After a successful inaugural year, the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington is working to continue to grow its innovative Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) degree program in Epidemiology. The school has offered a Master of Public Health degree and doctorate degree in Epidemiology for several years. With the addition of the undergraduate program in Epidemiology, the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington is one of the only universities in the nation to offer degrees in this discipline at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Epidemiology is the study of human populations and the frequency or pattern of health-related issues within populations. Scholars in the field research the cause of disease outbreaks, study risk factors for chronic diseases, and work to control or stop outbreaks or emerging health threats.
“Students in our undergraduate program take core courses that expose them to five fundamental areas of public health – epidemiology, health administration, environmental health, biostatistics, and social and behavioral health,” explains Andrea Chomistek, assistant professor and director of undergraduate education in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the school. “As these students focus more on Epidemiology, they’ll also take courses on disease surveillance, study design, data collection and analysis, and identification of risk factors for infectious and chronic diseases.”
Students completing this degree will be well positioned to enter the public health workforce or continue their education in a graduate program. An advantage, according to Chomistek, of pursuing an Epidemiology degree at the undergraduate level is that students will be well prepared for entry level jobs in public health as well as have the knowledge of research methodologies and data analysis to be successful in a number of different graduate programs, including medical school.
“Unlike most schools of public health, our school is unique in having a large undergraduate student body of nearly 2,700 students,” notes Dr. Mohammad Torabi, founding dean and chancellor’s professor. “By offering this new degree as well as the host of other degrees at the undergraduate level, we provide a unique opportunity for students to study public health across a spectrum of fields in a way often only reserved for those in advanced degree programs.”
Because so few universities offer the opportunity to earn a degree in Epidemiology at the undergraduate level, most students pursuing an advanced degree in the field come from a variety of backgrounds and majors.
“This degree is unique in that it provides students with introductory training in important analytic skills and research methods,” Chomistek says. “If a student chooses to pursue a graduate degree, he or she will be able to build upon these important foundational skills in Epidemiology or another field, which will be of great benefit. Or, they’ll be able to use these skills in the workforce following the completion of their undergraduate degree.”
The undergraduate degree program in Epidemiology at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington continues to enroll and accept students. For more information, please visit publichealth.indiana.edu/degrees/undergraduate.