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Advice on How to Optimize Your Application Package for the MSc in Epidemiology

Please refer to the following information to help you better prepare your application to the program.

Academic performance

Students accepted into the program typically exceed the minimum required grade point average (GPA) required to apply to the program. Strong grades in relevant methods and statistics related courses are particularly valued. Consider taking an extra course to bolster your GPA if you are concerned about this feature of your dossier.

Letter of intent

We encourage applicants to provide a clear and concise statement about how their interests and/professional goals align with the intent of the program or areas of research inquiry of one or more of the faculty.

It may be helpful to articulate how previous experience (e.g. academic, volunteer, or work background) aligns with your interest in the program; it allows the committee to better assess the fit and match between the candidate and what our program can offer.

We strongly recommend that your letter includes specific details about the following:

  • The reason for your interest in the MSc in Epidemiology program at the University of Ottawa
  • How has previous experience prepared you for the MSc Epidemiology Program
  • Your career goals
  • Specific areas of research that are of interest to you
  • Preferred research supervisors in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health. If you have spoken to a potential supervisor, it is recommended to mention this in your letter, particularly if they have agreed to supervise you.
  • If you have taken courses in epidemiology and/or statistics, it is helpful to mention this in your letter.

Fit of the candidate’s undergraduate or professional degree to the program

There is no single preferred undergraduate or professional degree from which we recruit candidates. If your academic training is in a completely different field, candidates are encouraged to articulate in the Letter of Intent what has brought them to the field of Epidemiology and why they are a good fit for the program.

Specific evidence of competency in an undergraduate (or equivalent) course in statistics, biostatistics, epidemiology, health methods, etc.

Documented evidence of successful undergraduate training in research methods, epidemiology, biostatistics, or statistics is a requirement. Candidates are encouraged to articulate these achievements explicitly in their letter of intent.


Experience can be important too. Candidates should identify any scholarly activities they have accomplished such as poster presentations, abstracts submissions, paid or volunteer work with a professor’s research project, publications, and the like. Consider what opportunities you can explore with academics in your jurisdiction.

Letters of reference

Letters of reference are required. Letters from professors with whom candidates have had interactions and a relationship are preferred (e.g. undergraduate thesis supervisor, professors whom you have worked for or volunteered with). Letters from teaching or research assistants are generally less convincing than letters from professors.

Letters from employers who are in a related field to the program can also be good choices. Letters from family, friends, or employers in a completely unrelated field are less convincing and relevant.

Language proficiency

If your first language is neither English nor French, you must provide proof of proficiency in the language of instruction for your program by submitting a test score from one of the certified language tests.

Learn more about required language test results.