Epidemiology Online FAQ

Thank you for your interest in our online program. Contact Samantha Payton for additional information.

1.     What is the degree plan?

The online MPH program in epidemiology follows the same degree plan as the in-person degree program. 

2.     Do I need to ever come to College Station?

Our program is administered completely online. You are never required to come to College Station.  Students are welcome to come to our campus at any time for a visit including in order to attend graduation. 

3.     Can I graduate from the program in two years? 

To graduate within two years (two fall semester, two spring semesters, and two summer semesters), you must: (1) be a full-time student; (2) successfully complete your courses each semester; and (3) take the courses as suggested by the department/academic adviser. If you choose to take other courses, two issues will impact when you will be able graduate: (1) many of our courses are offered only once a year and (2) many courses have prerequisites. Both of these issues need to be kept in mind when planning your timeline to graduation. We make no guarantees regarding a graduation date if you deviate from the suggested course sequence or are unable to complete successfully your courses each semester.

4.     What equipment do I need?

We require the following: (1) a reliable, high-speed internet connection; (2) a quality headset microphone; (3) a quality webcam; and (4) access to a scanner. Examples of possible products include the Logitech H540 or H390 headsets and the Logitech C615, C920, and BCC950 webcams.

5.     Can I be a part-time student? 

We understand students work and have families.  As such, other life demands may prohibit attending school on a full-time basis. We ask that you understand that part-time students may not be able to graduate during their preferred semester. Two issues impact when you take courses: (1) many of our courses are offered only once a year and (2) many courses have prerequisites. Both of these issues need to be kept in mind when planning your timeline to graduation. We make no guarantees regarding a graduation date.

6.     Why do I have to take a course on the Texas A&M University main campus?

You may need to complete one or more of your required courses online via the main campus since we do not offer all the required courses every semester. Courses our students have taken on the main campus mainly are the required statistics courses including the equivalent to Biostatistics I (STAT 651), Biostatistics II (STAT 652), and Categorical Data Analysis (STAT 659). Other online courses taken on the main campus are electives. To meet our requirement as an elective, courses taken on the main campus must be at the graduate level and relate to epidemiology, statistics, and/or public health in general. 

7.     What is the difference between an epidemiology content course and an elective?

An epidemiology content course is a course that focuses on a specific epidemiologic field such as social epidemiology, disaster epidemiology, injury epidemiology, etc. An elective is any course taught at the graduate level in our school (any department) or the main Texas A&M University campus that relates to epidemiology, biostatistics or general public health. An elective cannot be substituted as an epidemiology content course, but an epidemiology content course can be used as an elective.  

8.     How can I help myself to be successful in the program?

  • Be an active communicator. Email is our primary mode of communication. It is critical that you stay current with all email communication especially from your faculty adviser, department support staff (Samantha Payton), and course instructors. We strongly suggest checking your email more than once per day.
  • Be a mature learner by taking responsibility for your actions and learning. Turn in assignments on time. Do not expect any special treatment from our instructors. Instructors will only accept late work due to a serious reason such as the death of an immediate family member or a life threatening or otherwise major health diagnosis. Students who are active military personnel may be allowed to turn in work early or late provided that advanced notice is given to the instructor and instructor approval obtained.
  • Be a colleague. Online programs allow students to complete programs even if they are physically unable to come to College Station. However, online students can feel isolated since they do not interact with their colleagues in person. We strongly encourage students who feel isolated to reach out to their fellow students as well as instructors. Web chat and video chat applications such as Skype, FaceTime, google chat/hangouts, and Adobe Connect (as well as many others) are excellent tools for minimizing isolation and obtaining assistance when needed. 

9.     I am not doing well in one of my courses, what should I do? 

If you are not doing well in a course, speak with your adviser immediately. Your adviser will help you determine if you should stay in the course or withdraw from it. The deadline to withdraw is published in the academic calendar for each semester. You will not receive any financial refund if you withdraw prior to the deadline, but your grade point average will not suffer. 

10.  How can the department help me with my financial aid and payment issues?

Our department, including your adviser and Samantha Payton, does not assist with financial aid or other fiscal issues. These questions should be directed toward the student financial aid office.