. The following is a summary of general entrance requirements for epidemiology programs at top universities.

Bachelor’s level

  • A high school education with a 3.0 GPA or above with physics, chemistry, and biology as core subjects
  • Academic transcripts
  • Valid passport
  • Strong SAT/ACT scores (some universities accept candidates without SAT and ACT)
  • Personal statement 
  • Passport photographs
  • Completed visa application
  • Letter of recommendation
  • English proficiency test scores such as TOEFL (90 and above) or IELTS (6.0 and above)

Master’s level 

  • Internationally recognized bachelor’s degree in epidemiology or its equivalent with a GPA of 3.0 
  • Academic transcripts 
  • Valid passport
  • Passport photographs
  • Completed visa application
  • Motivational letter
  • Recommendation letters
  • Strong GRE score (some universities may not require GRE score)
  • Relevant work experience (preferable)
  • Research publications
  • English language proficiency (TOEFL 90 or above and IELTS 6.0 and above)

Doctoral level

  • Honours or master’s degree in epidemiology or related science with a GPA of at least 3.0
  • Academic transcripts 
  • Valid passport
  • Passport photographs
  • Completed visa application
  • Statement of purpose
  • Recommendation letters
  • Strong GRE score (some universities may not require GRE score)
  • Work experience (highly recommended) 
  • Research publications
  • Personal interview 
  • English language proficiency (TOEFL 90 or above and IELTS 6.0 and above)

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Frequently Asked Questions

The USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and Sweden are well-known for offering quality education in the field of epidemiology.

Not necessarily but many epidemiologists hold Ph.D. degrees. Some even have medical degrees such as MBBS, pharmacy, nursing, or veterinary medicine.

A master’s degree in epidemiology or a related field (medical degrees such as MBBS, pharmacy, nursing, or veterinary medicine) is highly preferred by employers around the world. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree in epidemiology can also find entry-level jobs as an assistant or junior epidemiologists. 

Yes, board certification is necessary for a few countries to practice as an epidemiologist, which requires candidates to pass a series of exams and tests to help verify their credentials and knowledge. For example, the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology is an American certification agency for epidemiologists.