Academic Programs Catalog

College of Human Medicine

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Graduate Study
Epidemiology - Doctor of Philosophy

The objective of the Ph.D. degree program is to provide students with the epidemiological and biostatistical skills that will enable them to undertake the highest levels of clinical and epidemiologic research. The program trains students to participate both in public health activities such as health planning, disease control, and community health education and in research into the causation of disease.


To be considered for admission to the program:

  1. an applicant must have earned a master of science or a master of public health in epidemiology degree with at least 40 credits.
  2. applicants who earned their master of science or master of public health in epidemiology at an institution other than Michigan State University will be evaluated individually by the department to determine if any additional collateral course work will be required. Credits earned in collateral courses will not count toward the Ph.D. in Epidemiology.
  3. submit GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores, or MCAT scores.
  4. present evidence of competency in English (TOEFL or MELAB scores) with their application if their native language is not English.
  5. submit three letters of recommendation.
  6. submit a statement of purpose.
  7. submit official transcripts.

Applicants with strong academic records who are in the process of completing a master of science or a master of public health in epidemiology may be admitted on a provisional basis. The first 40 credits applied towards the completion of a master of science or a master of public health in epidemiology may not be counted toward the Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the University and the College of Human Medicine, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Epidemiology

1. Complete the following core courses (9 credits):  
  EPI 805 Readings in the Historical Roots of Epidemological Thought 3
  EPI 910 Themes in Contemporary Epidemiology 3
  EPI 920 Advanced Methods in Epidemiology and Applied Statistics 3
2. One of the following courses (3 credits):  
  EPI 950 Advanced Biostatistical Methods in Epidemiology 3
  STT 847 Analysis of Survival Data 3
3. Complete 15 credits of 800-900 level course work approved in advance by the student's guidance committee.  
4. Attendance at 80% of all presentations in the departmental epidemiology seminar series during the period of course work.  
5. Attendance at monthly Doctoral Journal Club meetings.  
6. Pass a comprehensive written examination which will cover the field of epidemiology in general and the candidate’s area of special interest and study.  
7. Successfully complete 24 credits of Epidemiology 999  doctoral dissertation research that demonstrates original research in epidemiology and public health.  
8. Successful oral defense of the dissertation.  

Academic Standards

A student who fails the comprehensive examination or the final oral defense of the dissertation may repeat either examination only once, within six  months of the first examination.