Master of Science in Epidemiology

The Master of Science in Epidemiology at the Berlin School of Public Health provides education and training in epidemiologic research methods, study design and data analysis. Our graduates take on research positions at 

  • universities
  • government agencies 
  • public health institutions 

to plan, implement, evaluate and publish epidemiological research.

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Key Facts MSc Epidemiology

  • Executive Master's degree programs are designed for students with qualified professional experience.
  • The Master of Science in Epidemiology begins annually in mid-October and requires a total tuition of € 10,200 (payable pro rata per semester plus enrollment fees). The program accepts 30 students each year. Enrollment is at the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
  • The program is offered in a full-time or part-time format. Full-time students complete the program in 2 semesters (12 months). Part-time students can complete the program over the course of 4 semesters (2 years). An individual course plan can also be developed to fit your personal schedule.
  • A total of 60 credit points must be earned (ECTS in accordance with the European Credit Transfer System).
  • The program has a methods and research focus. A total of 10 modules (courses) must be completed: five core methods modules, three advanced elective modules, a research project and a written master's thesis including an oral defense.
  • The language of instruction is English.
  • The program is an accredited academic program and is evaluated regularly. The academic degree awarded is MSc - Master of Science.

Structure of the MSc Epidemiology

The MSc Epidemiology consists of five core methods modules, three advanced elective modules, a research project and a master's thesis.

  • The aim of the five core methods modules is to ensure that all students have a comprehensive set of theoretical and applied skills in epidemiologic research methods. The core modules have 5 credits each for a total of 25 credits. Both full-time and part-time students should complete them in the first and second semester of the program. 
  • The advanced elective modules provide room for students to pursue individual interests in 15 credits worth of coursework. The areas of study are roughly grouped under the headings "applied methods", "disease monitoring" and "applied epidemiology". The intent of the electives is to impart specialized methodological skills in various fields of application. 
  • The Master's thesis is an independent scientific research project and makes up one third of the MSc Epidemiology degree. Students receive 20 credits for the completion of the two connected courses Module 9 - Master's Project and Module 10 - Master's Thesis. Module 9 is designed to provide room for finding and preparing an independent research project that is suitable for completion in the final Module 10 - Master's Thesis. Each student is paired with two academic advisors from the program's faculty or related research institutions. The Master's Thesis gives students the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge they have gained throughout the program to a practical research project. It is also a chance to get to know potential employers! 

All courses have a seminar character. In addition to imparting knowledge, they are designed to promote interaction and exchange between students so that the knowledge they bring from their original discipline or work experience is built upon and shared.

Course sequence and schedule overview

Full-time students have a very compact schedule and complete the program's 60 credits in two semesters (12 months). Courses meet on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 14:30 and 19:00 hours. Students identify and prepare their master's research project during the first semester and complete and write their master's thesis in the second semester parallel to completing coursework. An average of 40 hours per week are required to participate in the classes and complete the preparation and follow-up work (Student Investment Time, SIT).

Part-time students complete the program's 60 credits over the course of four semesters, with each semester averaging 15 credits. Courses in the first two semesters take place on Mondays and Tuesdays between 14:30 and 19:00 hours. Courses in the third semester take place on Thursdays and Fridays between 14:30 and 19:00 hours. Students spend an average of 20 hours per week studying through a combination of attendance times as well as preparation and follow-up time (Student Investment Time, SIT). 

  • The winter semester has 18 weeks of classes and starts in October.
  • The summer semester begins in April and has 12 weeks of classes.
  • Intensive Short Courses are offered as week-long classes in August and September.

Core Methods Modules - 25 credits

The Master of Science in Epidemiology contains five core methods modules of 5 ECTS each. The aim of the core methods modules is to ensure that all students have a comprehensive set of theoretical and applied skills in epidemiologic research methods.  

Module 1: Public Health Research (5 credits)

  • Quantitative and qualitative research methods in the social sciences and public health
  • Phases of the research process
  • Development of quantitative and qualitative questions
  • Conceptualization and operationalization
  • Quantitative and qualitative survey instruments and study design
  • Sampling and field phase
  • Ethics and data protection,
  • Data management in quantitative and qualitative studies
  • Data quality, presenting data and using results
  • "R" Software applications

 Module 2: Epidemiology I (5 credits)

  • Principles of epidemiological research and epidemiologic thinking (descriptive, analytical, experimental)
  • Demography, Burden of Disease, Health Reporting, Surveillance
  • Populations and Sampling, Units of observation, Variables
  • Causal Inference, Counterfactuals, Confounding, Intermediates, DAGs
  • Measures of Effect, Stratification, Measures of Frequency, Comparing and Standardization
  • Observational study design, Ecologic, Cross-sectional, Cohort designs, Case-Control approaches
  • Interventional Studies, Randomization, Blinding, Clustering
  • Selection and Information Bias, Internal validity, Evidence based Medicine/Public Health, External Validity, Reporting standards
  • Sources of error and strategies for controlling confounding
  • Screening and Prediction

Module 3: Biostatistics I (5 credits)

  • Descriptive statistics, estimators, confidence intervals, probability calculus, discrete and continuous distributions, statistical testing and test theory
  • Fundamentals of context analysis: correlation and regression analysis, variance analysis, sampling, case number estimation
  • Methods and techniques of data presentation
  • Introduction to data processing with suitable software

Module 4: Epidemiology II (5 credits, online format)

  • Advanced knowledge of epidemiological research concepts and methods
  • in-depth treatment of epidemiological study types (cohort studies, case-control studies, intervention studies)
  • Error control methods (matching, misclassification, selection bias, confounding and effect measure modification)
  • Techniques of implementation and quality assurance

Module 5: Biostatistics II (5 credits)

In-depth theoretical and practical knowledge of biostatistics. Students will be able to critically question epidemiological studies and their reports. Consolidation of:

  • Regression models (linear and logistic survival analysis; log-rank-test; Cox and Poisson regression)
  • Further multivariate models (discriminant analysis, cluster analysis, factor analysis)
  • Measurement errors and missing values
  • Application of statistical methods to specific study designs
  • Clinical epidemiology
  • Meta-analysis
  • Advanced data analysis with suitable software packages

Advanced Elective Modules - 15 credits

The advanced elective modules in the MSc Epidemiology provide room for students to pursue individual interests in 15 credits worth of coursework. The areas of study are roughly grouped under the headings "applied methods, disease monitoring and applied epidemiology. The intent of the electives is to impart specialized methodological skills in various fields of application.

Module 6: Applied Methods of Epidemiology

  • Introduction to Medical Informatics (2,5 credits)
  • Applied Medical Informatics  (2,5 credits)
  • Biometrics and epidemiology in pharmaceutical research (2,5 credits)

Module 7: Diseases Monitoring

  • Chronic Disease Epidemiology  (2,5 credits)
  • Infectious Disease Epidemiology  (2,5 credits)

Module 8: Applied Epidemiology

  • Molecular Epidemiology  (2,5 credits)
  • Evidence based medicine  (2,5 credits)
  • Health monitoring (2,5 credits)

We offer a variety of Intensive Short Courses that can be substituted for credit in Modules 6, 7, or 8. Not all electives are offered every year.

Research Project and Master's Thesis - 20 credits

The Master's thesis is an independent scientific research project and makes up one third of the MSc Epidemiology degree. Students receive 20 ECTS for the completion of the two connected courses Module 9 - Master's Project and Module 10 - Master's Thesis. Module 9 is designed to provide room for finding and preparing an independent research project that is suitable for completion in the final Module 10 - Master's Thesis. Each student is paired with two academic advisors from the program's faculty or related research institutions. Within the context of the Master's Thesis, students have the opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge they have gained throughout the program to a practical research project. It also provides students with an opportunity to get to know potential employers. 

Module 9: Master's Project 

  • Find a topic and develop a research proposal or protocol for your Thesis
  • Find 2 advisors / supervisors
  • Preliminary data analysis

Module 10: Master's Thesis

  • Data analysis
  • Write a publishable manuscript
  • Defend your research in an oral presentation

Tuition and Fees

The Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin charges tuition (module fee) and an enrollment fee per semester for participation in the continuing master's courses at the Berlin School of Public Health.

The tuition (module fee) for the entire program, including supervision and evaluation of the Master's thesis, is €10,200. In addition, the regular enrollment fees (matriculation fees) of the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin are due for every semester that you are enrolled as a student.

Fee Schedule

  • Full-time students pay €5.100 in September at the time of enrollment and €5.100 in March before beginning the second semester for a total tuition of €10.200.
  • Part-time students pay €2.550 in September at the time of enrollment, €2.550 in March before beginning the second semester, €2.550 in September before beginning the third semester and €2.550 in March before beginning the fourth semester for a total tuition of €10.200.
  • Should you take longer than two full time or four part time semesters to complete the program, no further tuition (module fees) are due. Enrolled students recieve a bill for each payment due. 

In addition, university enrollment fees are due for each semester enrolled and must be paid per semester (about €300).

Financial Aid

As a financial aid, the German Federal Government offers students in advanced education low-interest loans in accordance with the funding regulations of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF):

Furthermore, since January 1st  2003 there has been the possibility of receiving an education voucher from the Employment Agency, provided that all funding conditions have been met. However, it must first be established in each individual case how high and to what extent the educational need exists. More information is available at www.arbeitsagentur.de

Finally, there is also the possibility of a scholarship, which you can find out about on the homepage of the Federal Association of German Foundations (www.stiftungen.org/stiftunssuche).