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Best Global Universities for Epidemiology in 2022-2023

May 17, 2022

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. 

Country Bachelor’s Degree Master’s Degree Doctoral Degree
USA and Canada 4 years 2 years 4-6 years
UK 3-4 years 1-2 years 3-6 years
Australia 3-4 years 1-2 years 3-6 years
Others 3-4 years 1-2 years 3-6 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.

Country Average salary in USD*/year
Canada  67,657 (Indeed)
Australia 74,835 (Indeed)
UK 81,089 (Indeed)
USA 71,360 (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 Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
2 7 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
3 2 4 Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
3 3 5 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
5 1 2 Harvard University USA Click Here Click Here
7 25 12 Imperial College London UK Click Here Click Here
8 7 18 University College London UK Click Here Click Here
8 21 15 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
13 15 13 University of Pennsylvania USA Click Here Click Here
14 11 9 Yale University USA Click Here Click Here
16 38 30 University of Edinburgh UK Click Here Click Here
19 8 11 Columbia University USA Click Here Click Here
23 26 24 University of Michigan – Ann Arbor USA Click Here Click Here
25 16 13 Johns Hopkins University USA Click Here Click Here
26 22 18 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
27 35 50 University of Manchester UK Click Here Click Here
27 67 44 McGill University Canada Click Here Click Here
37 33 33 University of Melbourne Australia Click Here Click Here
38 69 58 University of Sydney Australia Click Here Click Here
40 14 20 University of California – Los Angeles USA Click Here Click Here
43 65 70 University of New South Wales Australia Click Here Click Here
46 42 37 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
47 51 54 University of Queensland Australia Click Here Click Here
48 18 34 University of California-San Diego USA Click Here Click Here
52 32 23 Duke University USA Click Here Click Here
58 80 57 Monash University Australia Click Here Click Here
62 78 92 University of Bristol UK Click Here Click Here
67 41 47 University of Texas at Austin USA Click Here Click Here
70 54 75 University of Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
73 151-200 86 University of Glasgow UK Click Here Click Here
79 30 96 University of Copenhagen Denmark Click Here Click Here
85 19 29 University of Washington – Seattle USA Click Here Click Here
87 151-200 116 Lund University Sweden Click Here Click Here
90 101-150 105 University of Birmingham UK Click Here Click Here
100 29 52 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill USA Click Here Click Here
105 60 197 University of Geneva Switzerland Click Here Click Here
112 95 62 Boston University USA Click Here Click Here
121 101-150 201-250 University of Sao Paulo Brazil Click Here Click Here
124 78 131 Uppsala University Sweden Click Here Click Here
140 92 80 McMaster University Canada Click Here Click Here
160 101-150 82 Emory University USA Click Here Click Here
163 101-150 140 University of Pittsburgh USA Click Here Click Here
179 101-150 72 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands Click Here Click Here
180 101-150 185 University of Gothenburg Sweden Click Here Click Here
186 40 86 University of Minnesota – Twin Cities USA Click Here Click Here
235 151-200 201-250 University of Calgary Canada Click Here Click Here
330 NA 351-400 University of London UK Click Here Click Here
365 401-500 351-400 Umea University Sweden Click Here Click Here
459 801-900 301-350 University of St. Gallen Switzerland Click Here Click Here
601-650 301-400 301-350 University of Manitoba Canada Click Here Click Here
NA 42 39 Karolinska Institute Sweden Click Here Click 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 Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
3 2 4 Stanford University USA Click Here Click Here
5 1 2 Harvard University USA Click Here Click Here
13 15 13 University of Pennsylvania USA Click Here Click Here
14 11 9 Yale University USA Click Here Click Here
19 8 11 Columbia University USA Click Here Click 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 Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
2 7 1 University of Oxford UK Click Here Click Here
3 3 5 University of Cambridge UK Click Here Click Here
7 25 12 Imperial College London UK Click Here Click Here
8 7 18 University College London UK Click Here Click Here
16 38 30 University of Edinburgh UK Click Here Click 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 Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
37 33 33 University of Melbourne Australia Click Here Click Here
38 69 58 University of Sydney Australia Click Here Click Here
43 65 70 University of New South Wales Australia Click Here Click Here
47 51 54 University of Queensland Australia Click Here Click Here
58 80 57 Monash University Australia Click Here Click 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 Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
26 22 18 University of Toronto Canada Click Here Click Here
27 67 44 McGill University Canada Click Here Click Here
46 42 37 University of British Columbia Canada Click Here Click Here
140 92 80 McMaster University Canada Click Here Click Here
235 151-200 201-250 University of Calgary Canada Click Here Click 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 Ranking Shanghai Ranking THE Ranking University Country Bachelor’s Programs Master’s Programs
8 21 15 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
70 54 75 University of Zurich Switzerland Click Here Click Here
105 60 197 University of Geneva Switzerland Click Here Click Here
459 801-900 301-350 University of St. Gallen Switzerland Click Here Click 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. 

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