Programs by Campus



Department of Epidemiology
Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health

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Degrees Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and doctoral minor in Epidemiology

Doctor of Philosophy

The PhD in Epidemiology program at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health is designed for advanced graduate students who want to study the distribution of health and illness in diverse populations, the occurrence of illness, and how to assess the determinants of health and disease risk in human populations. Our students are trained to become scientific leaders in academic, governmental agency, non-governmental agency, and industry settings. Graduates are trained to develop and conduct epidemiologic research and to translate their findings to a diverse audience, including the biomedical research community, public health practitioners, health policy makers, and clinicians in the health professions, as well as to the general public.

The 90-credit hour Epidemiology PhD program can be completed on a part-time or full-time basis. Scholarships, traineeships, and pre-doctoral fellowships are available to full-time students of outstanding merit. Our PhD program promotes educational and scientific development through research collaborations, public health partnerships, and a commitment to diversity.

PhD students will work one-on-one with individual faculty members and may pursue topics of interest, capitalizing on faculty members’ research expertise and on-going projects. Key areas of research available to epidemiology doctoral students on the IUPUI campus include:

  • Cancer Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention
  • Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology
  • Clinical Epidemiology
  • Metabolic Disease Epidemiology
  • Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • Injury Epidemiology
  • Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology
  • Nutritional Epidemiology
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Public Health Informatics

Extensive research opportunities are available to our doctoral students across the IUPUI academic health sciences campus. There is no other location in Indiana that offers such a diverse and rich environment for epidemiologic research.

Admission Process and Requirements

Admission into the Epidemiology PhD Program is based on completion of a baccalaureate degree, although it is anticipated that many applicants will have completed a post baccalaureate degree in public health or other health related discipline.

Fall Semester Application Deadline: December 15

All required application documents must be submitted by the Epidemiology PhD program deadline, with the exception of recommendation letters, which may be submitted up to two weeks past the deadline.

Online Application Steps

You may apply to our Epidemiology PhD program online via SOPHAS, the centralized Schools of Public Health Application Service.

Remember to designate the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health as one of your school choices, along with your desired program.

The application deadline for Fall admission is December 15. All required application documents must be submitted no later than November 15 and completed by the program deadline.

We'll notify you by e-mail once your application has been received. If you have questions about the application process, contact student services (317) 274-2000.

Supporting Documentation

In addition to completing the SOPHAS application, you are also required to submit the following supporting documentation directly to SOPHAS:

  • Statement of Purpose and Objectives: Provide an essay of approximately 750 words describing your past education, experience, and current professional career objectives. You are encouraged to comment on any or all of the following: plans you have to use your education and training; the needs and/or challenges you perceive as important in your field of study; and, any personal qualities, characteristics, and skills you believe will enable you to be successful in your chosen field of study.
  • Résumé or Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)
  • Official post-secondary transcripts from all U.S. institutions attended (must be sent directly from the institutions to SOPHAS). This includes previous study at Indiana University. This includes previous study at Indiana University.
  • It is strongly recommended that all transcripts be submitted no later than November 15 to allow SOPHAS adequate time to verify transcripts. Please note that it can take up to four weeks for transcripts to be verified.
  • World Education Services (WES) ICAP course-by-course evaluation for all post-secondary foreign institutions attended. Please Note: U.S. applicants who studied at foreign institutions as part of a study abroad experience at their U.S. college or university, do not need to provide a WES evaluation of their study abroad coursework.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons qualified to assess your academic work; clinical, public health, or professional experiences; or, leadership potential in public health. These letters should be from professional sources that can provide an unbiased, current and critical assessment of your abilities, skills, strengths and weaknesses related to successfully completing a doctoral program.
  • Sample of scholarly writing – Applicants must submit an electronic copy of a course paper or published article in which the applicant is the sole author. This document can be uploaded to your SOPHAS application.
  • GRE test scores - GRE or other graduate entrance exam scores are required for all applicants. In addition to the GRE, the Epidemiology PhD program also accepts scores from the MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, DAT. However, testing services other than the ETS (GRE) may not submit scores directly to the SOPHAS system. If your testing service does not submit scores to SOPHAS, you can have them sent directly to IUPUI.
  • Test Score Waiver - If you have a graduate or professional degree from an accredited U.S. institution, you may request a waiver for the test score requirement.

Please Note: If you plan to attend the Epidemiology PhD program as a full-time funded student, you are strongly encouraged to submit GRE scores with your application, since some funding sources require current GRE scores (less than 5 years old) for students to be eligible.

On-site Interview Steps

In-person interview: Applicants will be invited to participate in an in-person interview with several members of the Admission Committee. Alternative arrangements can be made for applicants unable to be interviewed onsite.

Completion of an on-site essay: Applicants participating in the interview process may be asked to write a short essay on a specific topic assigned to them using Microsoft Word. The purpose of this step is to allow the Admissions Committee to assess the applicant's English writing skills.

Review of Applications

Completed applications will be carefully reviewed by the Epidemiology PhD Admissions Committee after the program deadline. Applicants are notified of their admission status in late March. The Admissions Committee will determine each applicant’s acceptance or non-acceptance to the Epidemiology PhD program by using the following selection criteria:

  • Scientific Leadership Potential: Assessed by the applicant’s resume / curriculum vita, personal statement, and personal interview.
  • Ability to Engage in Advanced Graduate Work: Assessed by the applicant’s personal interview, evaluation of letters of recommendation, overall grade point average in prior graduate work, and scores from the GRE or other graduate entrance exams.
  • Learning Goals and Objectives: Assessed by the applicant’s personal statement and personal interview.

Course Requirements

To complete this degree, you will take a combination of required Epidemiology Core courses, Methods courses, Elective courses, a Doctoral Minor, Doctoral Research Seminars, and guided Dissertation Research that together total 90 credits.

If applicants to the Epidemiology PhD program have recently completed an MPH program in epidemiology or a related area and therefore already have solid academic preparation in epidemiology and biostatistics, they may not need to take select foundation courses, which would reduce their required curriculum credits. Individuals accepted into the program who do not have the foundation courses in epidemiology and biostatistics will be required to take the full 90-credit curriculum:

Required Core Courses

Take all 10 courses for a total of 30 credits

  • PBHL B552 Fundamentals of Data Management (using SAS) (3 credits)
  • PBHL B586 Technical Reporting and Scientific Writing (1 credits)
  • PBHL B571 Biostat Method I: Linear Model in Public Health (4 credits)
  • PBHL B572 Biostat Method II: Categorical Data Analysis (4 credits)
  • PBHL E517 Fundamentals of Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PBHL E601 Advanced Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PBHL E606 Grant Writing for Public Health (3 credits)
  • PBHL E629 Introduction to Genetic Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PBHL E635 Foundations of Public Health Informatics (3 credits)
  • PBHL E715 Design and Implementation of Observational Studies (3 credits)

Method Courses

Choose 3 courses for a total of 9 credits

  • PBHL B573 Biostat Method III: Applied Survival Data Analysis (4 credits)
  • PBHL B574 Biostat Method IV: Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis (3 credits)
  • PBHL B582 Introduction to Clinical Trials (3 credits)
  • PBHL B583 Applied Multivariate Analysis in Public Health (3 credits)
  • PBHL E645 Information Exchange for Population Health (1 credit)
  • PBHL E563 Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (3 credits)
  • MGEN G788 (INFO I590) Intro to the Next Generation Sequencing Technology (3 credits)
  • INFO B636 Next Generation Geonomic Data Analysis (3 credits)

*Students may take methods and substantive electives offered by other IUPUI departments with advisor approval.


Choose 5 courses for a total of 15 credits

  • PBHL E609 Infectious Disease Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PBHL E610 Chronic Disease Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PBHL A617 Environmental Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PBHL E618 Cancer Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PBHL E675 Fundamentals of Injury Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PBHL E750 Doctoral Topics in Epidemiology (variable 1-3 credits)
  • PBHL E751 Doctoral Radings in Epidemiology (variable 1-3 credits)
  • PBHL E752 Doctoral Level Directed Research (3 credits)
  • PBHL E765 Nutritional Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PBHL E770 Occupational Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PBHL E780 Pharmaco-Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • SOC R585 Social Aspects of Mental Health & Illness (3 credits)

*Students may take methods and substantive electives offered by other IUPUI departments with advisor approval.

Minor Area

Students must complete a PhD minor in an area related to a health and life science. The minor in most cases is comprised of four graduate level courses (12 credit hours) in the chosen area and must comply with the minor requirements of the respective department/unit.

Doctoral Research Seminars

Students will enroll in three doctoral research seminars. Each seminar is one credit, for a total of three credits. (PBHL E775)


The remaining 21 hours will be guided research dissertation hours. (PBHL E800)

Other Degree Requirements for the PhD in Epidemiology

Public Health Coursework

Epidemiology students without a graduate degree, certificate or coursework in public health will be required to complete on-line introductory modules on Environmental Health, Health Policy and Management, and Social and Behavioral Science to ensure that they have basic competencies in all five core public health areas. This is a requirement of the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH), the school’s accrediting body.

PhD Advisory Committee

The department of Epidemiology will set up an advisory committee for the student, typically in the first year after admission to the PhD program. The advisory committee usually includes at least two epidemiologists and one or two faculty members from another discipline. The advisory committee will approve the student’s program of study and counsel the student until he or she passes the qualifying examination. Each PhD student will also be assigned to an academic advisor from one of the full-time faculty members in the department of Epidemiology.

Minor Area

The student will select a minor from an academic unit other than the department of Epidemiology. The PhD minor must be approved by the student’s advisory committee, and comply with requirements of the respective minor department or program. Examples of minors include: biostatistics, genetics, pharmacology, toxicology, health economics, environmental health, and health informatics.

Qualifying Examinations

The qualifying examination will be based upon the student’s PhD coursework and will be taken after all courses have been completed. Students who fail the qualifying examination are normally allowed to retake it only once. The qualifying exam will be a written exam.

Students who have passed the qualifying examination must enroll each semester (excluding summer sessions) for dissertation credits. Once such students have accumulated 90 credit hours in completed course work and dissertation credits, they must enroll for 6 hours of graduate credit (GRAD-G901) each semester until the degree is completed. The fee for this course is $150. Students are permitted to enroll in G901 for a maximum of six semesters.

The Department of Epidemiology will monitor the student’s progress toward the PhD degree and will make recommendations to the University Graduate School regarding the nomination to candidacy, the appointment of a research committee, the defense of the dissertation, and the conferring of the PhD degree.


The dissertation will be written on an original topic of research and presented as one of the final requirements for the PhD degree. The student’s dissertation research committee will be comprised of members of the graduate faculty. The chair of the dissertation research committee must be a regular faculty member in the department of Epidemiology and a full member of the Graduate Faculty. The student will submit to the IUPUI Graduate Office, acting for the University Graduate School, a two-page prospectus of the dissertation research and the membership of the research committee at least six months before the defense of the dissertation for their approval.

After the committee has reviewed the dissertation, the decision to schedule the defense will be made. The student will then present and defend the dissertation orally in a public forum before the committee. Following the dissertation defense, all deficiencies must be adequately addressed to obtain approval by the dissertation research committee.

Doctoral Minor in Epidemiology

Departmental URL:

The IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health offers a PhD minor in Epidemiology that provides students with a foundation in the concepts, principles and practice of epidemiology. People who possess these specialized skills are in high demand because their enhanced analytical and data management skills are desirable for many doctoral-level research projects.

The doctoral minor in Epidemiology is a rigorous, highly focused 12-credit hour minor that serves as a useful complement to many major areas of study. You will learn both theoretical concepts of epidemiology and how to apply these concepts. By completing this minor, you will be able to:

  • Use epidemiology methods to collect data and to study, analyze, and report the patterns of disease in human populations for diverse audiences
  • Use biostatistics to analyze and report public health data
  • Understand and apply descriptive epidemiology to assess health status and the burden of disease in populations
  • Understand, apply, and interpret epidemiologic research methods and findings to the practice of public health
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify and use existing sources of epidemiologic data at the local, state, national, and international level
  • Understand the key components of public health surveillance and public health screening programs
  • Develop written and oral presentations based on epidemiologic analysis for both public health professionals and lay audiences
  • Demonstrate a basic level of SAS programming for data set creation, data management, and data analysis

Because you can choose two of the courses from a list of options, you can easily customize this minor to your unique interests and needs. This minor is ideal for students from many schools, including the IU schools of Nursing, Dentistry, Medicine, Physical Education and Recreation, Health Rehabilitative Sciences, Law, and Public and Environmental Affairs.

Students who wish to obtain a doctoral minor from the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health must earn a grade of “B” or better in the coursework for the minor. Courses in which a grade of “B-” or lower is earned will not apply toward completion of the minor. Faculty in the department of Epidemiology will serve as advisors for students choosing this minor.

Required Courses

  • E517 Fundamentals of Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • E601 Advanced Epidemiology (3 credits)

Plus choose two courses from the following list:

  • E609 Infectious Disease Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • E563 Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (3 credits)
  • E610 Chronic Disease Epidemiology (3 credits) (Note: Effective fall 2019 new title: Global Chronic Disease Epidemiology)
  • E618 Cancer Epidemiology (3 credits)  (Note: Effective spring 2019 new title: Global Cancer Epidemiology)
  • E629 Introduction to Genetic Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • E635 Foundations of Public Health Informatics (3 credits)
  • E675 Fundamentals of Injury Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • E715 Design & Implementation of Observational Studies (3 credits)
  • E765 Nutritional Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • E780 Pharmaco-epidemiology (3 credits)

Other courses may be taken if approved by the student’s minor advisor. Students who have already completed any of the required courses as part of their MPH or PhD requirements may not apply those courses toward their minor in Epidemiology and must instead work with their faculty advisor to identify alternate Epidemiology courses.

The student’s minor advisor will monitor satisfactory completion of the requirements for the doctoral minor in Epidemiology. Doctoral students must notify the Fairbanks School of Public Health before beginning their course of study for the minor.

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