Epidemiology/Biostatistics Specialization | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Epidemiology/ Biostatistics Specialization

The Epidemiology/ Biostatistics specializations cultivates advanced skills in disease investigation, data analysis and data collection and presentation.

Students are equipped with the research and analytical skills to make original and substantive contributions to public health practice and research, be knowledgeable and discerning consumers of public health sciences, and effectively translate public health evidence into policy and practice.

This specialization offers training for careers focusing on collection and analysis of a wide range of health-related data. Students develop skills using multiple software tools to analyze public health data, including SAS, SPSS, Stata and/or R. In addition, the increasing availability of digital data resulting from innovations in medical and biological informatics will provide a wealth of new opportunities for students graduating with this specialization.

Students will be competitive for public health careers in many sectors focused on improving population health. Graduates seek positions in health departments, research institutes, corporations, HMOs and as federal contactors.

Specialization Requirements: 15 Credits

  • Applied Linear Modeling
  • Epidemiology Methods
  • Advanced Data Analysis
  • One elective course*
  • MPH practicum (epidemiology/biostatistics-focused)

*Select from a list of pre-approved courses related to epidemiology or biostatistics

Epidemiology/Biostatistics-focused electives include:

  • Foundations of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Translating Epidemiology to Public Health Policy
  • Global Burden of Disease: Methods and Applications
  • Mental and Behavioral Health Epidemiology
  • Multilevel and Longitudinal Modeling
  • Survival Analysis

In addition, students are strongly encouraged to choose an epidemiology/biostatistics-related Skill Lab on a topic such as data management or statistical software training.


The MPH program requires 360 hours of practicum. Sample Epidemiology/Biostatistics practicum sites include:

  • Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center Barnes-Jewish Hospital & Washington University School of Medicine
  • Centene Corporation
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Department of Health, District of Columbia
  • National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
  • St. Louis County Department of Health Washington University School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

Kim Johnson

Specialization Chair

Kim Johnson is an associate professor whose research focuses on identifying genetic and environmental factors for cancer, with a particular emphasis on understanding the etiology of cancer development in children and individuals with inherited cancer syndromes. Her work is cross-disciplinary and uses both traditional and novel epidemiological and genomic tools.

Michelle Simkins

Featured Graduate

“I went into the MPH program at the Brown School knowing I wanted to pursue a career in epidemiology. I completed a practicum at the St. Louis County Department of Health, where I had the opportunity to conduct epidemiological surveillance for the entire county and co-authored a research paper for publication. It was great to do meaningful work that opened the door to exciting career opportunities after graduation.”

—Michelle Simkins, MPH ’14, Epidemiologist/Analyst, BJC HealthCare