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Program Requirements

Academic Performance. All students must maintain an overall B (3.0) grade point average (GPA) in their didactic coursework. If a student’s GPA drops below 3.0, they will be placed on academic probation. If the GPA is still below 3.0 after two more semesters, the Oversight Committee will evaluate the student’s overall performance, and they may be dismissed from the program. Continued financial support is contingent upon maintaining an overall GPA of 3.0 and taking a full course load each semester.


A typical student will complete 35 - 41 credits of core required courses, 3 elective courses, and varying amounts of dissertation credits to total 72 credit hours (including 10 to 20 transfer credits). This includes the required methods curriculum, content-area courses (electives and advanced methods), ethics training, and scientific writing.

Program graduates will often take academic positions upon completion, and it is critical that they have teaching experience prior to graduating. All students complete a teaching experience. Typically, these is fulfilled by serving as a Teaching Assistant for a methods course or seminar. However, those with previous teaching experience may choose to guest lecture or some other opporutnity approvd by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). The program manager and DGS maintain a list of teaching opportunities.

Epidemiology doctoral students are required to complete Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) and Human Subjects Protection trainings through the online platform Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). The Graduate School requires additional discussion-based training in RCR. The following courses fulfill this requirement for Epidemiology doctoral students: MSCI 5029, PUBH 5505, PUBH 5518, IGP 8004, MSTP 8317, MSTP 8318 or other School of Medicine RCR courses.

A comprehensive examination will be administered at the end of the second year focusing on the methods knowledge gained during the foundational and mid-level methods portion of the degree. This take-home examination will include short answer questions, computations, interpretation of computations and analyses, and data analysis.

To qualify for candidacy, a student must complete all required first- and second-year courses, must be in good academic standing (GPA ≥3.0), must pass the comprehensive examination, and must pass an oral qualifying examination. The examining committee is the student’s dissertation committee. There are three possible outcomes of the examination: pass, conditional pass and fail. In cases of failure, the student will be given up to four months to retake the examination. Failure to pass a second examination will result in dismissal from the doctoral program. On satisfactory completion of the oral examination, the student will be admitted to candidacy.

Candidates for the PhD in Epidemiology must present an acceptable dissertation that adds to or modifies the body of knowledge. Professional achievement must be evident and should include presentation of research at one or more national meeting(s). The doctoral dissertation will include: critical review of the literature, a methods chapter to include hypotheses tested and methods applied, two to three manuscripts intended for publication, and a summary chapter with proposed next research steps in the field. The dissertation work should be of publishable quality and students are strongly encouraged to submit their work for consideration to the appropriate publication source.