Master of Philosophy in Applied Epidemiology(MAE)

Degree overview

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Applied Epidemiology, also known as the MAE program, is a 22-month program that trains the public health leaders of the future. Through the MAE program, scholars undertake a work placement, a short period of intensive coursework, and complete a research thesis.

The MAE program is Australia’s only Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) and is accredited by and part of the international network of Field Training Programs in Epidemiology & Public Health Interventions Network (TEPHINET). The MAE aims to build a highly skilled epidemiology workforce and strengthen capacity to prepare for, protect from, and respond to communicable disease and other health threats in Australia and our region. Graduates of the MAE have gone onto hold senior positions in health departments in Australia and work for international organisations such as the World Health Organization and Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

The National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health has run the MAE program since 1991. The program has been extremely successful, producing over 240 graduates, who have each investigated at least one outbreak, established or evaluated a surveillance system and conducted an impactful epidemiological research study. The MAE is committed to supporting First Nations Scholars. Fifteen per cent of graduates are Aboriginal.

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What you'll learn

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 four useful and important research projects under supervision of field and academic supervisors to meet the following competencies:

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

Learning in the field placements is supported by three coursework intensives at ANU (usually three weeks) 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 MPhil degree.

The Master of Philosophy requires the completion of 30 units of coursework.

Download the Master of Applied Epidemiology flyer (PDF, 403KB).

Field placements

In Australia

MAE scholars receive on the job training in a field placement, typically a government health department or a research institute.
Read more about placements in Australia.

Student experience

Graduate profile: Srean Chhim

Hear from MAE graduate Srean Chhim about his experience in studying the ANU Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Applied Epidemiology.

MAE graduate Celeste Marsh shares her experience with the program

Graduate profile: Celeste Marsh

Hear from MAE graduate Celeste Marsh about her experience in studying the ANU Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Applied Epidemiology.

Scholar Profile: Dr Kushani Marshall

Dr Kushani Marshall, MAE 2019 scholar, reflects on her experience in the MAE Program

First Nations and the Master of Applied Epidemiology Program (MAE)

Hear from some of our First Nations graduates

Dr Jill Guthrie leads a discussion with First Nations Alumni Jocelyn Jones, Bobby Maher, Tamara Riley and Roxanne Jones about their experiences on the MAE Program.

Meet some of your teachers

Tony Stewart (MAE Director)

Tony Stewart is the MAE Director. He graduated as part of the first cohort (1991-1993) and has been involved with the program and the global FETP ever since. After graduating from the MAE he worked with the Burnet Institute based in Indonesia on immunisation and maternal and child health projects; and with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community on pandemic preparedness and vector borne diseases. From 2014-2020 he worked with WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and the WHO Health Emergencies Program, on responses to Ebola in West Africa, Zika, the Rohingya refugee crises in Cox Bazar and other events.

Professor test

Dr Emma Field

Emma is the National Convenor of the MAE. Emma's areas of expertise include Health Security and Health Systems. Emma has worked extensively in the Asia Pacific Region including the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. Emma co-ordinates the ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellowship Program and convenes Public Health Surveillance for the MAE Program.

Dr Davoud Pourmarzi

Davoud is the MAE Curriculum Convenor. He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has experience teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Dr Rezanur Rahaman

Rezanur is a medical doctor with specialist training in field epidemiology, international public health, and infectious disease and environmental epidemiology. His research interests include infectious diseases, environmental epidemiology and climate change, zoonosis prevention and a One Health approach.

Dr Florian Vogt

Dr Florian Vogt is a Research Fellow with the MAE. His research experience and interests include operational research in health emergencies and humanitarian settings, field epidemiology and outbreak response, and neglected tropical diseases.

Dr Sam Colquhoun

Sam is an epidemiologist with 20 years field experience in operational research and public health programs in resource poor countries. She has a strong interest in MCH, infectious diseases, NCD and vaccine research as well as health system strengthening in primary health care.

Anna-Jane Glynn-Robinson

Anna is an epidemiologist with experience working for the Australian Government and the World Health Organization. She has a strong interest in vaccine preventable diseases, molecular epidemiology and health diplomacy.

Amy Parry

Amy is the International Convenor of the MAE. She is an international field epidemiologist with experience in both acute and protracted humanitarian response settings. Amy is a graduate and staff member of the Australian FETP, with a background in anthropology and public health. Prior to coming back to Australia to commence her PhD focusing on epidemiology emergency response workforce strengthening, she worked in Cambodia with the WHO Health Emergencies Program (2013-2018), and in the Thai-Burma border refugee camps (2005-2008)

Laura Vitler

Laura is the Senior Administrator/MAE Student Officer for the MAE. Laura has extensive administrative experience working in the Australian Government, and the ANU. She worked many years at the John Curtin School of Medical Research and the Director’s Office of the then Research School of Population Health (now NCEPH). She made a move to the NCEPH Student Office looking after HDR and coursework students. Laura brings all this experience to the MAE.

Fang (Abigail) Fang

Fang (Abigail) Fang is a communications specialist from China with a background in International Relations. Abigail is currently serving as ASEAN administrator of the MAE program. She is responsible for helping the program run its international projects smoothly.

Career outcomes

Career options following the Master of Philosophy in Applied Epidemiology include many opportunities in addition to an academic path.

Alumni from the MAE have gone on to careers in academia, government, industry and the media.

The Australian National University has been ranked as the top university for graduate employability in Australia in the Global University Employability Ranking 2020. As a student at ANU, you gain access to the ANU CareerHub – an online career development and employability tool that includes a jobs board and careers resources. You also have access to drop-in chats with a career consultant and to attend our career fairs to meet potential employers.

Fees & scholarships

Tuition fees: Tuition fees

The Australian Government RTP Domestic Fee Offset Scholarship covers tuition fees for Australian citizens and permanent residents for up to four years. For International applicants the annual indicative fee is  $48,000. 

Scholarships: Scholarships

The Master of Philosophy in Applied Epidemiology (MAE) Scholarship provides funding for students in Australian placements and is supplied via the field placements as a tax-free full time scholarship of $60,000 per annum in year 2023 with 3.5% increase in year 2024 on a pro rata basis of scholarship duration.

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    How to apply

    Applications for the 2023 intake are now closed. If you would like to be notified when applications open for the next intake please email mae.nceph@anu.edu.au.

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