Public Health Leadership Program Online Certificate in Field Epidemiology

Overview | Curriculum | Course Schedule | Eligibility, Application and Tuition | Contact us

Check out more program details and information about how to apply to the Online Certificate in Field Epidemiology via our Gillings Program Search (GPS) for prospective students.


As the practice of public health changes, so do the educational needs of public health practitioners, particularly in the area of field epidemiology. In recent years, in the U.S. and across the world, we have faced a variety of new man-made and natural threats, including new strains of existing diseases and the re-emergence of threats that were thought to be eradicated. At the same time that these threats have increased we continue to face a shortage of adequately trained epidemiologists in state and territorial health departments. The need to prepare the public health workforce to deal with these threats is crucial, and requires innovative approaches to education and training that encompass the latest surveillance techniques and take full advantage of current technology.

To address this need and fill the gap in educational programs available to practitioners, the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health has developed the Certificate in Field Epidemiology program, which is specifically designed for working practitioners and emphasizes practical, applied skills. All courses have been specially designed and developed for delivery online. Students will be able to register, receive materials, interact with faculty, order books, and successfully complete this program without traveling to campus. A connection to the Internet is all that is required.


The curriculum for the Online Certificate in Field Epidemiology includes four courses totaling 12 graduate credit hours:

Principles of Epidemiology for Public Health (EPID 600)-This is an introductory epidemiology course that considers the meaning, scope, and applications of epidemiology to public health practice and the uses of vital statistics data in the scientific appraisal of community health.

Methods in Field Epidemiology (EPID 759)-This course focuses on the epidemiological methods required to investigate urgent public health problems.  The skills and tools needed to conduct outbreak investigations and communicate findings to the public are covered in this course.

Principles and Methods of Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology (EPID 758)– This course encompasses the interaction between an infectious agent, host, and environment, modes and dynamics of transmission, the role of immunity in infectious disease epidemiology, and disease elimination strategies.

Fundamentals of Public Health Surveillance (EPID 750)– This course provides the conceptual foundations and practical skills for designing and implementing surveillance systems and for using surveillance data for the conduct and evaluation of public health programs and research.

Course schedule

Course schedule for the Online Field Epidemiology program:

Fall- EPID 600
Spring- EPID 759
Summer- EPID 758
Fall- EPID 750

Checklist of requirements

Eligibility, Application and Tuition

  • Bachelor’s degree (or international equivalent) required;
  • Math competency – some of the Epidemiology courses cover quantitative subject matter and require a minimum level of math competency that should be obtained either through extensive experience or by having taken recent courses. Transcripts should include evidence of grades of B or better in math courses, covering both college algebra and calculus at a minimum. Also, if you haven’t had math courses within the past five years, then we recommend that you take a refresher course before starting the Field Epidemiology Certificate program. A very good review option is the free review material that is offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to prepare for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This material can be downloaded for free at:  Alternatively you may demonstrate your math proficiency by taking the GRE exam, which would be especially recommended if you intend to apply for an MPH degree after completing the certificate. Please contact us before applying if you have any questions about these math requirements;
  • Excellent English writing skills (must be able to make and support an argument);
  • Resume or CV including relevant education and/or experience in a health or social science related field-includes volunteer experience (minimum of 3 years preferred);
  • Statement of Purpose required;
  • Transcripts (official or unofficial) required for your highest degree earned and relevant completed coursework. Please indicate degree and date received. Also include transcripts that demonstrate any relevant coursework for quantitative competencies;

We accept applications for enrollment in the program in the fall. The deadline to apply for fall 2018 is June 15, 2018. Applications will open on September 1, 2017. Please note there are limited spaces available in the program. Thus, applying early will provide a better opportunity for admission.

To begin the application process, please click here.  If you have problems with the online form, please contact Student Services Manager Michele Fulton.

For more information regarding tuition rates, please consult the UNC Finance Office‘s tuition rates (see Off-campus Programs tuition rates). Please note that the certificate programs do not qualify for financial aid at UNC-CH.

Contact Us

For additional information about the Online Field Epidemiology Certificate program, please go to the Certificate FAQ page or contact faculty director Lorraine Alexander at or Michele Fulton at 919.843.5758.

Learn more about distance education opportunities at UNC.