McMaster University

McMaster University

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

2. What is taught in the GDCE program?

The program includes 4 consecutive courses:  Fundamentals of Health Research & Evaluation Methods; Introduction to Biostatistics; Introduction to Research Methods for Randomized Controlled Trials; Systematic Review Methods

3. What are the requirements for program admission?

    • Completion of a four-year honours undergraduate university (Bachelor’s) degree (or equivalent) and a B+ averagein 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 score, or other evidence. A minimum TOEFL (iBT) score of 92 (580 on the paper-based TEOFL test, or 237 on the computer-based TOEFL test) is needed for the Faculty of Health Sciences
    • 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.

4.What is the duration of the program?

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.

5. 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, among others. In each course, students are required to attend a weekly on-line synchronous tutorial session of one hour. Further activities include: preparing tutorials, reading recommended literature, participating in on-line discussions, performing assignments and writing research proposals.

6. What are the costs of the program?

The tuition fee for each course is approximately 3,650 CAD in addition to supplementary fees charged per course (approximately $60). Students should refer to the Office of Student Accounts and Cashiers (// for official fees. 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.

7. What is the difference between GDCE and the Health Research Methodology (HRM) program?

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 part-time on-line program, which is more flexible, resulting in a Graduate Diploma.

8. 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.

9. How do I apply for the GDCE program?

See our “How to Apply” page here:

You can submit your application using the following link for the online application system:


10. 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


11. What is the application deadline?

The application deadline for the academic year 2019-2020 is March 29th, 2019.


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


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