Frequently asked questions

What is the degree called?

The degree is a Masters of Philosophy in Applied Epidemiology, which is abbreviated to MPhil (App Epid). The program is also known colloquially as the “MAE Program”.

How many students may be enrolled each year?

The program can accommodate 10 or more students each year. As the program is a ‘field based’ program it is vital that students have an established placement.

How is funding for the program organised?

The MPhil (App Epid) is a research degree, which means that some funding for the program comes from the Department of Education Workplace Relations. The funding for the majority of students comes from ‘field placements’, either as salary for employees or as a scholarship administered through ANU.

In 2019, for the first time, there will be a limited number of field placements where the scholarship is funded by the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) as part of the inaugural intake for the ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellowship Program.  In 2019 Australian scholars in these field placements will undertake their first year of the MAE in an Australian Field Placement, and the second year of the MAE in a field placement in an ASEAN country.  Scholars from ASEAN countries will undertake both years of their degree in field placements in their home country. More details about the ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellowship Program are available here

Are students required to pay for the program?

As the degree is a research degree, there are no university tuition fees associated with the degree. All domestic students enrolled in a postgraduate research program, such as a Master of Philosophy, are awarded an Australian Government Research Training Program (AGRTP) Fee Offset Scholarship. This is not to be confused with the tax-free scholarship or stipend that provides an income to the scholars. The AGRTP is funded by the Commonwealth government and provides support to universities for students completing a research degree program. The AGRTP Fee Offset Scholarship provides support for the research program up to a maximum of two years (full-time) for a Masters program. This means that domestic students are exempt from paying university tuition fees for this period of time. Research students are however required to pay the ANU services and amenities fee. Students are required to cover the costs of books, software and other personal costs associated with their studies. If you enrol in additional subjects/courses during your enrolment you may incur tuition fees.

Who is responsible for funding students?

Field placements will support scholars either as employees or by providing a tax-free scholarship to the student through the Australian National University.

How long is the degree?

The MPhil (App Epid) will take two years to complete fulltime, commencing in February of the 1st year with submission of thesis in November of the second year.

Is part-time study possible?

Yes, part-time study is possible for the MPhil (App Epid). Part-time study requires that the student would take 3-4 years to complete the degree. Part-time students would still need to have an established relationship with a ‘field placement’. Part-time enrolments will only be approved in special circumstances.

How does the application process work?

There is one intake of MAE students each year. Applications for the program typically open in July/August each year and interviews with shortlisted candidates are conducted in September/October. People interested in applying for the MPhil (App Epid) should review the application pack and apply online. For further information regarding the application process, contact the ANU College of Health & Medicine Higher Degree Student Administrator.

What do students need to do to pass the degree?

The major assessment component of the degree is a thesis outlining how they met core competencies for the degree.

In addition as part of the degree program, students will need to complete five coursework subjects. These include Outbreak Investigation, Public Health Surveillance, Research Design and Methods and Analysis of Public Health Data in the first year; and Issues in Applied Epidemiology in the second year.

What are the core competencies for the degree?

The four main competencies for the MPhil (App Epid) are: (1) investigate an outbreak or participate in a response to an acute health emergency; (2) establish or evaluate a public health surveillance system or program; (3) analyse a public health dataset; and (4) design and conduct an epidemiological study.

The four minor competences include: (1) present an epidemiological study at a national or international conference; (2) prepare a late draft of a peer reviewed paper for submission to a journal; (3) communicate epidemiological findings to a lay audience; and (4) participate as a teacher in an introductory epidemiology course.

How do I get a field placement?

There are two pathways to identifying a field placement within the MAE.  The first is where a specific individual is put forward by their workplace.  Usually this is a workplace where the individual is already an employee and their job allows them scope to complete the MAE requirements.  Potential scholars interested in pursuing this pathway should discuss this with their workplace and then jointly contact the Convenor of the MAE program. Potential scholars would still need to apply for the MAE during the call for applications during July-August.

The second pathway is where potential scholars apply as part of a general intake for students in July-August each year.  The applications will then be reviewed and ranked by a number of potential placements, who will indicate which students they are interested in. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by MAE program staff and potential field placements. Potential applicants in this category do not need to approach potential placements for the MAE program.

Is the degree open to overseas students?

The MAE is available to overseas students if they have a suitable field placement and are able to attend required coursework as part of the program.  However non-Australian citizens who do not hold Australian permanent residency will be liable for tuition fees for the course. New Zealand residents are considered domestic students and are not required to pay tuition fees.

Is a Masters of Public Health (MPH) a suitable pre-requisite for admission to the MAE program?

Applicants for the MAE program should have completed basic graduate level subjects on epidemiology and biostatistics. An MPH degree is a good qualification for people to become familiar with public health and epidemiology. Many MAE scholars have completed an MPH degree prior to enrolling in the MAE degree.

How much time is spent in the field placement and at teaching sessions?

MAE scholars spend the majority of their time in their field placement working on projects of relevance to the work of the placement organisation. During the course of the two years, MAE scholars come to ANU for intensive coursework teaching in Canberra for a total of 8 weeks during the two-years.

Can I enrol in a concurrent higher degree at another institution?

No. A student cannot be concurrently enrolled in another higher degree at another institution. If a student wants to enrol in another higher degree at another institution, they will have to forego the scholarship associated with the MAE program and give up their placement.

Maternity leave while undertaking the MAE program

While there is no provision for maternity leave within the scholarship, students may apply for a leave of absence from the program to cover maternity leave (maximum of one academic year in the first instance).