Twin Cities campus
 
Twin Cities Campus

Epidemiology Ph.D.

School of Public Health - Adm
School of Public Health
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
School of Public Health, MMC 819, A395 Mayo Memorial Building, 420 Delaware Street, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-626-3500 OR 1-800-774-8636, Fax: 612-624-4498)
  • Program Type: Doctorate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2017
  • Length of program in credits: 61
  • This program requires summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The epidemiology PhD program is designed for students interested in research and teaching careers in the health sciences. Students select one of two formal tracks: clinical/biological epidemiology (CBE) or social/behavioral epidemiology (SBE). The two tracks, each with a minimum of 61 credits, emphasize advanced epidemiologic design, methodology, and analytic skills. The social/behavioral epidemiology track focuses on origins and development of human behavior patterns and how they are influenced and formed by personality, family, culture, and environment. The clinical/biological epidemiology track focuses on the etiology of diseases, particularly cardiovascular, cancer, genetics, and infectious diseases. A detailed description of the details related to each track may be obtained online or by contacting the major coordinator at epichstu@umn.edu.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
For the doctoral program, applicants must have completed or be about to complete a master's degree in a related field.
Special Application Requirements:
Because of the program's strong emphasis on methodology, quantitative aptitude is very important. This can be demonstrated by scoring at or above the 70th percentile on the quantitative section of the GRE, along with satisfactory grades in college-level quantitative courses. At least three recommendations (form and separate letter) from faculty and/or work supervisors with knowledge of the applicant's scholastic and professional capabilities and potential, and a statement of goals and objectives (letter of intent) for seeking a career in epidemiology are also required. In addition to the above materials, applicants for the Ph.D. program must submit a separate essay (statement of research interests) beyond what is required for the SOPHAS application process that provides evidence of their potential to conduct original research in a specific epidemiologic area and, if possible, that indicates an interest in particular methodologies or study designs. Serious doctoral applicants are encouraged to contact the major coordinator at epichstu@umn.edu before applying. Students begin their studies in the fall semester. Applications must be completed by December 1 of the year prior to beginning the doctoral program for scholarship consideration; the final deadline is February 1.
Applicants must submit their test score(s) from the following:
  • GRE
    • General Test - Analytical Writing: 4.0
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
  • TOEFL
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 100
    • Paper Based - Total Score: 600
  • IELTS
    • Total Score: 7.0
  • MELAB
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
37 credits are required in the major.
24 thesis credits are required.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses towards program requirements is not permitted.
A minimum GPA of 3.25 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 2 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Students may select one of two formal tracks; both have an applied perspective that emphasizes study design, measurement, quantitative analysis, and data interpretation. Social/behavioral epidemiology focuses on origins and development of human behavior patterns and how they are influenced and formed by personality, family, culture, and environment. Clinical/biological epidemiology focuses on the biological causes of diseases, especially determinants of cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious diseases, and genetic epidemiology. The PhD program includes a minimum curriculum of 61 credits. Students must pass written and oral preliminary examinations, serve as a teaching assistant for one semester, write and defend a dissertation, and prepare a first-authored manuscript for publication.
Required Coursework
Take the following courses for a total of 13 credits:
PUBH 7401 - Fundamentals of Biostatistical Inference (4.0 cr)
PUBH 6348 - Writing Research Grants (2.0 cr)
PUBH 6742 - Ethics in Public Health: Research and Policy (1.0 cr)
PUBH 8341 - Advanced Epidemiologic Methods: Concepts (3.0 cr)
PUBH 8342 - Advanced Epidemiologic Methods: Applications (3.0 cr)
Take one of the following teaching courses for at least 1 credit:
GRAD 8101 - Teaching in Higher Education (3.0 cr)
or GRAD 8200 - Teaching and Learning Topics in Higher Education (1.0 cr)
Thesis Credits
Take at least 24 doctoral thesis credits.
PUBH 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral (1.0-24.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
Clinical/Biological Epidemiology
Clinical/biological epidemiology focuses on the biological causes of diseases, especially determinants of cardiovascular disease, cancer, infectious diseases, and genetic epidemiology.
Clinical/Biological Track
A minimum of 23 credits is required.
Biological Methods/Statistics Requirement (6 credits minimum)
Take one of the following required courses:
PUBH 7420 - Clinical Trials: Design, Implementation, and Analysis (3.0 cr)
or PUBH 6363 - Design and Analysis of Group-Randomized Trials in Epidemiology (3.0 cr)
Choose additional credits from the following to complete the biological methods/statistics requirement:
PUBH 7402 - Biostatistics Modeling and Methods (4.0 cr)
PUBH 7430 - Statistical Methods for Correlated Data (3.0 cr)
PUBH 7407 - Analysis of Categorical Data (3.0 cr)
PUBH 6915 - Nutrition Assessment (2.0 cr)
PUBH 7445 - Statistics for Human Genetics and Molecular Biology (3.0 cr)
PUBH 8141 - Doctoral Seminar in Observational Inference (2.0 cr)
PUBH 8804 - Advanced Quantitative Methods Seminar (3.0 cr)
Content Area Requirement (4 credits minimum)
Take at least 4 credits from the following:
PUBH 6386 - Public Health Aspects of Cardiovascular Disease (2.0 cr)
PUBH 6387 - Cancer Epidemiology (2.0 cr)
PUBH 6385 - Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases (2.0 cr)
PUBH 6381 - Genetics in Public Health (2.0 cr)
PUBH 6389 - Nutritional Epidemiology (2.0 cr)
PUBH 6140 - Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology (2.0 cr)
Additional Credits (13 credits minimum)
Select courses in consultation with the advisor. Courses can include biological methods/statistics courses listed above not used to satisfy the biological methods/statistics requirement, or other appropriate courses.
Social/Behavioral Epidemiology
Social/behavioral epidemiology focuses on origins and development of human behavior patterns and how they are influenced and formed by personality, family, culture, and environment.
Social/Behavioral Track
A minimum of 23 credits is required.
Behavioral Methods/Statistics Requirement (6 credits minimum)
Take one of the following required courses:
PUBH 6363 - Design and Analysis of Group-Randomized Trials in Epidemiology (3.0 cr)
or PUBH 7420 - Clinical Trials: Design, Implementation, and Analysis (3.0 cr)
Choose additional credits from the following to complete the Behavioral Methods/Statistics requirement:
Take 1 or more course(s) from the following:
· PUBH 7402 - Biostatistics Modeling and Methods (4.0 cr)
· PUBH 7430 - Statistical Methods for Correlated Data (3.0 cr)
· PUBH 7407 - Analysis of Categorical Data (3.0 cr)
· PUBH 6915 - Nutrition Assessment (2.0 cr)
· PUBH 8804 - Advanced Quantitative Methods Seminar (3.0 cr)
Content Area Requirement (4 credits minimum)
Take at least 4 credits from the following:
PUBH 6333 - Principles of Human Behavior I (2.0 cr)
PUBH 6334 - Human Behavior II (2.0 cr)
Additional Credits (13 credits minimum)
Select courses in consultation with the advisor. Courses can include biological methods/statistics courses listed above not used to satisfy the biological methods/statistics requirement, or other appropriate courses.
 
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PUBH 7401 - Fundamentals of Biostatistical Inference
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Part of two-course sequence intended for PhD students in School of Public Health who need rigorous approach to probability/statistics/statistical inference with applications to research in public health. prereq: Background in calculus; intended for PhD students in public hlth and other hlth sci who need rigorous approach to probability/statistics and statistical inference with applications to research in public hlth
PUBH 6348 - Writing Research Grants
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Focuses on NIH research grants. Mechanisms of grant writing: specific aims, hypotheses, innovation, background, approaches, evaluation analyses, principles of informed consent, budget development, and grant-review process.
PUBH 6742 - Ethics in Public Health: Research and Policy
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Introduction to ethical issues in public health research/policy. Ethical analysis. Recognizing/analyzing moral issues. prereq: Public health [MPH or certificate] student or [clinical research MS or Environmental health [MS or PhD] or epidemiology PhD or [health services research, policy/admin [MS or PhD]] major or instr consent
PUBH 8341 - Advanced Epidemiologic Methods: Concepts
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Conceptual foundations of fundamental issues in epidemiologic methodology. How/why a given method, design, or approach might help explain population health. Strengths, limits, and potential alternatives for a given approach.
PUBH 8342 - Advanced Epidemiologic Methods: Applications
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Applied methodology course designed for students in the Epi PhD program. Examples and readings are aimed at clinical/biological and social/behavioral track students.
GRAD 8101 - Teaching in Higher Education
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: OPT No Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Teaching methods/techniques. Active learning, critical thinking, practice teaching, and preparing a portfolio to document/reflect upon teaching. Readings, discussion, peer teaching, e-mail dialog, reflective writing, co-facilitation of course. prereq: Non-Degree Students: contact pffcollege consentumn.edu with questions about registration. If adding a section after first class meeting, contact your instructor as soon as you enroll.
GRAD 8200 - Teaching and Learning Topics in Higher Education
Credits: 1.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Create course materials for context/discipline. Assess student learning. Write action plan. Topics may include active learning in sciences, teaching with technology, multicultural education, teaching in clinical settings, learning-community course design.
PUBH 8888 - Thesis Credit: Doctoral
Credits: 1.0 -24.0 [max 100.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 24 cr required; For Environmental Health Students ONLY: Contact Director of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Student Coordinator.
PUBH 7420 - Clinical Trials: Design, Implementation, and Analysis
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Introduction to and methodology of randomized clinical trials. Design issues, sample size, operational details, interim monitoring, data analysis issues, overviews. prereq: 6451 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in 6451 or 7406 or instr consent
PUBH 6363 - Design and Analysis of Group-Randomized Trials in Epidemiology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Community, school-based, and work-site trials. Trials involving randomization of other identifiable groups to study conditions. Experimental and quasi-experimental designs and threats to their validity.
PUBH 7402 - Biostatistics Modeling and Methods
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Second of two-course sequence. Rigorous approach to probability/statistics, statistical inference. Applications to research in public health. prereq: 7401; intended for PhD students in health sciences
PUBH 7430 - Statistical Methods for Correlated Data
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Correlated data arise in many situations, particularly when observations are made over time and space or on individuals who share certain underlying characteristics. This course covers techniques for exploring and describing correlated data, along with statistical methods for estimating population parameters (mostly means) from these data. The focus will be primarily on generalized linear models (both with and without random effects) for normally and non-normally distributed data. Wherever possible, techniques will be illustrated using real-world examples. Computing will be done using R and SAS.
PUBH 7407 - Analysis of Categorical Data
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Contingency tables, odds ratio, relative risk, chi-square tests, log-linear models, logistic regression, conditional logistic regression, Poisson regression, matching, generalized linear models for independent data. SAS/S-Plus used throughout. prereq: 7405, [Stat 5102 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in Stat 5102 or Stat 8102 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in Stat 8102]
PUBH 6915 - Nutrition Assessment
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Prerequisites: Public health nutrition major or #
Typically offered: Every Fall
Common nutritional assessment using dietary, biochemical, and anthropometric approaches. Applications of methods, interpretation of results. Hands-on experience, training in common anthropometric methods. prereq: Public health nutrition major or instr consent
PUBH 7445 - Statistics for Human Genetics and Molecular Biology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Introduction to statistical problems arising in molecular biology. Problems in physical mapping (radiation hybrid mapping, DDP), genetic mapping (pedigree analysis, lod scores, TDT), biopolymer sequence analysis (alignment, motif recognition), and micro array analysis. prereq: [6450, [6451 or equiv]] or instr consent; background in molecular biology recommended
PUBH 8141 - Doctoral Seminar in Observational Inference
Credits: 2.0 [max 20.0]
Grading Basis: S-N or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Fundamentals of epidemiologic inference. Methods for designing, analyzing, and interpreting epidemiologic studies.
PUBH 8804 - Advanced Quantitative Methods Seminar
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Understand/competently use advanced quantitative methods in applied social science, policy, demographic research. Methods considered largely within or related to framework of regression analysis. Effort will be made to reflect interests of class. prereq: This is an advanced, doctoral-level course. Students are expected to have completed a full year of doctoral-level introductory statistical and/or econometric classes in their respective field prior to enrolling in this course (e.g., PubH 7401-2, ApEc8211-2, SOC 8801-8811). Exceptions may be granted with instr consent.
PUBH 6386 - Public Health Aspects of Cardiovascular Disease
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Well-established risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), prevention of CVD, and national recommendations for treatment/prevention. Emerging risk factors, current controversies in CVD.
PUBH 6387 - Cancer Epidemiology
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Epidemiologic aspects of cancer. Theories of carcinogenesis, patterns of incidence and mortality, site-specific risk factors. Issues of cancer control and prevention.
PUBH 6385 - Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Principles and/ methods. Strategies for disease control and prevention, including immunization. Relevance of modes of transmission of specific agents for disease spread and prevention. Public health consequences of infectious diseases at local, national, and international levels.
PUBH 6381 - Genetics in Public Health
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Mechanisms of molecular genetics. Issues related to medical/public health genetics, including basis of human diversity, Human Genome Project, novel genetic mechanisms underlying diseases, ethical/legal issues. prereq: Grad student or professional school student or instr consent
PUBH 6389 - Nutritional Epidemiology
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Nutrition/disease relationships through application of epidemiologic methods. Characterization of various exposures to food/nutrient intakes, biological basis for nutrition/disease relationships. Studies of specific chronic diseases and nutritional intake. Design/interpretation of studies using nutritional measures. prereq: [[6320 or 6330 or 6341], [Epidemiology MPH or Public Health Nutrition MPH or Epidemiology PhD student]] or instr consent
PUBH 6140 - Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Principles/concepts in identifying health effects in workplace. Strategies for identifying excess risk, evaluating strengths/weaknesses of research techniques, assessing bias/confounding. prereq: Coursework in epidemiology, biostatistics
PUBH 6363 - Design and Analysis of Group-Randomized Trials in Epidemiology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Community, school-based, and work-site trials. Trials involving randomization of other identifiable groups to study conditions. Experimental and quasi-experimental designs and threats to their validity.
PUBH 7420 - Clinical Trials: Design, Implementation, and Analysis
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Introduction to and methodology of randomized clinical trials. Design issues, sample size, operational details, interim monitoring, data analysis issues, overviews. prereq: 6451 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in 6451 or 7406 or instr consent
PUBH 7402 - Biostatistics Modeling and Methods
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Second of two-course sequence. Rigorous approach to probability/statistics, statistical inference. Applications to research in public health. prereq: 7401; intended for PhD students in health sciences
PUBH 7430 - Statistical Methods for Correlated Data
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Correlated data arise in many situations, particularly when observations are made over time and space or on individuals who share certain underlying characteristics. This course covers techniques for exploring and describing correlated data, along with statistical methods for estimating population parameters (mostly means) from these data. The focus will be primarily on generalized linear models (both with and without random effects) for normally and non-normally distributed data. Wherever possible, techniques will be illustrated using real-world examples. Computing will be done using R and SAS.
PUBH 7407 - Analysis of Categorical Data
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Contingency tables, odds ratio, relative risk, chi-square tests, log-linear models, logistic regression, conditional logistic regression, Poisson regression, matching, generalized linear models for independent data. SAS/S-Plus used throughout. prereq: 7405, [Stat 5102 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in Stat 5102 or Stat 8102 or concurrent registration is required (or allowed) in Stat 8102]
PUBH 6915 - Nutrition Assessment
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Prerequisites: Public health nutrition major or #
Typically offered: Every Fall
Common nutritional assessment using dietary, biochemical, and anthropometric approaches. Applications of methods, interpretation of results. Hands-on experience, training in common anthropometric methods. prereq: Public health nutrition major or instr consent
PUBH 8804 - Advanced Quantitative Methods Seminar
Credits: 3.0 [max 6.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Understand/competently use advanced quantitative methods in applied social science, policy, demographic research. Methods considered largely within or related to framework of regression analysis. Effort will be made to reflect interests of class. prereq: This is an advanced, doctoral-level course. Students are expected to have completed a full year of doctoral-level introductory statistical and/or econometric classes in their respective field prior to enrolling in this course (e.g., PubH 7401-2, ApEc8211-2, SOC 8801-8811). Exceptions may be granted with instr consent.
PUBH 6333 - Principles of Human Behavior I
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Theoretical perspective on etiology/modification of health behavior in individuals/communities. prereq: Epi PhD student or instr consent
PUBH 6334 - Human Behavior II
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Critical evaluation of major behavioral public health intervention research. Experience in research designs/methods in health behavior intervention. prereq: [6333, Epidemiology grad student in behavioral track] or instr consent