PhD in Epidemiology

The doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) in epidemiology prepares students for careers in research, teaching, and consulting. Students develop research and teaching skills in epidemiology through coursework and practice opportunities. The curriculum provides rigorous and comprehensive training in epidemiologic methods for clinical and population-based research including study design, statistical analysis and interpretation of results, as well as research areas of focus for epidemiologic research including chronic diseases, infectious diseases, injury, and gene by environment interactions. The program’s etiologic orientation is based on the premise that knowledge of genetic, physiologic, behavioral, and environmental factors contribute to understanding the underlying causes of complex human diseases needed to develop and evaluate effective preventive and treatment measures. The first two years of the program emphasize research and statistical methods complemented by theoretical and process-oriented coursework relevant to epidemiology. The last two years will largely be dedicated to dissertation research. 

Graduates of the Ph.D. in epidemiology program typically work as faculty members in academic institutions; scientists in research centers, e.g., the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the pharmaceutical industry; or may assume leadership positions in state or federal health agencies (such as CDC, Food and Drug Administration [FDA], and the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]). 

Students who have not earned a relevant master’s or professional degree may still be admitted to the doctoral program. However, these students are required to complete basic public health/epidemiology courses in the School of Public Health. These students should still apply directly to the Ph.D. program.