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The EMD program provided me with a foundational knowledge of infectious diseases and epidemiology that has allowed me to bring a quantitative lens and strong scientific public health perspective to a field that balances technical implementation considerations with several competing priorities.

Tyler Johnson, MPH '19
HIV Program Specialist, Peace Corps

MPH in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases

Infectious diseases are leading causes of global mortality and morbidity. Therefore, advancing our understanding of the epidemiology of infectious diseases is crucial to public health. The Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases (EMD) teaches students critical infectious disease epidemiological skills foundational to public health. The MPH curriculum gives students an understanding of the epidemiology of the major infectious agents, the diseases they cause, and the host response to those diseases. The interaction of the agent (virus, bacterium, or parasite) with the host and the influence of the environment and social context are studied. The curriculum considers the role of immunological response, genetics, the natural history of vectors, geographic distribution, transmission and transport of agents, and the behaviors and policies that can reduce disease burden.

EMD students acquire epidemiological knowledge, skills, and tools that are highly valuable for a broad range of career paths. With a low faculty-student ratio, EMD provides exceptional mentorship opportunities for each student. Students obtain critical applied experience, skills, and professional connections through the required internship. For the EMD thesis, students collaborate closely in meaningful research with the support and guidance of our internationally recognized faculty.

How to Apply

For more information on how to apply visit the YSPH Admissions website.

Apply through SOPHAS.

What are the program's areas of expertise?

Areas of expertise include:

  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Climate and disease
  • Emerging infections
  • Global health and tropical diseases
  • Implementation science
  • Infectious disease transmission and pathogenesis
  • Modeling of infectious diseases
  • One Health
  • Population displacement and humanitarian health
  • Public health ethics
  • Public health surveillance
  • Social determinants of health
  • Vaccines
  • Vector biology and ecology
Diseases of focus:
  • Arboviruses
  • Emerging diseases (e.g., Covid, Zika)
  • Enteric infections
  • Hepatitis
  • Healthcare-associated infections
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Malaria
  • Nutritional and infectious diseases
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Soil-transmitted helminth infections
  • Substance use
  • Tick-borne diseases
  • Trypanosomiasis
  • Tuberculosis

What makes us different?

  • EMD is unique in that the entire department is focused on infectious disease epidemiology with a multidisciplinary faculty whose expertise span laboratory work, field studies, and quantitative sciences.
  • Many of our faculty are associated with the Public Health Modeling Unit available to MPH students.
  • EMD provides a very low faculty/student ratio, and faculty are deeply invested in every student’s learning and professional success.
  • EMD has a vibrant sense of community, providing ample social opportunities to complement and balance the outstanding academic experience.
  • Our flexible program provides diverse course offerings and myriad opportunities for global and domestic research and community engagement.


2024-25 Matriculation

The MPH degree requires a total of 20 course units, with each course typically counting toward 1 unit. Full-time students must carry a minimum of 4 course units each semester.

In addition, all 2-year MPH students must complete an internship and an Applied Practice Experience (APE). An internship may fulfill both requirements if it meets certain conditions. Please refer to the Internship and Practicum Guidelines for more information.

Students complete a thesis comprising 2 course units in the final term. The MPH in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases (EMD) requires the student to complete (or acquire an exemption from) the following courses:

MPH Core Courses (7 course units)

  • EPH 505 Biostatistics in Public Health - 1 unit
  • EPH 507 Social Justice and Health Equity - 1 unit
  • EPH 508 Foundations of Epidemiology for Public Health - 1 unit
  • EPH 510 Health Policy and Health Care Systems - 1 unit
  • EPH 513 Major Health Threats - 1 unit
  • EPH 100/EPH 101 Professional Skills Series - 0 units
  • EPH 520 or 521 Summer Internship - 0 units (Please note: the Summer Internship may meet the APE requirement, but the workplan must first be approved by the Office of Public Health Practice. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the APE through the Summer internship requirement. If not, students will need to take a practicum course during the 2nd year using one of their remaining electives.)
  • EPH 525 Thesis - 2 units

EMD Department Required Courses (7 course units)

  • EMD 518 Principles of Infectious Diseases I and II (two terms) - 2 units
  • EMD 525/EMD 526 Seminar in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases (two terms) - 0 units

One of the following:

  • BIS 505 Biostatistics in Public Health II - 1 unit
  • CDE 534 Applied Analytic Methods in Epidemiology - 1 unit

One of the following:

  • CDE 516 Principles of Epidemiology II - 1 unit
  • EMD 553 Transmission Dynamic Modeling of Infectious Diseases - 1 unit

Three additional EMD courses (from the list of approved EMD elective courses chosen in collaboration with adviser) - 3 units

Elective Courses (6 course units)