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.


Epidemiology is the study of the distribution of diseases in populations, their causes, and the ways in which they can be prevented and controlled. Epidemiologists are interested not only in the biological origins of disease, but in the impact of social, economic and environmental conditions that may contribute to ill-health. To develop clues to what may cause disease, they examine variations in rates of diseases over time, by geographic area, and in different groups of people. They investigate localized outbreaks of diseases of known cause to understand where the public health infrastructure needs to be strengthened. Epidemiologists also frequently study the effects of clinical protocols and medical care systems to see what works best. Prevention programs, health education efforts and public health policy are all important applications of epidemiologic research.

  • Department Of Community Health
  • Academia
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • Private Industry
  • Global health organizations
  • National Institute of Health
  • Non-governmental organizations

Epidemiologists work in hospitals, for county and state health departments, for government agencies, in universities, and for pharmaceutical companies. Hospital epidemiologists study nosocomial (hospital-acquired) diseases, conduct drug trials, research treatment outcomes, or may be involved in hospital planning. Epidemiologists employed with county or state health departments investigate disease outbreaks, or conduct studies of disorders of importance to the geographical entity. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institutes for Health (NIH) and other federal agencies employ epidemiologists to conduct epidemiologic studies, perform risk factor analyses, track the prevalent incidence of disease, and formulate public health policy. Epidemiologists employed with pharmaceutical companies are involved in drug trials, post marketing surveillance and pharmaceutical needs assessment.

We impact public practice at the local. state, national and international levels 


Our faculty strive to produce convincing evidence that will lead to improvements in public health, and to develop new and innovative statistical and epidemiological methods for producing this evidence.

A few areas of current faculty research interests are listed here.