Study the Language of Public Health
UVM’s online Certificate of Graduate Study in Epidemiology introduces students to the foundations and language of public health through the study of epidemiology.
Epidemiology is a basic science of public health used to study disease and health patterns, causes and effects within specific populations or communities. UVM’s Certificate of Graduate Study in Epidemiology is an 18-credit, online graduate program is a concise immersion into the field of epidemiology and quantitative population health science.
This one-year online program is a collaboration of the College of Medicine, Continuing and Distance Education, and the UVM Graduate College. Graduate students and professionals can take this as a stand-alone program or as part of a master’s, MD, or PhD program.
Leading the Way to Public Health Education
The focus of this program is on providing students with a framework for problem solving and critical thinking in analyzing disease and health-related conditions within a given population and includes disease outbreak investigation, prevention, and control; and applied research methods in public health.
Our program teaches you to:
- Define a population, especially in terms of disease risk
- Describe the different ways to express disease frequency in a given population
- Apply basic concepts of probability, random variation, and commonly used statistical distributions in data analysis.
- Understand the methods used in public health surveillance and disease outbreak investigation
- Evaluate, promote, and improve health across populations
- Explain barriers to public health and discuss health-promotion strategies
- Prepare for further graduate study or research in public health and related fields
Who Should Apply?
Our graduate-level program is open to anyone with a bachelor’s degree.
It is designed for:
- Medical and graduate students in health, nursing and medical science
- Healthcare practitioners trained in medicine, nursing or other healthcare professions
- Public health practitioners and researchers
- Non-clinical professionals working in public health, health care, and non-profit agencies
To be considered for admission, you will need:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- One semester of college biology or other science course
- One semester of college algebra, statistics, or a more advanced math course
- Résumé or CV
- Three letters of recommendation
- Statement of Purpose
- TOEFL/IELTS scores, required for international applicants, and in some cases, applicants whose native or first language is not English
- GRE is not required
All applications must be completed online through The University of Vermont Graduate College.
Three Ways to Apply
- APPLICANTS TO CERTIFICATE OF GRADUATE STUDY PROGRAMS ONLY:
Applicants seeking to enroll only in a Certificate of Graduate Study Program (and not to a graduate degree program) should follow regular online procedures for applying to the UVM Graduate College, described in the Graduate College Application Instructions.
- DUAL GRADUATE DEGREE / CERTIFICATE PROGRAM APPLICANTS:
Applicants who are applying at the same time for both a regular graduate degree program and also for a Certificate of Graduate Study at UVM should follow regular procedures for applying to the UVM Graduate College; see the Graduate College Application Instructions.
- CURRENT UVM DEGREE PROGRAM STUDENTS:
Students who are currently admitted and enrolled in master’s or doctoral degree programs at UVM who wish to apply for a Certificate of Graduate Study should complete the single-page Certificate of Graduate Study Short Form Application. In addition to the Short Form, you must also submit a brief statement explaining why you are interested in the Certificate program(s).
Students can transfer up to 3 credits of relevant UVM graduate coursework taken prior to matriculation into the Certificate of Graduate Study in Epidemiology, provided the grade received is a B or higher. The program director will determine whether the course is relevant. The grade will not transfer.
The Certificate of Graduate Study in Epidemiology is an 18-credit, online program that requires two courses in each of the core areas of Epidemiology and Public Health Biostatistics, and two electives. This assures a solid foundation in population health science while allowing students some flexibility to pursue their own areas of interest. Among the highlights:
- Two core content areas:
- Epidemiology (6 credits)
- Public Health Biostatistics (6 credits)
- Students choose two courses from topical electives, including:
- Public Health Policy (3 credits)
- Public Health Law and Ethics (3 credits)
- Improving Health of Patients and Populations (3 credits)
- Investigating Disease Outbreaks (3 credits)
- Public Health Surveillance (3 credits)
- Public Health Informatics (3 credits)
- One Health: Zoonoses (3 credits)
- Courses are taught by faculty experts from UVM’s College of Medicine, the Vermont Department of Health, and experts trained at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Individualized academic advising
- Courses offered during Fall, Spring and Summer terms to ensure that you can fit the program into your work or academic schedule.
Click here for a table showing all program requirements along with the routine schedule of course offerings and pre-requisites to earn the certificate.
Example Curriculum Sequence Maps:
- One Year Program: Students will be required to take 6 credits (2 courses) per semester for three semesters. Please note, starting in the Spring will require four semesters. Contact our student advisor, at 802-656-2085 for any questions.
- Two Year Program: Students will be need to take 3 credits (1 course) per semester for six semesters
PH302 Epidemiology 1 (Summer, Fall)
Epidemiology methods give us a framework in which we can order these complex relationships into information that can be used to improve population health. Students will learn how to define populations and estimate the distribution of health related conditions and their determinants. We will apply epidemiology methods to surveillance, screening and study design, and understand how to assess causality and control for factors that may mask our ability to find a relationship between an exposure and a health outcome.
PH307 Epidemiology 2 (Spring, Fall)
This course builds upon PH302 Epidemiology 1 which introduced students to the basic concepts of epidemiology. Epidemiology 2 allows a more in depth examination of epidemiologic methods and the application of those methods in carrying out various types of epidemiologic studies.
Prerequisite: PH302: Epidemiology 1, PH303: Biostatistics 1
PH303 Biostatistics 1 (Summer, Fall)
Includes biostatistics, research designs, and qualitative approaches with an emphasis on evaluating research articles in public health. The course is based on real world applied research needs and how those needs can best be met. Discussion and critiques of published articles, presentations by the instructor and working with example qualitative and quantitative data sets. The course will be divided into 12 modules. Requirements include critiques of articles and situations presented by the instructor, mandatory participation in chat/blog based discussions, and developing a research proposal for an applied research project.
PH395 Biostatistics 2 (Spring)
This is an advanced applied research methods course with the main goal of helping students understand and apply multivariate regression analyses, nonparametric methods, survival analysis and advanced concepts with confounding and effect modification. Emphasis is placed on the critical thinking that goes into using and interpreting data in public health applications.
Prerequisite: PH303: Biostatistics 1
*Please note this list is subject to change based upon instructional availability. The following courses are examples of electives that have been previously offered by the UVM Public Health program.
PH301 Public Health & Health Policy (Summer, Fall)
In the United States, we spend vast resources on health care and lag behind other developed countries in measures of health. Students will examine current health issues and barriers to improving health, as well as identify credible sources of health information to understand health topics such as preventing obesity, vaccines, global tobacco use, alcohol, environmental health topics, emerging infectious diseases, and access to health care. Students will learn about the compelling need for creative and multidisciplinary solutions, and how stronger policies to improve the health of the public might be accomplished.
PH310 Public Health Law and Ethics (Fall)
Public health law examines the government’s authority, at various jurisdictional levels, to improve the health of the general population within societal limits and norms. Public health ethics seek to understand and clarify principles and values that guide public health actions, offering a framework for making decisions and a means of justifying them.
PH315 Public Health Surveillance: Tracking Health Behaviors and Disease (Spring)
Surveillance of infectious and non-infectious diseases, as well as health behaviors and population characteristics, is fundamental to nearly all fields of modern public health practice. By definition, public health surveillance is the “ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of outcome-specific data for use in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice” (CDC/ATSDR). To understand the practice of surveillance, students will examine many examples of surveillance systems from the developed and developing world with emphasis on U.S. State and Federal systems.
Prerequisite: PH302 Epidemiology 1
PH318 Improving Health of Patients and Populations (Summer)
This course uses population health as a context to develop students’ knowledge and appreciation of the impact of chronic conditions and social determinants, including culture, on health, linking care of individual patients and populations. Students will discover how social determinants of health (related to “place”) impact the health of populations and individual patients. Finally, students will apply these principles to the specific chronic conditions prevalent in the population of individuals over the age of 65, and evidence-based strategies to prevent and manage disease in this population.
PH395 One Health: Zoonoses (Summer)
Zoonoses and vector-borne disease account for the majority of emerging and re-emerging diseases, and most bioterrorism agents are zoonotic. The role of other animals as reservoirs and transmitters of disease requires consideration of human, animal and environmental factors. In this course, students will examine the drivers that influence infection in animals and humans including: weather and climate, land use, biodiversity, poverty, globalization, domestication, population pressure, and anthropogenic change.
PH324 Public Health Informatics (Fall)
Public Health Informatics is an emerging field that seeks to employ information technology tools and methods in order to address public health challenges and improve public health practice. Because data is the currency of public health professionals, informatics is essential to successful and efficient completion of public health goals given its fundamental role in every step of the data life cycle: collection, storage, analysis, representation and dissemination.
PH325 Investigating Disease Outbreaks (Fall)
Field epidemiology is the term used for the investigation of outbreaks that are creating current, urgent health problems, and to inform the selection and implementation of appropriate interventions. In conducting such investigations, epidemiologists work with colleagues from a variety of disciplines (e.g., laboratory science, environmental health, communications, clinical medicine, governmental agencies). Students will gain insight to the importance of understanding outbreak investigation principles for health professionals working in these settings.
PH396 Climate Change and Human Health (Spring)
Following an introduction to climate science, this course explores the associated health risks, including respiratory disease, vector-borne disease, food-borne disease, malnutrition, mental health, and disaster-related illness. Students explore how these changing health risks vary by geography and socio-demographics resulting in differences in population vulnerabilities.
PH396 Epidemiology for Practice (Spring)
Epidemiology is the basic science of understanding disease and health at the population level. This course is designed to teach students basic concepts and terminology of epidemiology and how epidemiology is used in determining causes of disease, public health practice, and healthcare delivery. The focus is less on detailed mathematical analyses and more on applications of epidemiologic principles. This course is ideal for health administrators, health care and public health practitioners, and students seeking an introduction to epidemiology.
Jan Carney, MD, MPH
Associate Dean for Public Health and Professor of Medicine, UVM College of Medicine
Clinical Professor, Department of Medical Laboratory and Radiation Sciences, UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Education: AB, Middlebury College, 1976; MD, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 1981; residency and chief residency in internal medicine, University of Vermont/Medical Center; MPH Harvard School of Public Health,1987; board-certified in Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine
Dr. Carney served as Vermont’s commissioner of health from 1989 to 2003, for three gubernatorial administrations. During this time, she created and led the “Healthy Vermonters” initiative, credited by the Burlington Free Press with helping “make Vermonters among the healthiest of Americans and certainly among the best educated about the condition of public health in their state.” Dr. Carney is an experienced teacher, practitioner, and leader in public health. She was Vermont’s first recipient of a Local Legend Award, a collaboration between the American Medical Women’s Association and the National Library of Medicine to highlight the contribution of women physicians around the country. Recipients are nominated by members of Congress.
Lynn Zanardi Blevins, MD, MPH
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, UVM College of Medicine
Education: BA, Drew University, 1991; MD, Medical College of Virginia 1995; MPH, Boston University, 1998
Dr. Blevins is a medical epidemiologist interested in human health within the context of broad environmental factors, including infectious agents. After completing a residency in preventive medicine, she trained at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer. Dr. Blevins has worked in the areas of infectious diseases, immunizations, environmental health, and emergency preparedness. Her areas of interest include how food systems affect public health and the relationship between the health of humans, animals, and the environment (One Health).
Thomas Delaney, PhD
Research Associate Professor of Pediatrics, UVM College of Medicine
Education: BA, Rutgers University-New Brunswick/Piscataway, 1995; MA, University of Denver, 1999; PhD, University of Denver, 2004
Since 2002, Dr. Delaney has been an applied researcher with the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program, where he has worked on a wide range of topics, including evaluating quality improvement efforts in the healthcare system. Currently, Dr. Delaney is funded by grants from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to evaluate the effectiveness Vermont’s mental health system in serving young adults who are experiencing mental health and related challenges and to study the efficacy of a treatment approach for children and families who have experienced trauma.
Heidi Gortakowski, MPH
Clinical Instructor, Department of Medicine, UVM College of Medicine
Education:BA in Science, Technology & Society, Vassar College; MPH in Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health
After completing her degree in public health, Heidi Gortakowski accepted an applied epidemiology fellowship with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In addition to her work in HIV surveillance, Heidi focused on using GIS to map the prevalence and burden of HIV in New York. She is currently an epidemiologist at the Vermont Department of Health working in performance management. As the performance improvement manager, she oversees performance accountability and leads the department in its efforts to build infrastructure that supports the effective use of data to drive governmental decision making. Heidi sits on the advisory board for the CSTE Applied Epidemiology Fellowship and has contributed to peer-reviewed literature in the fields of HIV, asthma, physical activity, tobacco, and workforce development.
Valerie Harder, PhD, MHS
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UVM College of Medicine
Education: BS, Northwestern University, 1999; MHS, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2005; PhD, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 2008
Linda L. Roberts, MHS
Education Instructor,Department of Medicine UVM College of Medicine
Education:BS in Nursing, Wayne State University, 1984; MHS in Genetic Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Heath, 2002
Linda Roberts is an epidemiologist with experience in health care delivery, the pharmaceutical and genetic testing industries, community non-profit organizations, and academics. She has research experience in applied genetic epidemiology, clinical trials, biomarkers of inflammation, and the epidemiology of sleep disorders and cardiovascular disease. Linda has also been involved in national and international genetics educational initiatives through the American Society of Human Genetics and as co-chair of the Education Working Group’s Human Variome Project, an international consortium of genetics professionals that aims to apply genetic variation data for clinical benefit. Since 2009, she has worked with local community youth coalitions on projects studying and designing interventions for youth alcohol and substance abuse prevention. Since 2007, she has taught research methods to undergraduate students in allied health sciences and epidemiologic methods to nursing and medical students at the University of Vermont.
William Wargo, Esq.
Education:AB, Columbia College; MSW, Hunter School of Social Work; JD, New York University School of Law
William Wargo served as the Vermont Health Department’s legal counsel for more than 15 years. Before that, he worked as a social worker in New York City, assisting foster children, counseling disabled veterans and initiating a creative writing group for them, providing individual and family counseling to recovering drug addicts, working with Bowery alcoholics and beginning a softball league for them, and providing emergency therapeutic services for people in crisis. As a lawyer, he has managed two legal services offices (one providing services to low-income people on New York City’s Lower East Side and the other providing services to prisoners) and served as the Winooski city attorney for 10 years. He has taught law for about 20 years at St. Michael’s College and also has taught courses on many subjects, including constitutional law, Shakespeare, sociology, and Vermont history, at Community College of Vermont.
Vicki Hart, PhD
Clinical instructor, UVM College of Medicine
Owner and Principal, Hart DataWorks LLC
Education: BS in Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University, 1999; MS in Biostatistics, University of Vermont, 2010; PhD in Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2014.
Dr. Hart is an epidemiologist and biostatistician interested in using data and statistical analysis to support healthcare and other organizations in improving public health in our communities. Dr. Hart’s academic research focused on risk factors associated with breast cancer development and quality of life after treatment for non-invasive breast cancer. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Hart worked in aerospace manufacturing engineering and operations management. This applied background informs her focus on the application of epidemiologic and biostatistics methods in practice.
Susan E. Schoenfeld, MSPH
Instructor, Department of Medicine, UVM College of Medicine
Education: BS Education, University of Vermont, 1975; AD Nursing, University of Vermont, 1982; Master of Science, Public Health, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1989.
Susan Schoenfeld worked at the Vermont Department of Health for 25 years, serving as the Epidemiology Field Unit Chief and Deputy State Epidemiologist. Her job responsibilities included managing Vermont’s TB Program (2005-2014) and working as the State’s Refugee Health Coordinator (2008-2014), bioterrorism preparedness planning, and coordinating Vermont’s participation in the US-Canada Eastern Border Health Initiative. Susan retired from the Health Department in 2014. Since then, she has worked in West Africa as a CDC contractor (Guinea and Liberia spring 2015; Guinea, Spring 2016), with work responsibilities including Ebola surveillance and response to measles and polio outbreaks. She teaches Investigating Disease Outbreaks.
Abigail Crocker, PhD
Research Asssistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Education: BA, McGill University, 1998; MS Biostatistics, University of Vermont, 2004; PhD Clinical and Translational Sciences, University of Vermont, 2013
Tuition and Financial Aid
Tuition and fee information associated with the Public Health programs are available at the Student Financial Services (SFS) site:
Federal or institutional financial aid is not available for students enrolled solely in a certificate program. The SFS website includes details about other potential financing options for the certificate program.
How long does it take to complete the Certificate?
This is an 18-credit program designed to be completed in one year, over three semesters. You can opt to take courses at your own pace, but you must complete the program within five years.
Who should apply?
The program is designed for medical and graduate students, health practitioners, public health professionals, researchers, and others who wish to increase their knowledge in the vital field of public health. It also prepares graduates for advanced study at the master’s and doctoral levels.
Can I start the program anytime?
Courses are offered during the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. In order to begin, prospective students must complete the formal application process.