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Degree Programs

The Department of Epidemiology offers three doctoral level programs, two master's level programs, and one joint bachelor's/master's program. A Master of Public Health degree is offered at the School level.

Doctor of Public Health, Doctor of Science & Doctor of Philosophy

The doctoral degrees differ in terms of eligibility and administrative oversight as well as the kind of doctoral project expected. Hopkins is one of very few schools of public health which offers the Doctor of Science (ScD) degree. Originally founded after the German/European academic system, the School continued the idea of using the ScD to denote science-based doctoral degrees versus liberal arts -based doctoral degrees, like Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). All coursework, entrance eligibility requirements, and doctoral degree expectations are the same for the PhD and ScD programs. Doctoral candidates may choose one of two options for the degree -- either a paper option thesis (2-3 longer publishable quality manuscripts tied together with a common theme) or the dissertation option in which students write one long multi-chapter manuscript.

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree program is a separate and distinct program designed for public health professionals who are currently working in a related field and who hold an MPH or equivalent degree from an accredited school of public health. DrPH candidates are not required to complete the full-time residency requirement as required by the other two doctoral programs. However, the DrPH program does require participation in a one-year weekly seminar and completion of the DrPH Comprehensive Exams prior to progressing to second-year status. Students who enroll in the DrPH program may switch to the PhD or ScD fairly easily depending on their academic record and the recommendation of their advisors.  Students wishing to transfer into the DrPH program from the PhD or ScD programs must have their files re-reviewed by the DrPH committee, hold an MPH or equivalent master’s degree and have three years of full-time public health work experience, and must arrange with the DrPH Director to take the DrPH year-long seminar and the DrPH Comprehensive Examination.

The doctoral programs each require two years of coursework followed by 2-3 (or more) years of research. Students must complete written comprehensive exam, a practice oral exam, preliminary exam, two presentations, and a final dissertation including presentation and defense.

Master of Health Science and Master of Science

Our Master of Health Science (MHS) and Master of Science (ScM) programs begin in August, with the first year devoted to course work followed by research and thesis. These degrees differ both in entrance requirements as well as breadth and depth of research conducted.  For both programs, students must have had at least one course each in biology and microbiology as well as coursework in a related science (e.g. genetics if applying to the Genetic Epid program area.) The MHS degree is designed for students interested in gaining additional knowledge and training in Epidemiology who may not have had significant work experience in the field.  MHS candidates may apply directly from undergraduate programs as long as they posses some scientific, research, or lab experience and have met the prerequisite courses in biology, microbiology, and a related science.  Students may complete the thesis requirement (30-50 pp publishable quality manuscript) in a variety of ways such as a literature review, an analysis of a specific dataset or question, or assistance in conducting a research question.

The ScM is designed for researchers who have had at least one year of work experience in epidemiology or another science.    Successful applicants may have worked on publications or manuscripts and may have conducted lab research or field experiments.  The ScM requires degree candidates to conduct professional research and submit their publishable quality thesis (40-50 pp) for approval of the University Graduate Board just like the PhD candidates.

Both programs require that students complete at least 64 credits of coursework with a cumulative 3.0 GPA (B or higher average), successfully pass the written comprehensive exams, and produce a publishable quality manuscript of their own work.  Students work closely with their advisors to develop their research question and design their projects.  The application deadline for the MHS and ScM programs in Epidemiology is February 1. The MHS and ScM programs require on-site attendance for the majority of the program, although one or two courses may be completed online.  Note: It is fairly simple to “switch” programs if the question developed becomes more closely aligned with the goals of the other program.  (Students may switch from the MHS to the ScM and from the ScM to the MHS based on faculty recommendations after the first year of the program.)

Bachelors and Masters Combined Program

The benefit of the BA/MHS is that it allows Johns Hopkins University undergraduates (only) to take JHSPH courses during their undergraduate program, re-use up to 16 credits accumulated as undergraduates in the MHS program, and apply by June 1 without submitting GRE’s as long as their cumulative and SPH undergraduate grade point average remains above 3.0. Students who complete the BA/BS at JHU, become MHS candidates and follow the MHS program outlined above.

All applicants are encouraged to complete multiple biology and other science/math courses prior to entering the program.

Master of Public Health