Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The doctoral program in Epidemiology prepares individuals for teaching and research in academic institutions, and for positions of professional leadership in health and health-related agencies where research is an important function.

Doctoral applicants generally have backgrounds in the natural, social or behavioral sciences; and often have demonstrated basic research competency. Preference is given to candidates with work experience in epidemiology, but other outstanding individuals are accepted. Each applicant should submit a statement of interest, provide detailed information on his/her background and competencies, and indicate areas of preferred major and minor concentration.

Students entering the program without adequate undergraduate training in the biological sciences will be required to remedy this deficiency by taking two undergraduate courses in physiology, pathology, anatomy, genetics or other suitable biological courses. The student should only register for courses approved by the faculty of the epidemiology program. The credit earned for these undergraduate courses, or a course taken to provide a satisfactory introduction to public health core areas, will not be counted toward the 72 graduate credits required for the doctoral degree. Students who are required to remedy this undergraduate deficiency should consult with their faculty advisor prior to registering for specific courses.

Written qualifying examinations in the major and minor areas are taken at the completion of course work. A subsequent oral examination based on the student’s dissertation proposal qualifies the student to begin the dissertation.

Applicants may enter the doctoral program in one of two ways:

  1. Applicants who have completed a master's degree or other advanced degree with backgrounds in the natural, social or behavioral sciences may be admitted directly into the doctoral program. These applicants usually have demonstrated basic research competency through a required thesis or its equivalent. Preference is given to candidates with work experience in epidemiology, but other outstanding individuals are accepted. Each applicant should submit a statement of interest, provide detailed information on his/her background and competencies, and indicate areas of preferred major and minor concentration. A candidate, entering with a satisfactory background without curricular deficiencies, can expect to take two years for course work and one to two additional years for completion of the dissertation. Students with a prior master’s degree may waive up to one half of the 24 epidemiology and 24 minor course credits. This must be done in consultation with the epidemiology academic advisor and be approved by the Graduate Program Director. Students are responsible in the comprehensive exam for the material in the waived courses.
     
  2. Applicants who have completed a four year bachelor’s degree in the natural, social or behavioral sciences, but have not completed a master’s degree, may apply to the master's/doctoral program in epidemiology. Students entering directly from a bachelor’s degree program will be evaluated by the epidemiology faculty after their first year of full-time graduate study. Students who demonstrate exceptional work in their courses in epidemiology, biostatistics and other areas of public health during their first year of study will be officially admitted into the doctoral degree program. Students who are not officially admitted into the doctoral program will be allowed to complete the remaining course work and a thesis leading to the Master of Science degree.