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Program Curriculum

Students admitted to the program are required to complete a total of 72 credit hours, including course work and research. Selected core courses will be shared with the Biostatistics graduate program. In addition to the required methods curriculum, students will take content area and advanced methods electives. Students are eligible to take relevant course work, for which they meet the prerequisites, in any Vanderbilt department. Requirements for program completion include a take-home comprehensive examination at the end of the second year, an oral defense of the dissertation proposal, and the doctoral dissertation. The program is expected to take four years to complete. Students can accelerate their studies to complete the program in three years.
Our program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

Foundational Courses Required

  • Causal Inference (3)
  • Epidemiologic Theory and Methods I, II and III (4 credits each, 12 total)
  • Principles of Biostatistics I  (4)
  • Current Topics in Epidemiology (1)
  • Modern Regression Analysis (4)
  • Scientific Writing I – Manuscripts, Abstracts, and Posters (1)
  • Research Ethics (1)
  • Scientific Writing II – Proposal Development in Epidemiology (2)
  • Epidemiologic Methods: Design and Analysis with Time-to-Event Data (4)
  • Advanced Methods for Epidemiology (measurement error, missing data, intermediate variables, complex study design, meta-analysis, splines, propensity scores, simulation) (3)
  • Non-Candidate Research Hours (0-4)
  • Dissertation Hours (0-4)

Optional Courses

Human Genetics
Recommended Human Genetics course sequence for Epidemiology Ph.D. students:

  • HGEN 8330 (Special Topics in Human Genetics)
  • HGEN 8340 (Human Genetics I)
  • MPB 8341 (Human Genetics II), requires permission from instructor and received an A in HGEN 8330 or has passed HGEN 8340
  • EPI 8333 (Analytical Techniques for Genetic Epidemiology)
  • HGEN 8390 (Genetic Epidemiology)

Other Elective Courses

  • Clinical Trials
  • Decision Analysis and Cost Effectiveness
  • Molecular Techniques for Public Health Research
  • Biostatistics (e.g. Methods for Accommodating Missing Data)
  • Biomedical Informatics
  • Content Area Course/Seminar (e.g. genetics, global health, healthcare, infectious disease, pharmacoepidemiology) (2)
  • Event surveillance and mathematical modeling of dispersion (3)
  • Advanced Predictive Modeling and Simulation (4)
  • Biostatistics (e.g. Advanced Probabilistic Concepts)
  • Health Policy

Example of Distribution of Course Credits of Candidate Completing in Four Years

This table shows an example of a typical student’s course completion.

First Semester Second Semester Total Credits
First Year
Causal Inference (3)
Epidemiologic Theory & Methods I (4)
Principles of Biostatistics (4)
Current Topics in Research (1)
Epidemiologic Theory & Methods II (4)
Modern Regression Analysis (4)
Scientific Writing I (2)
Content Area Elective (2)
Credits: 12 Credits: 12 Year: 24
Second Year
Epidemiologic Theory & Methods III (4)
Content Area Elective (4-6)
Epidemiologic Methods: Design and Analysis
with Time-to-Event Data (4)
Content Area Elective (4)
Scientific Writing II (2)
[Comprehensive Examination]
Credits: 10 Credits: 10 Year: 20
Third Year
Advanced Methods Elective Modules: splines, propensity score methods, advanced techniques for model fit assessment (1) – up to 3 total
Non-Candidate Research (0-4)
[Dissertation Proposal Defense]
Advanced Methods Elective Modules: clustered data, repeated measures growth models, advanced methods for missing data (1) – up to 3 total
Methods Elective (3)
Dissertation Research (0-3)
Credits: 6 Credits: 9 Year: 15
Fourth Year
Dissertation Research (0-3)
Methods Electives(2)
Dissertation Research (0-4)
[Dissertation Defense]
Credits: 5 Credits: 4 Year: 9
Transfer Credits*: 4
Program Total: 72
*Advanced quantitative coursework credits likely to transfer from Master’s studies subject to approval.

  Feel free to contact epi.phd@vanderbilt.edu with any questions.