Graduate Academic Programs

Doctoral Degree Program (PhD)

Epidemiology Major

Description of Program

For each degree program and area of specialization within each program in a school of public health, there shall be clearly stated competencies that guide the development of educational programs. Competencies define what a successful learner should know and be able to do upon completion of a particular program or course of study (CEPH, 2005, p13). To graduate, a student in the Ph.D. in Epidemiology must demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of basic and advanced concepts of epidemiology.
  • Apply basic and advanced principles of epidemiology to answering research questions.
  • Comprehend basic ethical and legal principles pertaining to the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of epidemiologic data.
  • Exhibit proficiency in advanced analytic techniques.
  • Apply advanced quantitative methods to study the interaction of human behavior, population characteristics and the physical environment.
  • Explain the critical differences between epidemiologic descriptive and analytic study designs, the measures that can be estimated from each, and their strengths and limitations.
  • Describe how to select an appropriate study design for a specific research question or health problem.
  • Evaluate the evidence in favor of and against the likelihood that an observed association in epidemiologic studies is causal using a set of criteria.
  • Define the concept of the multifactorial nature of disease.
  • Translate epidemiologic data into practice and program recommendations.
  • Exhibit proficiency in grant-writing and protocol development and excellence in scientific writing.
  • Conduct a systematic critical assessment of published epidemiological and clinical studies and present these findings to a variety of audiences.
Degree Requirements

Requirements for this degree are prescribed by an advisory committee for each individual student. Common requirement components include:

  • Research Skills – Typically 9 credits of course work providing required skills to conduct research, such as statistical analysis.  These credits to not count toward the 90 credits required in the major, minor, electives, and dissertation portions of the degree.
  • Major – 30 credits minimum
  • Minor – 12 to 15 credits
  • Electives –  0 to 28credits (may include second major or minor)
  • Dissertation – 20 to 30 credits
Special Opportunities

Students have the opportunity to develop skills by participating in research activities independently or in collaboration with faculty members and other graduate students. Through funded associate instructor (AI) appointments, most doctoral students also acquire essential skills and experience in teaching various health topics in different settings. Students are strongly encouraged to publish research results in professional journals and via presentations at national conferences. A limited number of fellowships and scholarships are available to the best qualified students.


The growing aging population will increase the need for scientists skilled in the research and prevention of disease. The rapidly expanding health field will also spur the need for researchers who can provide information to help governments, health agencies, health care providers and communities deal with epidemics.

The salary range, $38,175 - $136,237, reflects the actual salaries earned (adjusted for inflation using the national CPI - Bureau of Labor Statistics) within one year of graduation as reported by the most recent national survey of graduates conducted by ASPH

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