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Epidemiology PhD Program

The Ph.D program is designed for students who plan to become independent researchers in epidemiology. Emphasis is on the development and mastery of epidemiologic and biostatistical skills required for the highest levels of scholarship, investigation, and leadership in public health work. Students design and complete their own investigator-initiated research projects, and are prepared to compete for research grant awards supported by the National Institutes of Health and other agencies that fund epidemiology research. Learning experiences are pursued through coursework and readings, apprenticeships with supervising faculty, participation on a research team, and completion of the dissertation research project.


51 credits beyond the Master’s degree are required

  • 6 credits epidemiology courses
  • 6 credits advanced biostatistics courses
  • 15 credits electives
  • 24 dissertation credits
Non-credit requirements
  • Doctoral students are required to participate in a monthly Ph.D. Journal Club for four semesters. Students are also expected to attend the seminars presented in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Seminar Series each semester.

  • 2-8 years, after having earned a MS or MPH in Epi, students have up to 8 years to complete all requirements and defend their doctoral dissertation.


Of the required courses, only EPI 805 is offered every year. (* denotes courses that you may choose between to fulfill requirements)

Fall & Spring Semesters

Year-long non-credit workshops run by the Graduate School "Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) series". For more information and registration see: http://grad.msu.edu/rcr/


  • EPI 805 Historical Roots of Epidemiologic Thought - every year
  • Epi 828 : every year, one-credit Research Ethics course


  • EPI 910 Contemporary Epi - every year
  • EPI 920* Advanced Methods in Epi & Applied Stats - even years


*Choose six credits of the following advanced biostatistics courses: EPI 855, EPI 920, EPI 950, EPI 952, EPI 953, or an approved advanced biostatistics course from an outside department

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