Program Information

Ours is one of the oldest graduate programs in Canada, having graduated our first Master's student in 1947 and our first PhD student in 1950. We offer MSc and PhD degrees, with a field of study in either Epidemiology or Biostatistics.

At the MSc level, we offer both full-time and part-time programs. Generally, a full-time student must visit the campus regularly and be employed less than 10 hours per week. A part-time student may take no more than 2 courses per term. Only a small number of candidates are admitted as part-time students.


Epidemiology is the study of the determinants and distribution of diseases and application of this knowledge to control health problems. The objectives of epidemiology are to:

  1. determine extent of disease in a community;
  2. identify patterns and trends in disease occurrence;
  3. identify causes of disease (etiology);
  4. determine the natural history and prognosis of disease;
  5. evaluate interventions that prevent and treat disease;
  6. evaluate methods of delivering health services;
  7. provide a foundation for public policy and regulatory decisions.

Applicants to this field come from a wide variety of backgrounds including (but not restricted to) biological, social and health sciences, and health care disciplines. An aptitude for quantitative statistical methods is integral to success in this field. Completion of a degree will result in the awarding of an MSc or PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, reflecting the strength of training in both epidemiology and applied biostatistics.


Biostatistics is an area of research in which new statistical methods for collecting, analyzing and interpreting data arising from medical and epidemiological research are developed and evaluated.

Biostatistics is the branch of statistics that provides proper interpretation of scientific data generated in biology, medicine, epidemiology, public health and other health sciences. It advances human health by turning data, big and small, into knowledge and by addressing pressing health issues. Biostatistical researchers focus on developing novel statistical methods that are central to research across all health sciences.

Applicants to this field should have a mathematical statistics background and hold a degree from a department of statistics, mathematics or applied mathematics. 

The following faculty serve as primary supervisors for students in the Biostatistics field of study:

Transfer from MSc to PhD

Students who are accepted into our MSc program may apply to reclassify into the PhD program if:

  • academic performance (courses and thesis research to date) is compatible with PhD studies;
  • they have support of a PhD credentialed supervisor willing to fund them and supervise their thesis

Students who wish to re-classify are expected make application in late May of year one for a September re-classification. As part of the application, the student will submit a proposal outlining his/hers rationale for his/her request to transfer and how his/her MSc thesis project will be modified to make it compatible with PhD studies. The student's supervisor is also expected to submit a letter of support for the application.

The Graduate Affairs Committee will review the request and decide whether the application will be approved. Earlier applications will not be considered because there is an inadequate opportunity to assess student performance early in the program (their performance in all mandatory courses). Later application is possible but re-classification should occur no later than the start of the 6th term of registration. Students who reclassify into the PhD program typically write the comprehensive examination with the cohort they have joined in the PhD program but may defer writing the exam into the following year.