PhD in Epidemiology

The Doctoral Program in Epidemiology provides advanced training to individuals already holding a graduate degree in public health or a related health science. To receive the PhD degree, students must complete and defend a doctoral dissertation based on original research and specific to a selected topic in epidemiology. The goal of the doctoral program is to educate candidates to become independent, productive, and creative research scientists in the field of epidemiology. Graduates of this program will be prepared to assume prominent positions in research, teaching, or health administration and are trained to address some of the most urgent public health issues facing us today.

Students complete at least 32 credits (eight courses) beyond the master’s degree. It is expected that at least 24 of these credits be from the epidemiology and biostatistics course offerings at the School of Public Health. A B must be earned in these courses. Students may also choose from other courses offered at the School and pertinent graduate courses at Boston University. The intent of the coursework is to provide a firm foundation in epidemiologic principles and methods, biostatistical methods, and general public health and medical knowledge.

Students must pass a comprehensive written examination to evaluate their readiness to begin dissertation research and are required to develop a written dissertation proposal outlining the nature of the research. The dissertation is prepared and written under the direction of the candidate’s dissertation committee (comprised of the dissertation chair and at least two other members). The research usually involves collecting, processing, and analyzing original data. When the dissertation is completed, the candidate defends his or her work before the dissertation committee and other faculty. Students must adhere to dissertation submission deadlines and requirements.

It is expected that applicants have a post-baccalaureate degree in epidemiology or another health-related discipline (an MPH, MS, or equivalent degree). The PhD program must be completed within seven years of first registration.

Minimum residency requirements are the equivalent of two consecutive regular semesters of full-time graduate study at Boston University. Students who have completed their course requirements must register for EP 980 each subsequent fall and spring semester as continuing students and pay the continuing student fee (the equivalent of 2 credits per semester) and student health insurance until they have completed all requirements for the degree. Authorized leaves of absence, approved by the Epidemiology Doctoral Committee, are the only means of waiving the residency and registration requirements.

All PhD students must adhere to the Doctoral Graduation Calendar in preparing and submitting the dissertation in 2017–2018.

All SPH students will need a laptop or tablet for classes, purchased according to the recommendations of the Medical Campus Information Technology professionals.