Australia Master of Philosophy (Applied Epidemiology)

Program overview

The MPhil (Applied Epidemiology), known as the MAE Program, is Australia’s only Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP), and achieved TEPHINET accreditation in 2018. The MAE Program is a two-year advanced FETP combined with an applied research degree that trains the public health leaders of the future. Through the MAE Program, scholars undertake a 20-month field placement, eight weeks of intensive coursework, and complete an applied research thesis.

The MAE Program aims to build a highly skilled epidemiology workforce and strengthen capacity to prepare, protect, and respond to communicable disease and other health threats in Australia and our region. The National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health (NCEPH) at the Australian National University (ANU) has run the MAE Program since 1991, and 244 individuals have graduated since that time.

MAE scholars spend the majority of their time in a field placement, typically in a state, territory, or federal government health department, or a public health research institute. While in their field placements, MAE scholars complete at least four useful and important applied research projects to meet the core competencies of outbreak investigation, public health surveillance, epidemiological study and an analysis of a public health dataset.

Learning in the field placements is supported by three coursework intensives at ANU (total of eight weeks) where MAE scholars complete relevant coursework. MAE scholars are also required to complete other course requirements including teaching, writing a peer-reviewed paper and presenting their work at a national or international conference.


MAE scholars have investigated hundreds of outbreaks and established or evaluated many surveillance systems, including the national notifiable disease surveillance system. MAE scholars make up a key workforce for large-scale infectious disease events, such as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ebola virus in 2014, pandemic (H1N1) influenza in 2009, and SARS in 2002-2003. The graduates are also a critical resource in meeting Australia’s obligations under the International Health Regulations (IHR). MAE graduates have made significant contributions to disease control and prevention, both in Australia and overseas and have risen to be leaders in the field, taking up senior positions in national and international organizations, such as federal and state and territory departments of health, schools of public health at various universities, the World Health Organization (WHO), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The MAE Program is committed to supporting First Nations MAE Scholars. Fifteen percent of graduates are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

In 2019, the MAE program, in partnership with the Australian Government Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, launched the ASEAN-Australia Health Security Fellowship program. Fellows from ASEAN countries undertake the MAE at ANU with a field placement in their home country, fostering relationships and building capability in the region.