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M.Sc.Ph.D.

Epidemiology: Program Requirements

M.Sc.

Students will study the foundations and principles of epidemiology and applied biostatistics, in order to design, conduct and analyze clinical, population-based, environmental, policy, and methodological health-related research. Graduates will be prepared to engage in scientific collaboration, and communicate results to other scientists and diverse audiences.

For eligible clinicians: there is the possibility of completing the program in one year. Please refer to “intensive M.Sc. for clinicians” in the text.

Required Courses
(46 credits)

Course #TitleCredits
EPIB 601
EPIB 602
EPIB 603
EPIB 605
EPIB 607
EPIB 613
EPIB 614
EPIB 621
EPIB 690
Fundamentals of Epidemiology
Foundations of Population Health
Intermediate Epidemiology
Critical Appraisal in Epidemiology
Inferential Statistics
Introduction to Statistical Software
Basics of Measurement in Epidemiology
Data Analysis in Health Sciences
M.Sc. Thesis
4
3
4
1
4
1
1
4
24

Students exempted from any of the courses listed above must replace them with additional Complementary Course credits.

Complementary Courses

Two credits of course work, at the 500-level or higher, chosen in consultation with the student's academic advisor or supervisor.

For students admitted to the intensive M.Sc. for clinicians option, it is strongly recommended that students take EPIB 619 Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (2 credits) given in the Summer Program. This course, in addition to the required courses, will provide the full 24 course credits required for the M.Sc. degree.

Core learning objectives

This document [ Core Learning Objectives MSc Epidemiology [.pdf]] outlines objectives of the core program for all M.Sc. students registered in the epidemiology program. The document was designed to facilitate the planning of courses and other learning activities, and to help students identify learning objectives. The objectives presented here may be met in a variety of ways: course work, the conduct of the thesis or non-thesis M.Sc. project, other research and participation in other academic activities such as departmental seminars.

Students in the thesis program complete 24 credits of coursework and submit a thesis (24 credits). A thesis for the Master's degree must show familiarity with previous work in the field and must demonstrate ability to carry out research and to organize results. The thesis must be expressed in good literate style. An exhaustive review of work in the particular field of study is not necessarily required, nor is original scholarship necessarily expected. As an alternative to the traditional thesis format, the thesis can consist of one or more papers of which the student is an author or co-author. If this option is chosen, all components must be integrated into a cohesive unit with a logical progression from one chapter to the next; connecting text that provides logical bridges preceding and following each manuscript is mandatory.

To be considered for admission, students interested in the intensive M.Sc. for clinicians option must have identified a Departmental supervisor or co-supervisor as well as a thesis topic at the time of application. The proposed thesis must use data already collected to allow for the completion of all the requirements for the M.Sc. by the end of August of the year after admission to the program. It is also expected that successful applicants will not be required to have any clinical duties during the 12 month period of study.

Applicants to the intensive M.Sc. for clinicians option are strongly urged to contact Dr. Pierre Ernst ( pierre [dot] ernst [at] mcgill [dot] ca (by email) or 514 340-8222 ext 3636) for further information and to assure that the planned research program meets all requirements of the M.Sc. thesis program.

M.Sc. theses involving human participants, animal subjects, microorganisms, living cells, biohazards, and/or radioactive materials, must include the appropriate compliance certification. Supervisors may add students directly to their existing approved IRB protocols. IRB approval (or a waiver from a McGill IRB committee) is required for graduation.

Students will need to identify (and have approved) an academic supervisor and thesis committee no later than 15 February of their first year of study. If a supervisor is identified who is outside the department, a department-based co-supervisor is required. Completed progress and tracking forms are also required to demonstrate satisfactory progress in the M.Sc. program (see website for details: www.mcgill.ca/epi-biostat-occh/grad/progresstracking).

M.Sc. theses will be read and evaluated by selected internal and external examiners and will be given a pass-fail grade. If an examiner has given a failing grade to the M.Sc. thesis, full instructions on how to proceed will be sent to the candidate, the supervisor and the unit head by Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

A public presentation of the M.Sc. thesis work (at a scientific conference or at a seminar at McGill or elsewhere) is strongly recommended for all M.Sc. thesis students.

Program Advisor:

amelie [dot] quesnelvallee [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. A. Quesnel-Vallée )
Tel.: 514-398-2758

Program Director:

christina [dot] wolfson [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. C. Wolfson)
Tel.: 514-934-1934x44739


Ph.D.

Students admitted to the Ph.D. degree program without the equivalent of the M.Sc. in Epidemiology at McGill will be required to take the following courses in their first year (equivalent to required coursework of the Masters program). Exemptions may be granted upon review with the course instructor of the syllabus and materials for each completed course. Exemptions will then require approval from the Ph.D. Chair/Advisor.

Course #TitleCredits
FALL
EPIB 601
EPIB 602
EPIB 607
EPIB 613

WINTER
EPIB 603
EPIB 605
EPIB 614
EPIB 621

Fundamentals of Epidemiology
Foundations of Population Health
Inferential Statistics
Introduction to Statistical Software


Intermediate Epidemiology
Critical Appraisal in Epidemiology
Basics of Measurement in Epidemiology
Data Analysis in Health Sciences

4
3
4
1


4
1
1
4

All students admitted to the Ph.D. degree program are required to take the following courses (15 credits):

Course #TitleCredits
EPIB 604
EPIB 608
EPIB 609
EPIB 610
EPIB 623
Epidemiologic Analysis
Advanced Epidemiology
Seminar in Advanced Methods
Advanced Methods: Causal Inference
Research Design in Health Sciences
3
3
3
3
3

A 3-credit ethics course chosen among the following:
- Public Health Ethics and Policy (EPIB 624)
- Ethics of Human Research (EPIB 625)

Comprehensive Exam (EPIB 701)

Students will normally take the Comprehensive Exam (EPIB 701) within 12 to 24 months of entry into the Ph.D. degree program. The Comprehensive Exam is held once a year in mid-June to mid-July. The exam is intended to test students’ ability to synthesize and integrate epidemiological knowledge. For details on the Comprehensive Exam, see the course outline for EPIB 701. The exam is graded “Pass” or “Fail”.

Protocol Defense (EPIB 702)

The comprehensive exam and the above required courses are usually completed before submitting and defending the thesis research protocol in EPIB 702. For details on the Protocol Defense, see the course outline for EPIB 702. The exam is graded “Pass” or “Provisional Pass” or “Fail”.

Students with a “Provisional Pass” (some deficiencies noted but not enough to stop progress on the thesis) are recommended to undertake (in consultation with their supervisor), specific remedial steps to address the areas of weakness identified in the exam. These could include additional courses, essays, assignments, and short courses. After satisfactory completion of these remedial steps the student will be considered to have a “Pass” on the Comprehensive Exam/Protocol Defense. Students are permitted to continue with their normal progression through the program.

Students with a “Fail” must repeat the exam the following year.

Required Elective Courses

In addition to the above required courses, students must complete a minimum of 9 credits of elective course work, at the 500-level or higher, of which a minimum must be 3 credits in biostatistics, 3 credits in a substantive topic, and 3 credits in epidemiology. These courses are to be chosen and approved in consultation with the student’s supervisor and committee, or with the PhD Advisor or Director. They can be chosen from the Department’s current offer of more than 40 courses in epidemiology, biostatistics and occupational health as well as from other McGill Departments.  To assist you in your course selections see the following Guidelines: Guidelines Required Elective PhD 20131115 [pdf].

See the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Calendar, and Courses & Timetables for details of courses being offered.

Thesis Research

Thesis research is normally actively undertaken following the comprehensive Exam. It is expected that students will complete their degree within 48 to 60 months of entry into the Ph.D. degree program.

Program Advisor:
sam [dot] harper [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. S. Harper)
Tel.: 514-398-2856

Program Director:
madhukar [dot] pai [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. M. Pai)
Tel.: 514-398-5422