​Students prepare for a career in epidemiologic research in academia, government, or the private sector. Our students will master the essential principles and methodology of epidemiological research and practice. Our program offers three areas of specialization:
1) Epidemiologic Methods, 2) Social Epidemiology, and 3) Environmental Epidemiology.

Find out more about the admissions process and deadlines.

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The Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in College Park offers a PhD program in epidemiology with a choice of 3 areas of content specializations: 1) Epidemiologic Methods, 2) Social Epidemiology, and 3) Environmental Epidemiology. Students who choose to specialize in Environmental Epidemiology will take graduate courses offered in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health (MIAEH) to gain expertise in this content area. Our program prepares students for a career in epidemiologic research in academic, government, or private sector settings.

The PhD in Epidemiology requires a minimum of 64 credit hours beyond the master’s degree in epidemiology or public health, including 12 credit hours of dissertation research. If an entering student does not have an MPH degree prior to entering the program they will have to complete 21 additional credits for these fundamental courses. Students entering the program with a master’s degree in a field other than epidemiology are required to take MPH courses in epidemiology and biostatistics to gain competency in these content and method areas. A minimum of 12 credit hours in a specialization cognate area (e.g. Social Epidemiology) is required for specialization (included in the 64 credits).


Upon completion of the PhD in Epidemiology, all students are will be able to demonstrate their ability to:

Epidemiology Common Core Competencies (MPH)

  1. Identify vital statistics and other key sources of data for epidemiological purposes
  2. Describe a public health problem in terms of magnitude, person, time and place
  3. Discuss the principles and limitations of public health screening programs.
  4. Comprehend basic ethical and legal principles pertaining to the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of epidemiologic data
  5. Explain the importance of epidemiology for informing scientific, ethical, economic and political discussion of health issues
  6. Calculate basic epidemiology measures 
  7. Communicate epidemiologic information to lay and professional audiences
  8. Differentiate among the criteria for causality
  9. Draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic data
  10. Describe epidemiologic study designs and assess their strengths and limitations
  11. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of epidemiologic reports

PhD Advanced Epidemiology Cognate Competencies

  1. Critically evaluate social determinants of health
  2. Explain predictors and mechanisms of disease or health events
  3. Calculate advanced epidemiology measures
  4. Critically evaluate measures of association
  5. Design, analyze, and evaluate an epidemiologic study
  6. Critically appraise epidemiologic literature
  7. Demonstrate skills in public health data collection and management
  8. Critically evaluate questionnaire and survey instruments
  9. Design and evaluate interventions to reduce prevalence of major public health problems
  10. Critique the use of meta-analytic statistical techniques
  11. Describe and apply statistical approaches to address threats to validity in epidemiologic studies
  12. Compare clustered data with traditional epidemiologic data from survey and randomized clinical trials
  13. Analyze causal associations
  14. Characterize issues associated with missing data
  15. Appraise how quantitative and qualitative data can be integrated into mixed methods in epidemiologic research

PhD Individualized Research Plan Competencies

  1. Develop expertise in an area of independent research interest


  Course Credits
15 credits
EPIB 610  Foundations of Epidemiology  3
EPIB 611  Intermediate Epidemiology  3
EPIB 650  Biostatistics I 3
EPIB 651  Biostatistics II 3
Data Management in Epidemiologic Studies – in development 3
31 credits
EPIB 612 Epidemiologic Study Design 3
EPIB 620 Chronic Disease Epidemiology OR
EPIB 621 Infectious Disease Epidemiology
EPIB 641 Public Health and Research Ethics 1
EPIB 652 Categorical Data Analysis 3
EPIB 653 Survival Data Analysis OR
EPIB 655 Longitudinal Data Analysis OR
EPIB 698E Bayesian Data Analysis
EPIB 710 Epidemiologic Research Methods 3
Epidemiologic Methods for Primary Research- in development 3
EPIB 788 Critical Readings 3
EPIB 740a Advanced Methods in Epidemiology 3
EPIB 740b Advanced Methods in Epidemiology 3
EPIB 789 Independent Study 3
12 credits

Applied Multivariate Data Analysis-
in development
9 credits TBD by advisement in areas of specialization and advanced methods, such as: EPIB 654 Design and Analysis of Clinical Trials, EPIB 672 Public Health Informatics, MIEH 760 Spatial Epidemiology 9
12 credits

Applied Multivariate Data Analysis - 
in development
9 credits TBD by advisement in areas of specialization and advanced methods, such as EPIB 623 Epidem. of Health Disparites, Place and Health and Population Theory 9
12 credits
MIEH 600 Foundations in Environmental Health (Pre-requisite) 3
MIEH 775 Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology  3
9 credits to be determined by advisement in areas of specialization and advanced methods, such as: MIEH 720 Toxicology, MIEH 740 Risk Assessment, MIEH 771 Exposure Assessment, MIEH 730 Environmental Justice, MIEH 780 Environmental and Occupational Hygiene 9
9-12 credits
Electives with advisement in areas of specialization and advanced methods 9-12
12 credits
EPIB 899  Doctoral Dissertation Research 12
  Total Ph.D. Program in Epidemiology 64


The dissertation format for the EPIB Department is the three paper option, which requires students to prepare three manuscripts which are acceptable for submission to refereed journals. The dissertation is the culminating experience and reflects the candidate’s ability to conduct original, independent research that will expand the body of knowledge in their specialization. 

Our PhD graduates received both post-doctoral and industry positions immediately following graduation. Example positions include:

  • ASPPH/CDC Fellow, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Florida International University