Epidemiology, considered a fundamental science of public health, is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease and disability in populations. Epidemiology is historically rooted in the study of the causes of infectious diseases (epidemics); however, through industrial development and the demographic transition during the 20th century, epidemiology now encompasses the study of all types of health conditions.
The PhD degree is a terminal academic degree and represents outstanding academic achievement. The Doctoral Program in Epidemiology is a research degree, centered on a major dissertation research project within a broad public health context.
The PhD program is designed to educate persons to be independent researchers and public health professionals in academia, research institutions, government agencies or industry. While graduates sometimes seek additional training after graduation through postdoctoral fellowships, a graduate of the PhD program is prepared to be a faculty member of a graduate program in a university or in a leadership position in a public health organization, multidisciplinary setting, government agency or industry.
The PhD program in Epidemiology requires that applicants have a solid foundation of the knowledge of concepts and skills of epidemiology, an understanding of public health concepts and perspective and the ability to read and understand reports of clinical and epidemiological studies. However, it is anticipated that students may need additional training in one or more of these areas, depending upon their background, before entering the program. On average, the doctoral program requires four to five years for completion following the Master’s or other advanced degree.