Amanda Simanek instructing a class

The epidemiology master’s program at UWM is unique among national schools of public health in its emphasis on the application of epidemiologic theory and methods for promoting social justice and health equity.

The integrated multidisciplinary curriculum bridges theory, research and practice to prepare students to engage in rigorous, collaborative, evidence-informed and reflexive public health practice. Through both didactic and experiential learning, students acquire foundations of applied epidemiological methods, epidemiologic data analysis, theories of social inequality, social epidemiology and community partnership building.

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A social approach to fighting COVID-19 misinformation

Growing up, Amanda Simanek saw how friends and family sought out her father, an automotive mechanic, for trusted advice on car repairs. Years later, she’s tapping into trust as a way to fight misinformation in the midst a global pandemic.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, she joined an all-female interdisciplinary team of scientists who launched a social media-based science communication campaign called Dear Pandemic to answer questions about this new disease.

Amanda Simanek, Associate Professor, Epidemiology

The Benefits of an MPH Epidemiology Degree

Graduates of UWM’s epidemiology master’s program are able to:

  • Collect, analyze and interpret epidemiological information.
  • Generate theory-driven hypotheses and research question.
  • Work in true collaboration with diverse community partners.
  • Create social change to improve the public’s health and reduce health inequities.

UWM students enrolled in the epidemiology track of the MPH program have opportunities to work with a wide array of organizations, such as the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, Diverse & Resilient, and local health departments.

MPH Epidemiology (48 credits)

All students enrolled in the MPH program take a common set of core classes. The core curriculum consists of at least 20 credit hours, including at least three credits of field experience and a two-credit capstone seminar. Students must also complete the required coursework in one of five specialization tracks. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better to progress through the program.

MPH Required Common Core Courses (at least 24-25 credits)

PH 702: Introduction to Biostatistics (3 credits)
PH 703: Environmental Health Sciences (3 credits)
PH 704: Principles and Methods of Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 705: Public Health Policy and Administration (3 credits)
PH 706: Perspectives in Community and Behavioral Health (3 credits)
PH 708: Health Systems and Population Health (3 credits)
PH 733: Overview of Qualitative Methods for Public Health (1 credit)
PH 790: Field Experience in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 791: Leadership in Public Health (1 credit)
PH 800: Capstone in Public Health (2 credits)

Required Courses (15 credits)

PH 700: Structures of Inequality and Population Health (3 credits)
PH 758: Social Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 759: Intro to Regression for Understanding the SDOH (3 credits)
PH 761: Epidemiology Field Methods (3 credits)
PH 763: Epidemiology for Equity (3 credits)

“S”electives – Choose one (three credits minimum)

PH 762: Environmental Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 768: Cancer Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 769: Critical Perspectives on Nutritional Epidemiology and the Food System (3 credits)
Other classes as approved by advisor

Electives – Choose two (six credits minimum)

PH 713: Analyzing Observational and Experimental Data (3 credits)
PH 714: Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 715: Applied Categorical Data (3 credits)
PH 716: Applied Survival Analysis (3 credits)
PH 717: Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis (3 credits)
PH 727: Program Planning and Implementation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 728: Program Evaluation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 729: Survey Research Methods in Public Health or SOC 752: Fundamentals of Survey Methodology (not both) (3 credits)
PH 784: Social and Economic Policy as Health Policy (3 credits)
PH 868: Epidemiologic Links Between Infectious and Chronic Disease (3 credits)
GEOG 525: Geographic Information Science (3 credits)
UrbPlan 692: Special Topics in Urban Planning: (Data Analysis and Visualization) (3 credits)

Other classes as approved by advisor.

Please note: All courses are subject to change. Please consult the Academic Catalog  for the most up-to-date information.

Epidemiology master’s track competencies

  1. Apply multidisciplinary social and environmental justice, human rights, critical social science, population health and health equity perspectives to frame and interpret epidemiologic research and practice.
  2. Identify and describe socio-structural, environmental, behavioral and biological determinants of health and heath equity.
  3. Systematically gather, critically evaluate and synthesize epidemiological literature and other relevant information to advance population health and health equity.
  4. Apply epidemiological skills in collaboration with community partners and key stakeholders to advance social and environmental justice and population health.
  5. Use interdisciplinary knowledge to formulate theory-driven hypotheses and research questions with relevant policy and practice implications for advancing population health and health equity.
  6. Apply appropriate field and surveillance methods to investigate disease outbreaks and assess patterns of exposures and health outcomes in the population.
  7. Engage ethically in interactions with study participants, communities and colleagues, in the performance of research and practice activities, and reporting of data and findings.
  8. Select epidemiologic methods and conduct statistical analyses to describe patterns of health and determinants of health, assess associations between exposures and health outcomes while minimizing threats to causal inference.
  9. Interpret and contextualize results, with attention to strengths and limitations of the study framing, design and analysis, and policy and practice implications.
  10. Communicate epidemiologic findings using a variety of modalities to diverse audiences and translate how findings are relevant to academics, community organizations, policymakers, public health practitioners and other stakeholders.

Graduates with epidemiology master’s degrees often work in hospitals, health departments and labs at the city, state and national levels, community research organizations and companies producing health-related products. 

Keith Dookeran
  • Visiting Associate Professor, Epidemiology
Lorraine Halinka Malcoe
  • Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director
Amanda Simanek
  • Associate Professor, Epidemiology
Ellen Velie
  • Professor, Epidemiology

Epidemiology Faculty Expertise

UWM’s epidemiology master’s program integrates themes of social justice theories with rigorous epidemiologic methods, and community practice to prepare students to utilize the tools of epidemiology to study the distribution and determinants of health, and to advocate for social and health equity in their local communities and beyond. Our faculty research specializations are in the areas of social, community-based, lifecourse and environmental epidemiology. 

Our epidemiology faculty have expertise in pediatric health, environmental health, infectious disease, aging, nutrition, cancer prevention, violence against women, mental health, structural determinants of health and community-level interventions. Epidemiology faculty have collaborated with foreign governments, Indigenous nations, community organizations, community-based researchers, and health justice activists to address children’s environmental health, women’s health, and community health.

Ongoing faculty research examines:

  • Health inequities 
  • Lifecourse sociocultural and nutritional risk factors for breast cancer
  • Links between psychosocial stress, immune function and chronic disease
  • Social and environmental risk factors for immune dysfunction in aging populations
  • Mass criminalization and community health
  • The misuse of race as a genetic construct in epidemiologic research
  • Methodologies for studying gender, race and social class inequalities in health