Epidemiology

If you like solving puzzles, if you like science and research -- then epidemiology is the major for you.

Epidemiologists help to prevent and control disease outbreaks. When you see reports of E.coli on grocery store produce or alerts about salmonella linked to restaurant chains, those are examples of epidemiologists at work.

It’s all about tracking down what the disease is, where it started and where it’s going next so people have the information they need to protect themselves.

The Epidemiology emphasis (PHEP) at WSU is designed for students who want attend graduate school for careers in health-based research and epidemiology.

The Epidemiology emphasis can also offer an advantage in your future career if you’re in a pre-professional program for medicine or dentistry. You’ll better understand the mechanisms behind the diseases in the patients you treat.


What You’ll Learn

The physical, social and economic environments all affect our health and choices. You’ll learn how these factors are related and apply this knowledge through class projects and real-world experiences to promote the health of communities.

In the Epidemiology emphasis you will dig into microbiology and biochemistry to understand how diseases work and how different diseases affect communities. You will also learn how to use statistics to identify outbreaks and find the best ways to prevent and control the spread of disease.

Especially in a crisis like a pandemic, the work of epidemiologists helps to save lives and livelihoods.

Check out the Course Catalog for more on PHEP requirements.

View the Major Map (PDF) to see how you can complete this degree in four years.


Careers & Job Growth

With an Epidemiology degree, you can build a career as a:

  • Health Researcher
  • Health Statistician
  • Epidemiologist – you will need a Master's Degree
  • Doctor – you will need to also complete a Pre-Med program
  • Dentist – you will need to also complete a Pre-Dental program

These careers play important roles in the healthcare and public health industries.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupational outlook for Epidemiologists is promising:

  • 2019 Median Pay: $70,990 per year
  • Typical Entry-Level Education: Master’s Degree
  • Number of Jobs in 2019: 8,000
  • Job Outlook for 2019-29: +5% (faster than average)

If this sounds like the career path for you, talk to Public Health faculty to learn more about the Epidemiology major!