We have run the Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) for the last 25 years. The program has been extremely successful, producing over 200 graduates, who investigated over 300 outbreaks and established or evaluated surveillance systems. Fifteen per cent of graduates during this time were Indigenous. In 2010, the FETP was evaluated by a team of international experts. The evaluation and changes to funding required fundamental revisions. This resulted in development of a new Masters of Philosopy (MPhil) program.
The MPhil (Applied Epidemiology) is a two year research degree that emphases learning-by-doing. The program teaches scholars epidemiology in the field, through coursework and learning in a field placement, such as a health department. The MPhil (App Epid) is Australia’s only FETP and is part of the international network of Field Training Programs in Epidemiology & Public Health Interventions Network.
Applications for the 2018 intake are now open. Applications are due in by 31 August 2017.
The MPhil (App Epid) aims to develop Australia’s public health capabilities and systems. The primary goal is to foster the professional development of field trained epidemiologists who are competent in using epidemiology to tackle a wide range of contemporary public health problems.
The study program consists of five required coursework subjects, which all students must complete. Each subject is run as a one week intensive course block at ANU, with complementary online learning and assessment.
- POPH8316 - Outbreak Investigation
- POPH8317 - Public Health Surveillance
- POPH8313 - Analysis of Public Health Data
- POPH8315 - Research Design and Methods
- POPH8914 - Issues in Applied Epidemiology
MPhil (App Epid) scholars are placed in a field placement for the duration of the program. Field placements may be a health department or public health unit, or other suitable institution. The scholar must complete epidemiologically based projects that are relevant to the workplace, and be involved in response to public health incidents. These may include national and international response to public health emergencies. During the two years, scholars will participate in ‘lessons from the field’ where field based problems will be worked through with other scholars and MPhil (App Epid) teaching staff.
At the end of the two years, scholars must submit a thesis that is a coherent report on four research projects. Each research project has a corresponding coursework component. In addition, scholars must include:
- a summary of experience during the program
- a late draft of a peer review paper
- a presentation to a national or international scientific conference
- a communication of epidemiological findings to a lay audience.
While on the program, scholars will have a field supervisor who is an experienced field epidemiologist, and an academic supervisor. Scholars and supervisors communicate via regular teleconferences and field visits where practical.
Field placements will support scholars either as employees or by providing a tax free scholarship to the student administered through ANU. These tax free scholarships are for $50,000 annually pro-rata. Field placements will also cover the costs of administration and scholars' travel, accommodation and meals during course block at ANU, which is expected to be $10,000 over the two years. As the MPhil (App Epid) program is a research degree, there are no tuition costs associated with scholars completing coursework subjects. ANU and field placements will enter a memorandum of understanding outlining these arrangements.
Following completion of the degree, scholars may work as epidemiologists for state, territory and federal health departments, and international agencies, such as the World Health Organization.