The Master of Science degree is intended for students whose interest is in the academic subject matter of the field rather than in professional practice. It is a natural entry point for many students who will eventually continue for the PhD. Because of this orientation, the emphasis in the MS degree program is on building a strong foundation in a particular specialty field, along with the research methods important in that field. To reflect this research and academic orientation, the MS ordinarily requires the preparation of a thesis. The MS degrees in Biomedical Informatics and Epidemiology require 48 credit hours and the MS degree in Biostatistics requires 45 credit hours. The Master of Science in Environmental Public Health (offered jointly with the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program) requires 39 credit hours. There is no practice placement requirement for the MS.