Skip to main content

About Us: Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Picture of Professor Amir Sapkota

On behalf of the faculty, staff and students, I am delighted to welcome you to the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the UMD School of Public Health!

This is an incredible time to be involved in the field of Public Health, particularly Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Problems facing public health today are of paramount importance – from issues related to social justice, climate justice, and the ever increasing burden of chronic diseases, to responding to the global pandemic and the existential threats posed by climate change. Training in the fields of Epidemiology and Biostatistics will prepare you to tackle these unprecedented public health challenges of our time, and there is no better place to train than the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UMD-SPH.

Faculty in our department are working to understand and improve the health of populations through research, teaching and community outreach. Our faculty are actively engaged in cutting-edge research to address critical public health problems here at home and across the globe. They not only bring the lessons from these research activities to enrich your classroom experience, but also actively provide you with the opportunity to participate as student investigators. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the exciting research activities of our faculty members and contact them as you are planning your graduate school

Our mission is to train the next generation of epidemiologists and biostatisticians in rigorous epidemiology and biostatistics methods and their applications to address real-life public health problems. The department offers Master of Public Health (MPH), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in Epidemiology, an MPH degree in Biostatistics, and a PhD degree in Mathematical Statistics with a concentration in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics. The department also offers certificate programs in epidemiology and biostatistics. Besides our department’s small student to faculty ratio and exceptional faculty members, we are located within the DC Capital Beltway. This provides unparalleled opportunities for students to collaborate or participate in internship activities with investigators at numerous federal agencies, non-profits, for-profit companies and international organizations. There are so many reasons to join our thriving Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics here at UMD-SPH!

We look forward to meeting you and helping you embark on your journey!

Amir Sapkota, PhD
Chair and Professor

health data visualization

What is Epidemiology and Biostatistics?

Epidemiology and biostatistics are complementary but distinct disciplines. Epidemiology is the study of trends, patterns and causes related to disease or health events in populations. It explores how diseases affect and spread in populations and investigate the social determinants of health. Biostatistics provides essential analytical methods that are needed to assess the impact of disease and health programs. Through a combination of statistics, probability, and computing skills, biostatisticians are a key component to biomedical research and public health practice. Students will acquire the expertise necessary to design and implement basic and applied research in disease etiology, control and prevention. After graduating from our programs, students will be well prepared to conduct epidemiologic research, analyze data, interpret results and disseminate findings in academic, government, private sector and community health settings.

 Job Prospects for Epidemiologists and Biostatisticians in the Next Decade (2022-2032)

According to the Department of Labor statistics the job prospects for epidemiologists and biostatisticians are slated to grow 27% and 30% from 2022 to 2032 with median annual salaries of $78,520 and $99,960 (in 2022 dollars). During the next decade, an average of 800 epidemiology and 10,600 biostatistician openings are projected annually. These rapid rates of job growth, which are  significantly faster than average for all occupations, are due to retiring of a large proportion of current epidemiologists and biostatisticians as well as changes in the public health work force after COVID-19 pandemic. These national trends highlight the urgency needed to train epidemiologists and biostatisticians to work at state and local governmental public health agencies. The current workforce shrinkage ‘has the potential to jeopardize the safety, security, and economic prosperity of the US’ (p.346).



1.   Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Epidemiologists

2.   Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Mathematicians and Statisticians

3.   Robins M, Leider JP, Schaffer K, Gambatese M, Allen E, Hare Bork R. PH WINS 2021 methodology report. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2023;29(Suppl 1):S35–44.

4.   Leider JP, Castrucci BC, Robins M, Hare Bork R, Fraser MR, Savoia E, Piltch-Loeb R, Koh HK. The Exodus Of State And Local Public Health Employees: Separations Started Before And Continued Throughout COVID-19. Health Aff (Millwood). 2023 Mar;42(3):338-348.