For detailed information about our PhD program, including advising, program requirements, and dissertation, please consult the Department of Epidemiology Doctoral Guidelines.


The goal of the PhD program in epidemiology is to train students for future careers as research epidemiologists in academic, not-for-profit, governmental, and private sector settings.

Upon completion of the PhD, students will be able to identify important public health issues that merit epidemiologic study and conduct independent, scholarly research that advances knowledge about the causes, prevention, and amelioration of human disease.

The successful PhD graduate will be prepared to teach graduate students and health professionals in academic and other settings and to work collaboratively with health professionals in other disciplines on research and applied projects that include epidemiologic elements.

Doctoral Dissertation

Doctoral students are required to complete and defend a dissertation to be awarded the PhD. After completing their qualifying exams, students identify a topic and a dissertation sponsor, who then appoints other members of the dissertation committee.

The dissertation committee usually consists of the sponsor, a chair, and a second reader all in the Epidemiology Department, as well as two other members extraneous to the Department. Working closely with their sponsors, students develop and defend a research proposal first to their committee and then at a public seminar.

Having successfully met these challenges, the students complete a literature review relevant to their specific aims, undertake the appropriate analyses, and usually complete the dissertation in the form of at least two empirical and publishable papers with associated introductions and appendices. They defend the final dissertation before their committee in closed session. 

Doctoral Required Courses

Core Methods Sequence 

  • P6400 Epi I: Principles of Epidemiology *
  • P8438 Epi II: Design and Conduct of Observational Epidemiology * 
  • P8400 Epi III: Applied Epidemiologic Analysis  *
  • P9400 Epi IV: Critical Thinking in Epidemiology
  • P9485 Epi V: Concepts in Causal Inference
  • P9487 Epi VI: Advanced Techniques in Epidemiologic Methods 
  • Core Skills Sequence 
  • P8483 Applications of Epidemiologic Research Methods I  *
  • P9489 Applications of Epidemiologic Research Methods II
  • P9494 Publications, Presentations, and Grants
  • P9405 History of Epidemiology
  • P9410 Biology and Physiology for Epidemiologists

*Master's level course

Admissions Information

Deadline for applications is December 1.