The South Africa Field Epidemiology Training Program (SAFETP), competency-based training program that was initiated in 2006 and developed as a collaboration between the South African National Department of Health (NDOH), the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to increase South Africa’s field epidemiological capacity. 

SAFETP uses an established applied epidemiology curriculum, providing an accredited Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Pretoria (UP) and a Masters in Science (MSc) from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) with mentored practical field experience.

Master of Science (MSc) in Field Epidemiology from either the University of Pretoria or the University of the Witwatersrand.

The growing field of public health and epidemiology in South Africa and globally brings exciting opportunities for graduates and professionals from health related fields to become competent in applied epidemiology of diseases and conditions relevant to South Africa. It also develops their leadership and management skills relevant to public health system strengthening and management. The training focuses on investigations of public health outbreaks (an acute health event or other epidemiological activity) and using epidemiology and biostatistics to conduct descriptive and analytical studies. 


This residency programme is a two-yearfull-time training, from which residents graduate with a Master of Science (MSc) in Field Epidemiology from either the University of Pretoria or the University of the Witwatersrand.

The 2021 cohort will begin in January 2021 and end in December 2022 and applicants are required to apply at both the University of Pretoria and the University of the Witwatersrand.

Work experience requirements

  • Professional experience in a health field or other fields relevant to health
  • Experience of working in the public health system is desirable 

Minimal Educational requirements (all degrees should be in health, laboratory or public health-related field from an accredited university):

  • A medical, veterinary or dentistry degree; OR
  • A doctorate degree in a medical/health-related field; OR
  • A master’s degree in a medical or health-related field; OR
  • An honour’s/bachelor’s degree with prior research experience


Please note that a B Tech degree does not fulfill the minimum educational requirements of the University of Pretoria, the University of the Witwatersrand and the SAFETP.

Key requirements:

Applicants must:

  • Be registered with their respective professional bodies
  • Be fluent in spoken and written English
  • Be computer literate and proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook for use in communication, word processing, analysis, presentation and report generation. Knowledge of a statistical package will be an advantage
  • Have a valid driver’s license and be willing to drive a hired car
  • Provide proof of current physical residential address for future purposes of Domicilium citandi et executandi.

If you meet all the requirements, download the two reference forms below


Before completing the online application, please make sure you understand and have the following handy:

  1. Please ensure that you have a valid/working email address
  2. All sections marked with a red asterisk (*) are compulsory and must be completed before proceeding to the next sections
  3. All files and documents to be uploaded should be saved using this naming format: InitialSurname_filename_SAFETP2021, e.g. PDlamini_CV_SAFETP2021
  4. Section 1 requires your personal and contact details. You will be required to upload a certified copy of your identification and name it appropriately (e.g. PDlamini_ID_SAFETP2021) and driver’s license (e.g. PDlamini_Driverslicense_SAFETP2021)
  5. Section 2 requests information about your educational background
  6. Section 3 requests information about your work experience
  7. Section 4 requests information about your language competency
  8. Section 5 requests information on your publications
  9. Section 7 requires you to upload all additional documents (please save files as prescribed, i.e. InitialSurname_filename_SAFETP2021)
  • Matric/senior certificate
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Academic transcript/s
  • Proof of online application from the university (University of Pretoria and the University of the Witwatersrand):

University of Pretoria: follow the process for applying online.

You should apply to the BSc (Honours) Epidemiology & Biostatistics (plan code:10244016) degree as you will complete a BSc Honours in year 1 followed by an MSc (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) in year 2. Applicants may be exempted from the BSc (Honours) Epidemiology and Biostatistics on application if they are able to show suitable motivation with evidence of prior learning to an intermediate level in Epidemiology and Biostatistics.

University of the Witwatersrand:  Evidence of application to study Field Epidemiology in the MSc Epidemiology Programme of the University of the Witwatersrand.  Wits postgraduate application forms can be accessed online at: Also visit the following page for the discipline-specific requirements:

Applicants should note to apply for accommodation if they will require it. The deadline for accommodation application is 30 October 2020

  • Two (2) completed reference forms
  1. Section 6 covers your statement of purpose and objectives.
  • You may draft these on MS Word, then copy and paste them onto the online form
  1. To complete your application, all the required supporting documents must be uploaded before the closing date
  2. Please note that no incomplete applications will be considered
  3. You are required to ensure that the information you submit is correct, otherwise, your application will not be considered
  4. Please note that your application will not be saved unless you proceed to the final screen and click on the “Submit” button right at the end of the application. Once you click on “Submit” your data will be saved, and a ‘resume’ link will be sent to the email address you would have provided at the beginning. Should you wish to update your application, you can do so by following the said ‘resume’ link, any time before the closing date.
  • Results of the National Bench Mark Test –please visit the website of the National Bench Mark Test via the website: and Tel: +27 (0)21 650 3523 for more information on dates and venues of the test. Please note that this is a University of Pretoria requirement and NOT a University of the Witwatersrand requirement.
  • Applicants with qualifications obtained outside of South Africa should have their original degrees accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

Please complete the online application on the link below






University of Pretoria – 31 July 2020

University of the Witwatersrand – 31 July 2020

SAFETP – 31 July 2020

It is your responsibility to ensure that your application has been received by SAFETP. Non-certified copies of qualifications will not be considered, neither will those received after the closing dates. Reference checks will be conducted. All applications that meet the above requirements and received before the closing date will be acknowledged and given a reference number.

Correspondence will be made with shortlisted candidates only. If you have not heard from SAFETP within 6 weeks of the final closing date, please consider your application to be unsuccessful. For further information, please visit the website:

Bursaries/stipends may be available for select South African applicants fulfilling predefined criteria. South African applicants working currently within the South African government at various levels, who plan to take study leave to participate in the programme and afterwards return to their workplace, must have written approval from their departments for the entire two years. NICD staff that have been funded and granted study leave will be required to continue working for the NICD for at least two (2) years after completing the MSc programme.

South Africans and permanent residents who are funded by their employers must ensure that this funding covers their salaries/stipends, as well as university registration and tuition fees for the two-year training period.

For applicants applying from other African countries – the eligibility requirements still apply, and the international applicant must have the required visa and permissions to study in South Africa.  The applicants must ensure that all the costs related to participation in SAFETP are fully covered for the 2 years of training – salaries/stipends, university registration and tuition fees, accommodation, travel and accommodation to investigate outbreaks – by their respective governments. 

For enquiries, or more information, please contact:

Eudie Hlabioa
Tel: +27 11 386 6542

University of Pretoria
Mrs. René de Waal
Email: or Mr Reuben Semenya at

University of the Witwatersrand
Lerato Podile
Tel: +27 11 717 2605