The Epidemiologist in the Living Room

The UTHealth School of Public Health is meeting students where they are with a new online MPH degree in epidemiology.


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By Susan Kirtz
Center for Health Communication, UT Austin Moody College of Communication


This fall a new crop of students are turning on their computers—at home—to begin their studies in UTHealth School of Public Health’s online Master of Public Health in epidemiology degree program. Designed to meet the unique needs of working professionals and anyone who has an interest in public health, the 100 percent online MPH can be completed in as little as 18 to 24 months.

“Our goal is to make public health education accessible, flexible, and affordable for working adults,” says Alanna Morrison, PhD, FAHA, professor and department chair in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences (EHGES) and director of the Human Genetics Center.

The UTHealth School of Public Health, which has six physical campuses throughout Texas, is the first and oldest accredited school of public health in Texas. It offers courses and programs of study in biostatistics and data science; epidemiology, human genetics and environmental sciences; health promotion and behavioral sciences; and management, policy and community health.

The goal on the online MPH in epidemiology program is exactly the same, says Morrison, as the school’s in-person program: to prepare students to put epidemiologic concepts and methods into public health practice. In addition to rigorous coursework and in-depth research, students will engage in field-based learning experiences that will enable them to deploy their education on the ground. As a result, graduates will leave prepared to enter the workforce to improve the health of the population through prevention and better health outcomes.

“Graduates from the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences have an incredibly strong depth of knowledge, skills and practice of public health,” says Shreela Sharma, associate professor and curriculum coordinator in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences and assistant director for the Dietetic Internship program in the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.    

Online students will also benefit from the school’s strong alumni network, which includes staff at Harris County Public Health, The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and at a broad range of prestigious organizations across Texas, the United States, and the world.

“Across the board this is a great value for students,” says Sharma. “We offer a low faculty-to-student ratio, affordable tuition rates, and the flexibility to complete your studies in a way that works for you.”


Applications will be accepted for the fall 2020 cohort starting August 17, 2019 via the centralized Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS) system. For more information about the application process and admission deadlines, please contact JR Bright, academic and admissions advisor, at or 713-500-9361.