Category: Epidemiology

New Graduate Certificate in Epidemiology

April 19, 2024 Written by Amy Cherry | Photo by Ashley Barnas Larrimore

Fully online program can be completed in one year of part-time study

During the COVID-19 pandemic, epidemiologists played a critical role in safeguarding public health, providing governments and health organizations with necessary data that informed public health policies and strategies. The pandemic laid bare our need for more highly skilled epidemiologists, which is why the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences has launched a new Epidemiology Graduate Certificate.

The fully online program was developed directly in response to growing workforce needs in our post-pandemic world.

“Core skills taught in epidemiology, like study design and data analysis, are in high demand among employers in public health and related fields like healthcare and pharmaceutical development,” said Jennifer Horney, professor and founding director of UD’s Epidemiology Program. “The COVID-19 pandemic exposed our structural gaps, and so now there’s a concerted effort nationally to bolster those systems, and higher education must play a role in that.”

Lauren Camphausen, assistant director of the Master of Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology Program, said the certificate program through UD’s Graduate College was born from conversations with healthcare partners.

“Those conversations revealed a strong desire among medical professionals and residents to develop more focused skills around epidemiology,” said Camphausen. “We capitalized on UD’s graduate certificate structure to create an ideal offering for this audience to bolster their professional skill sets and credentials.”

The 12-credit, flexible program is designed to support healthcare professionals who may be hard-pressed for time but seek additional training in epidemiologic methods and the applied skills needed to address a broad range of health problems. The curriculum focuses on practical skills, biostatistics, and data analysis and prepares students to conduct an independent research study. The Graduate Certificate in Epidemiology can be completed in one year of part-time study.

“The Graduate Certificate in Epidemiology is also a great option for those interested in switching career paths or who want to make themselves more competitive within their field; the certificate can help them broaden their portfolio or even shift their focus,” Camphausen said.

The Epidemiology Graduate Certificate can also be a great way to explore the field for those considering pursuing UD's complete MPH program.

“This is a way for those students to dip their toes into the field before committing to the full 42-credit MPH in epidemiology graduate degree,” Camphausen said. “We’ve designed the program to feed directly into the MPH program.”

But they’re not the only target audience for the certificate program. Camphausen said they’ve seen interest from current UD graduate students in various Ph.D. programs who have expressed interest in simultaneously completing their MPH.

“Within the College of Health Sciences, we have several graduate students in our epidemiology classes, whom we can work with to help them complete the rest of the requirements to add a certificate to their other graduate degree program,” Camphausen said.

There are no prerequisites for the certificate program; however, prior experience with research and data collection is helpful.

“We always do a holistic application review,” Camphausen said. “Students in our current MPH program come from a wide range of backgrounds, and the certificate course is designed for people with different backgrounds and levels of understanding.”

She added, “This certificate could be a great way for someone considering a career shift, so we don’t want to keep anyone from exploring a genuine interest.”

Amy Nelson, an assistant professor of epidemiology and infectious disease epidemiologist, directs the Graduate Certificate in Epidemiology program.

“In my experience working with certificate students, they are really committed to the coursework based on a desire to round out their graduate training in a clinical or other graduate program or advance in their careers in public health,” said Nelson. “It’s rewarding to see where this year of additional training can take our students.”

One of the program highlights is Social Epidemiology.

“Thematically, social epidemiology is an important focus for us as a program at UD,” Camphausen said. “The course was designed to account for the work underway in Delaware around health equity and social determinants of health. That allows us to put our own UD stamp on what we want to focus on for epidemiology. “

The deadline to register for the Graduate Certificate in Epidemiology is August 1. For more information and details, contact Amy Nelson at amynels@udel.edu.


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