Epidemiology — Ph.D.
Interim program director
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in epidemiology prepares students to effectively conduct epidemiologic research, apply epidemiologic principles and methods to address public health problems, and teach the discipline to others. The major research focus of the faculty in the program has been the epidemiology of chronic diseases linked to exposures such as tobacco use, air pollution, and diet. Studying the effects of diet on health and disease risk in populations is a particular strength of our program. The curriculum is designed to establish competence in classical and modern epidemiologic methods, to promote successful learning and application of emerging methods, and to prepare the graduate for successful interdisciplinary research collaboration with public health and medical professionals, nutritionists, biostatisticians, bioinformaticians, and biological scientists.
Program learning outcomes
By the end of the program, the graduate should be able to:
- Apply advanced knowledge of the principles and methods of epidemiology to interpret and critically evaluate the results of epidemiologic analyses;
- Apply epidemiologic principles to design appropriate studies to evaluate exposure-disease hypotheses; communicate these study designs in a research grant proposal;
- Demonstrate proficiency in the principles and methods of data collection and management; obtain epidemiologic data and prepare it for analysis;
- Analyze complex data using appropriate statistical methods and computer programming resources to answer epidemiologic questions;
- Effectively communicate epidemiologic science, orally and in writing, to the scientific community and the public, to advance the field and to promote public health;
- Use best-practice modalities in pedagogy to deliver educational experiences in an academic setting;
- Apply the principles of scientific and professional ethics in research, teaching, and practice.
Educational effectiveness indicators
- Assessments from required courses
- Comprehensive examination
- Dissertation proposal defense (qualifying examination)
- Dissertation manuscript
- Submission of three manuscripts from the dissertation to peer-reviewed journals, one of which must be published or accepted for publication
- Oral defense of dissertation
- Teaching assistantship
- Presentation at a scientific conference
Doctoral-level health professional degree or master's degree in epidemiology or in a related field.
The following courses or equivalents:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Genetics or molecular biology
G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher preferred
GRE or equivalent (above the 40th percentile in each section is favorable)
Individuals who may benefit from the program
Those who may benefit from the program include individuals seeking careers in:
- Academic epidemiology (research and teaching)
- Research in private industry, governmental agencies, or nonprofit organizations
- Public health epidemiology with a research focus
|EPDM 509||Principles of Epidemiology||3|
|EPDM 510||Epidemiologic Methods I||3|
|EPDM 520||Data Collection Methods||3|
|STAT 515||Grant- and Contract-Proposal Writing||3|
|STAT 521||Biostatistics I||4|
|STAT 548||Analytical Applications of SAS and R||2|
|Advanced standing from previous degrees considered.|
|Public health core|
|PHCJ 606||Public Health Fundamentals||4|
|PHCJ 608A||Doctoral Seminar for Public Health||1|
|PHCJ 608B||Doctoral Seminar for Public Health||1|
|PHCJ 608C||Doctoral Seminar for Public Health||1|
|PHCJ 614||Pedagogy: The Art and Science of Teaching||2|
|PHCJ 618||Transformative Communication||2|
|EPDM 610||Advanced Epidemiologic Methods||4|
|STAT 522||Biostatistics II||4|
|STAT 523||Biostatistics III||3|
|EPDM 635||Epidemiological Studies of Adventists||1|
|EPDM 645||Epidemiology of Tobacco Use and Control||2|
|EPDM 664||Epidemiology of Cardiovasular Disease||2|
|EPDM 665||Epidemiology of Cancer||2|
|EPDM 668||Molecular Epidemiology||2|
|NUTR 634||Concepts of Nutritional Epidemiology||3|
|RELE 525||Ethics for Scientists||3|
|RELR 540||Wholeness and Health 1||3|
|RELT 617||Seminar in Religion and the Sciences (or approved alternate course)||3|
|Select from the following recommended electives or in consultation with advisor||12|
|Introduction to Bioinformatics|
|Epidemiologic Methods III|
|Epidemiology of Infectious Disease|
|Health Policy Analysis and Research|
|GIS Software Applications and Methods|
|Spatial Analytic Techniques and GIS|
|Health Behavior Theory and Research|
|Qualitative Research Methods|
|Advanced Topics in Nutrition|
|Advanced Applications in Nutritional Epidemiology|
|Vegetarian Nutrition: Person, Population, Planet|
|Overview of Research Methodologies|
|Concepts and Practical Issues of Secondary Data|
|Research and dissertation|
|EPDM 685||Preliminary Research Experience||2|
|PHCJ 624A||Scientist Forum||1|
|PHCJ 624B||Scientist Forum||1|
|PHCJ 624C||Scientist Forum||1|
Fulfills service learning requirement
Further details regarding non-course degree requirements are found in the SPH Doctoral Handbook.
Ph.D. students are expected to assist faculty members with the teaching of epidemiology and/or biostatistics courses. It is the responsibility of doctoral students to obtain documentation from faculty members they have assisted.
Doctoral students must pass a comprehensive examination prior to advancement to candidacy.
Dissertation proposal and proposal defense
After passing the comprehensive examination, each student will prepare a formal dissertation proposal. Successful defense of this proposal will lead to advancement to candidacy for the degree.
Presentation at scientific conference
The student must present one research project in poster or oral form at an appropriate professional conference.
As a part of the culminating experience, the student must submit three manuscripts from the dissertation research to appropriate peer-reviewed journals, successfully defend the dissertation, and submit a committee-approved dissertation manuscript.
The student must submit and have accepted for publication one of the three dissertation papers in an appropriate peer-reviewed journal prior to graduation. The two remaining dissertation papers must have been submitted to peer-reviewed journals prior to graduation.
Normal time to complete the program
Three to five (3-5) years — based on full-time enrollment