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PhD Degree in Epidemiology

What Is a PhD in Epidemiology?

Th PhD in Epidemiology is a scientifically rigorous doctorate program that prepares students to approach problems with critical analytic skills necessary and utilize the most appropriate research strategies to address meaningful epidemiologic problems.

Why Pursue a PhD in Epidemiology at Drexel Dornsife?

Drexel Dornsife’s PhD in Epidemiology program offers a variety of unique benefits that prepare students for career advancement and professional skill development:

  • Access to Renowned Faculty: Students engage with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics faculty members, whose research areas include aging and lifecourse epidemiology, chronic and infectious disease epidemiology, complex systems approaches to population health, neighborhood influences on health disparities, psychiatric and neurodevelopmental conditions, and urban health.
  • Financial Support: Full-time students with research or teaching fellowships receive full tuition, 12-month stipend, and health insurance.
  • Mentorship: Students are paired with outstanding faculty mentors with training and expertise in epidemiology and biostatistics.
  • Teaching Opportunities: Doctoral students have opportunities for teaching in our master’s and undergraduate degree programs.
  • Cohort Size: Small cohort size ensures favorable faculty to student ratio.
  • Excellent Career Outcomes: 100 percent job placement within one year of graduation.

Upon graduation of the PhD in Epidemiology program, students will be prepared to:

  • Approach problems with the critical analytic skills necessary for the generation of substantial and significant epidemiologic questions
  • Utilize the most rigorous and parsimonious research strategies to answer epidemiologic questions
  • Pursue important and innovative topics of inquiry even when faced with methodological challenges
  • Undertake studies that generate knowledge applicable to diverse social, ethnic, and geographically defined populations
  • Initiate and direct research necessary to generate the knowledge upon which to base public health and medical care policies and procedures that improve the health and well-being of populations

To learn more about the Epidemiology PhD program, request more information to speak with an academic advisor today.

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Dornsife's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics seeks students who have demonstrated an ability to integrate public health competencies and skills into public health practice.

Admissions Requirements for the PhD in Epidemiology Program

Applicants to the PhD in Epidemiology program must meet the following requirements:

  • Master’s degree in epidemiology or a related field
  • Potential for high level of performance in the PhD program and subsequent contributions to the field of epidemiology

All entering students are expected to have already completed introductory and intermediate level epidemiology and biostatistics courses as part of their Master’s program or must enroll in these courses, or their equivalents, as additional requirements.

Application Requirements for the PhD in Epidemiology Program

To be considered for the PhD in in Epidemiology program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Online application via SOPHAS
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts (international transcripts must be evaluated by World Education Services)
  • A written statement of career and educational goals, professional experience, and area of research interest
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty or professionals who can evaluate the applicant's promise as a graduate student
  • Resume or CV
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for applicants whose first language is not English

An in-person or telephone/online interview is required of all finalists.

A note on official GRE scores: Due to the impact COVID-19 is having on testing access, GRE scores will not be a part of the Drexel University Department of Epidemiology application for those applying for Fall 2021 entry. The Admissions Committee will continue to evaluate candidates based on a holistic and overall assessment of the required application materials. This policy will be reviewed and reconsidered at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year.

To learn more about application and admissions requirements for the PhD in Epidemiology program, please visit the page below.

Learn more about admissions and application requirements

Epidemiology PhD Program Curriculum

The PhD in Epidemiology curriculum prepares students to approach public health problems with the critical analytic skills necessary to generate meaningful epidemiologic questions and utilize the most appropriate research strategies to address them.

The program comprises both formal classroom training and guided research with faculty mentors trained in a variety of areas of public health.

Required Courses

The PhD in Epidemiology program requires two academic years of structured coursework, consisting of required core courses in the Dornsife School of Public Health, as well as directed dissertation research.

Students complete core epidemiology classes and choose electives in areas such as infectious disease epidemiology, perinatal epidemiology, cardiovascular disease epidemiology, and pharmacoepidemiology.

Required core courses in the program include:

  • BST 820 Intermediate Biostatistics II - 3 credits
  • EPI 700 Advanced Epidemiology - 3 credits
  • EPI 801 Causal Inference in Epidemiology - 3 credits
  • EPI 802 Methodological Challenges - 3 credits
  • EPI 861 Pathophysiologic Basis of Epidemiologic Research - 3 credits

Students consult with their faculty mentor on all elective selections, and at least one elective should be at the doctoral level.

Degree Requirements for the PhD in Epidemiology

To graduate with a PhD in Epidemiology, students must meet the following academic requirements:

  • A minimum of 69.0 quarter credit hours of course work beyond the master's degree
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.3
  • Passing the doctoral comprehensive examination
  • Passing the candidacy oral examination
  • Completing a dissertation of publishable quality
  • Passing the final defense

To learn more about the PhD in Epidemiology curriculum and to see plans of study, please follow the links below.

Review degree requirements and courses

Sample Plan of Study

Career Options with a PhD in Epidemiology

Many program graduates work in an applied epidemiologic field or health research field. Graduates are employed by state and local governments, nonprofits, universities, and pharmaceutical companies.

A PhD in Epidemiology prepares individuals for unique career paths and advancement opportunities, including:

  • Senior Epidemiologist
  • University Professor
  • Research Scientist
  • Director of Clinical Research

A PhD in Epidemiology provides a unique opportunity to direct scientifically rigorous research that informs public health and medical care policies and procedures, leading to improved health and well-being of populations.

PhD in Epidemiology Salary Scale

While salary can range across industries, the median annual wage for epidemiologists across all top industries was $70,990 in May 2019. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6% increase in the job market for epidemiologists. More information regarding the projected outlook and salary for epidemiologists can be found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' website.

Further develop your skills and propel your career forward with a PhD degree in Epidemiology.

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Paying for Your Public Health Degree

95 percent of PhD students receive tuition remission, stipend, and health insurance.

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Mary Genevieve Carty, MHEd
Senior Program Manager
Epidemiology and Biostatistics

David A. Wood, MBA, MS
Director of Recruitment, Enrollment, and Retention