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Epidemiology Track

Population-based quantitative evaluation for the development of public health scientists and professionals

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Epidemiology Center Grand Rounds

The Epidemiology track seeks students who have a strong clinical background – typically physicians or other doctorally qualified professionals – and provides them with additional training that fosters their development as public health scientists or professionals.


  • Bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree
  • At least two years of relevant, post-undergraduate professional experience strongly preferred, but not required
  • Applicants should have a clear sense of the kind of research they plan to pursue for their MPH master’s thesis. Applicants seeking an MPH degree as part of a Vanderbilt post-doctoral fellowship program or training grant will submit a research proposal with their application. Other applicants will work closely with the MPH faculty and staff to identify potential projects and mentors in the fall semester of their first year.


Core public health courses providing foundations in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Social and Behavioral Science, Environmental Science, Public Health Systems, and Research Ethics are required. Additional track-specific courses covering advanced content provide students with the knowledge needed to perform population-based quantitative evaluation. Click here to view course requirements.


The 240-hour public health practicum is individually selected and tailored to meet the needs and interests of each MPH student. Recent practicum placements for students in the Epidemiology track have included:

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Center for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Veterans Administration
  • and state, county and local health and social service agencies

Culminating Experience

The culminating experience is a graduation requirement for all students in the MPH program. It allows each student to demonstrate synthesis of the MPH foundational and track-specific competencies and produce a high quality written product that is developed and delivered in a manner that is useful to external stakeholders. Students choose to complete a thesis or a capstone project and they select their research topic or focus area.

Many students in the Epidemiology track choose the thesis option and complete a substantive piece of translational research that results in a manuscript suitable for submission to the refereed biomedical literature. The research may either comprise collection of original data, novel analysis of extant data, or structured synthesis of previously reported research (e.g., meta-analysis). Each student identifies a topic, conducts a literature review, writes a protocol, collects and analyzes data when appropriate, and prepares a manuscript.

Click here to learn more about the culminating experience.


The Epidemiology Track provides clinical research fellows or faculty the interdisciplinary training and skill sets for a future career in epidemiologic, clinical, or health services research or health administration.

Student Stories

Track Leadership

Muktar Aliyu, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Dr.PH.
Co-Director, Epidemiology Track, MPH Program
Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health
VUMC Endowed Directorship in Global Health
Professor of Health Policy and Medicine

Bill Heerman, M.D., M.P.H.
Co-Director, Epidemiology Track, MPH Program
Associate Professor of Pediatrics, General Pediatrics
William K. Warren Family Chair in Medicine
Director, Division of Academic General Pediatrics