The MS in Population Health Sciences curriculum provides a thorough foundation in population health and health analytics while focusing on specific methods, topic areas, and professional development classes to help reach the student’s career goals. Courses are much more than lectures, featuring team-based case studies, collaborative research projects, and hands-on experience with analytics software and study design. Students are taught by the department’s faculty, who are world-renowned researchers in implementation science, health economics, and patient-centered outcomes. In their final year, students complete a hands-on capstone internship, culminating in a final paper or thesis.

Full course descriptions are available.


Upon graduating with a Master of Science in Population Health, students will have mastered the following skills for a successful career:

  • Understand the organization, structure, and function of healthcare systems across state, national, and international settings.
  • Master the concepts of health as a product of factors operating at multiple levels in dynamic ways over time.
  • Discuss health and illness from a population perspective.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with foundational concepts in population health sciences.
  • Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of research designs.
  • Show introductory knowledge on a range of population health sciences disciplines.
  • Selects appropriate interventional, observational, or qualitative study designs.
  • Interpret research results of data analysis for population health sciences research, policy, or practice.
  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative data using appropriate techniques and software.
  • Understand the basic analytical principles and their practical importance.
  • Understand the value of data quality, data management, and reproducibility.
  • Know how to assemble secondary data from existing public and private sources.
  • Understand appropriate methods for data presentation.
  • Ensure ethical and responsible conduct of research.
  • Demonstrate an ability to develop an applied project.
  • Design a population-based policy, program, or project.
  • Explain basic principles and tools of resource management.
  • General understanding of managing/budgeting projects.
  • Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue.
  • Understand the basics of the policymaking process.
  • Discuss and assess multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence.
  • Propose strategies to identify and engage stakeholders in coalitions and partnerships.
  • Evaluate policies for their impact on population health.
  • Demonstrate an ability to equitably collaborate with multiple stakeholders.
  • Apply principles of leadership, governance, and management.
  • Work collaboratively in teams across disciplines.
  • Communicate with practitioners, policymakers, the media, and other relevant audiences about findings and significance of research.
  • Summarizes and communicates the importance of a body of research for relevant audiences.
  • Understands how to engage networks, knowledge brokers, social media, and other avenues to disseminate research.
  • Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors.

Professional Development

The master’s program also includes professional development seminars that give students essential skills with which to navigate the job market:

  • Professional presence
  • Networking and communication
  • Informational interviews
  • Leadership and professional adaptability
  • Employer expectations
  • Professional digital presence
  • Work/life balance
  • Teamwork

The Duke University Student Affairs Office hosts career fairs throughout the academic year. The Graduate School offers resources to build a personal brand and to manage career decisions:

Other Duke resources specifically for master’s candidates include: