How the MAE Program works

Learning at work, from work and for work

During the MAE scholars spend the majority of their time in a field placement, typically a government health department or a research institute.  While in their placements scholars complete at least 4 useful and important research projects to meet the following competencies:

  • Response to an acute public health threat (usually an outbreak investigation)
  • Analysis of a public health data set
  • Epidemiological project
  • Evaluation or establishing a surveillance system

Learning in the field placements is supported by 3 coursework intensives at ANU (usually 3 weeks for the first course block followed by a further 2 x 2 week blocks) where scholars complete courses in outbreak investigation, public health surveillance, data analysis, applied research methods and issues in applied epidemiology.  Scholars are also required to complete other course requirements including teaching, writing a peer review paper and presenting their work at a national or international conference.

Scholars write up their projects as well as their other requirements into a thesis that is submitted for examination (including an oral viva) to be awarded the degree MPhil (App Epid). 

Field placements in Australia

The MAE is an on the job training program.  Therefore scholars spend the majority of their time (approximately 20 months of the 22 month degree) in their field placement and the majority of their learning occurs there. People interested in the MAE do not need to organise a field placement.

Applicants are matched with field placements through the MAE application process which usually opens around July each year. 

Each year a number of organisations, primarily health departments and research institutes offer to host an MAE scholar.  This commitment includes:

  • Funding the MAE scholar via scholarship
  • Releasing the scholar to attend coursework intensives at ANU (including covering accommodation and transport costs)
  • Providing a qualified field supervisor
  • Ensuring the student is able to meet the competencies required by the degree

There are generally between 12-15 field placements per year that offer to host an MAE scholar.

Previous field placements include:

  • The Commonwealth Department of Health
  • New South Wales Department of Health
  • Western Australian Communicable Diseases Control Directorate
  • Hunter New England Public Health Unit
  • National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance

Occasionally a field placement will sponsor an internal candidate (usually an existing staff member) through the MAE Program.  This needs to be discussed with and approved by the MAE Director.

Field Placements in ASEAN Countries

There are also a limited number of placements for scholars to be placed in health organisations in specified ASEAN countries under the ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellowship Program. Further  information is available here