Epidemiology PhD

Major: Epidemiology
Degree Awarded: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Minimum Required Credits: 57.0
Co-op Option: None
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code: 26.1309
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code:

About the Program

The Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology prepares students to critically analyze public health problems, generate significant epidemiologic questions and use rigorous research strategies to answer these questions. The program is grounded in the values of the Dornsife School of Public Health - integrity, rigor, critical thinking and self-reflection --  and emphasize a commitment to pursue important and innovative topics of inquiry even when faced with methodological challenges, and to undertake studies that generate knowledge applicable to diverse social, ethnic and geographically defined populations.

Graduates will be prepared to initiate and direct the scientifically rigorous research to inform policies and procedures that improve population health and eliminate health disparities.

Students will take a comprehensive exam that requires them to synthesize coursework and demonstrate mastery of public health competencies. Students will then develop and defend a dissertation proposal and complete a dissertation including three papers of publishable quality and final defense.

Major Competencies

  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of human physiology and pathophysiology with special competence in areas needed for dissertation research
  • Search and critically evaluate literature to synthesize information, identify major gaps in knowledge, and formulate statement of research problem and hypothesis
  • Design studies based on application of principal study designs, strengths and limitations, evaluate sample size, identify, assess, and minimize bias and confounding
  • Analyze data using appropriate statistical approaches and standard statistical software
  • Apply epidemiologic causal inference theory to the design, implementation, and interpretation of analyses
  • Communicate results orally and in writing to scientists and non-scientists and place findings in appropriate public health and health policy context

Additional Information

For more information about this program, please contact:

DSPH Academic Advising Team
Office of Education

Additional information can be found on the Dornsife School of Public Health website, including admissions criteria and how to apply.

Degree Requirements

Required *
BST 820Intermediate Biostatistics II3.0
EPI 700Advanced Epidemiology3.0
EPI 801Causal Inference in Epidemiology: Theory3.0
EPI 803Proposal Writing Seminar3.0
EPI 804Causal Inference in Epidemiology: Application3.0
EPI 806Bias and Validity in Epidemiology3.0
EPI 861Pathophysiologic Basis of Epidemiologic Research3.0
PBHL 501Introduction to Public Health **0.0
RCRG 600An Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research0.0
Selective (Choose One)3.0
Intermediate SAS
Advanced Statistical Computing
Data Science Using R
Dissertation 21.0-129.0
Thesis Research: Dissertation Guidance in Epidemiology
Electives ***12.0
Total Credits57.0-165.0

All entering students are expected to have already completed introductory and intermediate level epidemiology and biostatistics courses and introductory statistical computing courses as part of their master’s program or must enroll in these courses, or their equivalents, as additional requirements. These courses will be counted as electives for the program.   

Students are required to complete the TA Orientation and Preparation Course.


Foundational Public Health Learning Objectives: PBHL 501 is only required for students who do not have a degree from a CEPH accredited school.


Students choose any BST, CHP, EOH, EPI, HMP or PBHL course from the 500-999 level. At least one elective must be at the doctoral level. Additional courses outside of DSPH may count with approval from the student's faculty mentor.

Sample Plan of Study

Full Time Post-Master's

First Year
EPI 8613.0BST 8203.0EPI 8013.0VACATION
PBHL 501*0.0EPI 7003.0Electives/Selective6.0 
Electives/Selective6.0RCRG 6000.0  
 9 9 9 0
Second Year
EPI 8033.0EPI 9999.0EPI 8043.0VACATION
EPI 8063.0 EPI 9996.0 
EPI 9993.0   
 9 9 9 0
Third Year
EPI 9991.0-9.0EPI 9991.0-9.0EPI 9991.0-9.0 
 1-9 1-9 1-9 
Total Credits 57-81

PBHL 501 is only required for students who do not have a degree from a CEPH accredited school.

Part Time Post-Master's

First Year (Part-Time)
EPI 8613.0BST 8203.0EPI 8013.0VACATION
PBHL 501*0.0EPI 7003.0Electives/Selective3.0 
Electives/Selective3.0RCRG 6000.0  
 6 6 6 0
Second Year (Part-Time)
EPI 8033.0Electives/Selectives6.0EPI 8043.0VACATION
EPI 8063.0 Electives/Selectives3.0 
 6 6 6 0
Third Year (Part-Time)
EPI 9993.0-6.0EPI 9993.0-6.0EPI 9993.0-6.0VACATION
 3-6 3-6 3-6 0
Fourth Year (Part-Time)
EPI 9993.0-6.0EPI 9993.0-6.0EPI 9991.0-6.0VACATION
 3-6 3-6 1-6 0
Fifth Year (Part-Time)
EPI 9991.0-6.0EPI 9991.0-6.0EPI 9993.0-6.0 
 1-6 1-6 3-6 
Total Credits 57-90

PBHL 501 is only required for students who do not have a degree from a CEPH accredited school. 

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