Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Graduate Diploma in Clinical Epidemiology (GDCE)?

GDCE is a completely online graduate diploma program, teaching students the most essential knowledge and skills related to clinical epidemiology

What is taught in the GDCE program?

Fundamentals of Health Research and Evaluation Methods; Introduction to Biostatistics; Introduction to Research Methods for Randomized Controlled Trials; Systematic Review Methods


For course descriptions click here

What are the requirements for program admission?
    • Completion of a four-year honours undergraduate university (Bachelor’s) degree (or equivalent) and a B+ average in the final year of undergraduate study.  On a percentage scale, the B+ average equates to a 75 to 79% (8.5/12.0 on the McMaster grade point average scale)
    • Applicants whose native language is not English must provide evidence of English proficiency. This can include an official copy of your TOEFL or IELTS score, or other evidence. A minimum TOEFL (iBT) score of 92 (580 on the paper-based TOEFL test, or 237 on the computer-based TOEFL test) is needed for the Faculty of Health Sciences. Students taking the IELTS are required to achieve a minimum score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 5.5 in each category.
    • Note that meeting the minimum admissions requirements does not guarantee admission into the GDCE.  Limited space will be available in the GDCE courses and the admissions process will be competitive.
What is the duration of the program? When can I start?

The program consists of four courses each offered in one term; one course in the Fall term (Sep-Dec), one course in the Winter term (Jan-Apr), one course in the Spring/Summer term (May-Aug), and the final course in the following Fall term (Sep-Dec). The courses are ideally taken consecutively without intermission, but can be taken over a longer term in consultation with the GDCE director. The total amount of time you will invest will be four terms, i.e. approximately 16 months. We have one intake in September each year.

How much time will I need to spend on studying in the GDCE program?

GDCE is a part-time program. It is estimated that students will spend around 10-15 hours per week on the program, although this may vary from person to person depending on factors such as your method of learning, writing skills and English proficiency.

In each course, students are required to attend a mandatory weekly on-line synchronous tutorial session of one hour. Students will need to attend at a fixed time each week to discuss content with a tutor and fellow students.

Further activities include: preparing tutorials, reading recommended literature, participating in online discussions, performing assignments, online quizzes and writing research proposals.

What are the costs of the program? Can I get funding?

The tuition fee for 2022-23 will be $16,044.68, charged at $4,011.17 per each of the four courses, in addition to supplementary fees charged per course (approx. $50).

Students should refer to the Registrar's office website ( for official fees. Fees are the same for domestic and international students. Students will be assessed tuition and supplemental fees. Note: students who fail to register on time may be charged late fees in addition to the individual course fee.


We do not currently offer any scholarships for our program.

Our program is a part time graduate diploma program, and as such is not eligible for OSAP or other Ontario government fee assistance programs. Some students have been funded by their employer or if international, by government programs in their home country.

Students in financial need can apply for bursaries through the university. More details can be found here:

What is the difference between GDCE and the Health Research Methodology (HRM) program? Can I transfer from GDCE to HRM?

In short, GDCE teaches the core aspects of the HRM program, without requirements for elective courses or thesis. HRM provides a broader perspective on health research and more emphasis on research experience, preparing students to become independent researchers. HRM is a full-time or part-time on-campus program with strict requirements for timelines, resulting in a Master’s Degree (MSc). GDCE is a course-based part-time online program, which is more flexible, resulting in a Graduate Diploma.


There is no direct transfer from GDCE to the HRM MSc program. All applicants to HRM must apply via the normal application process. However, if accepted into the HRM program midway through the GDCE program or after program completion, the HRM program allows transfer of course credit for up to two GDCE courses, with the agreement of the HRM Assistant Dean.

What does the GDCE diploma add with respect to professional prospects?

Students will obtain core knowledge and skills in clinical epidemiology, which includes an understanding of health research study designs, an ability to critically appraise the health research literature, comprehension of the basics of biostatistics, and the ability to apply evidence synthesis methods for health research. Students will obtain a skill set that is readily applicable to clinical or health policy settings.

How do I apply for the GDCE program?

See our “How to Apply” page here.

You can submit your application using the link for the online application system.

International Applicants- If English is not the applicant's native language, an official copy of the applicant's TOEFL score or IELTS test report form is required.

McMaster's TOEFL Institution code is 0936.

Students who have completed a post-secondary degree from a program where the language of instruction is English are not required to provide a TOEFL or IELTS score.

Minimum test scores required for Graduate study at McMaster are:

TOEFL 92 (iBT-Internet-based)

          580 (PBT -Paper-based)

          237 (CBT-Computer-based)

IELTS 6.5 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each category 

What is the application deadline?

Application for Fall 2022 is now closed. We will accept applications for Fall 2023 from January 15, 2023 with expected application deadline of April 30th, 2023.  Completed applications may be reviewed in batches throughout the admission cycle.

Who should I contact for more information or assistance with my application?


    For information about upcoming admissions webinars, please see our Events page. These are typically held twice between January and March.

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