University of South Florida

USF launches online MPH degree in epidemiology

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Beginning in May, epidemiology graduate students at the University of South Florida College of Public Health will be able to earn a master of public health degree in an online, as well as an on-campus format.  The College’s newest professional degree for distance-learners emphasizes epidemiologic principles and methods while providing students with a broad understanding of public health, without needing to relocate.

“Successful graduates of the program are trained in epidemiological and biostatistical techniques to evaluate the health status of populations, identify risk factors for health-related outcomes, and critically evaluate the impact of health related interventions,” said Kathleen O’Rourke, PhD, professor of epidemiology and director of the program.  “This program was developed in support of the College of Public Health’s goal to advance a learning community that nurtures discovery, leadership, and practice.” 

Using multimedia, web-based technologies for instruction, the online epidemiology concentration incorporates the Internet, streaming media, web-based tutorials, and other digital learning resources. Students will engage with peers and faculty through e-mail, web conferencing, discussion forums, and virtual chat features.

Students can complete all degree requirements for a master of public health in epidemiology within 2 to 2-1/2 years.  The degree is offered through the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. With 17 full-time faculty members, more than 190 degree and certificate students, a new online master’s degree, and two new graduate certificate programs, it is one of the College’s fastest-growing departments.

Kathleen O'Rourke, Epidemiology, USF College of Public Health

Kathleen O’Rourke, PhD

USF  is at the forefront of providing  quality education in a virtual format and the College of Public Health helping lead this effort. In August, the College’s advances in distance learning were featured in The Nation’s Health.

“At the University of South Florida College of Public Health, enrollment in online public health degree programs has more than doubled since the middle of the last decade. The university was one of the first to offer distance-based public health education. It began in 1993 with satellite-delivered courses to 33 health departments across Florida,” said Deanna Wathington, MD, MPH, associate dean for academic and student affairs at the College of Public Health. “Today, the college offers more than 70 courses that are fully online, including six online master’s degrees and 10 online graduate certificates with student enrollments of approximately 4,000 students per semester.”

Click here to learn more about online education in the USF College of Public Health, or contact Dr. Kathleen O’Rourke at to discuss the master of public health in epidemiology.

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