PhD in Epidemiology (PhD)

Candidates who successfully complete the doctoral program in epidemiology will be prepared to teach in academic and other settings, conduct independent and collaborative epidemiologic research, and provide consultative services to academic, not-for-profit, governmental, and private organizations. A brief overview of the PhD in Epidemiology degree requirements is provided below. For detailed information, please refer to the OPHS Student Handbook.

Credit Hour Requirements
The PhD in Epidemiology program requires a minimum of 42 credits for students who have an MPH or MS degree with a concentration in epidemiology or biostatistics. Students without this academic background will be required to complete seven core prerequisite courses in public health, epidemiology and biostatistics. This PhD program includes 23 credits of required coursework plus 19 credits of elective coursework.

Qualifying Examination
The purpose of the qualifying exam is to determine whether to encourage students to proceed in a doctoral program and if encouraged, to enable their advisors to assist them in planning an appropriate program. This exam is taken after the student ha completed all the required prerequisite courses, if any, as well as the required course in infectious disease and the chronic disease epidemiology course. The exam is an 8-hour 2-part written test consisting of questions that assess the student’s knowledge and competency in (1) key areas of epidemiology, including study design, causal inference, statistical methods, and epidemiologic data analysis and interpretation; and (2) the student’s area of specialization. Doctorate Pre-Candidacy Progress Form 1 is filed upon the student’s successful completion of this examination.

Teaching and Research Practicum
Upon passing the qualifying exam, the student selects a faculty mentor to supervise the research practicum and the same or another mentor to supervise the teaching practicum. At least one manuscript of which the student is first author will be submitted for peer-reviewed publication at the conclusion of the research practicum.

Dissertation Proposal and Oral Comprehensive Examination
The student is required to complete a dissertation proposal and pass an oral comprehensive examination focusing on the student’s dissertation topic and specialization area. The dissertation proposal outlines the research to be undertaken by the student. The oral comprehensive examination is given only when, in the judgement of the faculty, the student has sufficient preparation either through course work or individual study and research. Results of the examination, approval of the dissertation topic, and, if applicable, approval from the University’s Human Studies Program (Institutional Review Board) for the student’s research are reported to the Graduate Division on Doctorate Advance to Candidacy Form 2.

Candidates must be registered for PH 800 Dissertation Research during the entire term in which the work for the degree is completed. The doctoral dissertation will be a substantial contribution to knowledge in which the student exhibits original scholarship and the ability to conduct independent research. Doctoral dissertations are in the form of a series of three or more related papers suitable for publication as scientific journal articles. 

Final Examination/Defense
A final oral examination in defense of the dissertation, which may also cover related subjects, is conducted by the candidate’s full doctoral committee and is never less than one hour in length. The defense must be announced in the University’s Events Calendar and is open to the public. The results of the final examination/dissertation defense are reported to the Graduate Division on the Doctorate Dissertation Evaluation Form 3.

Dissertation Submission
ProQuest ETD is the service that the Graduate Division uses for the electronic submission of the doctoral dissertation. Students are strongly encouraged to submit their final manuscript to ProQuest at least 4 weeks prior to the end of the semester. The Doctorate Dissertation Submission Form 4 is completed after the final manuscript has been uploaded on ProQuest ETD. NOTE: All dissertations will be made available to the public online through ScholarSpace.