Disease Ecology PhD Programs

Within this article, the admissions requirements for a PhD in disease ecology will be outlined, as well as general program requirements and the most common courses that students will need to complete in order to obtain this degree. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How to Earn a PhD in Disease Ecology

A PhD in disease ecology is designed for students who wish to pursue a postsecondary teaching opportunity or a career in a public agency, social advocacy group or government department related to disease control and research. In order to complete the program, students should expect to take courses related to responsible research, biology and the fundamentals of ecology and evolution. In total, a PhD in disease ecology can take 5-6 years to complete and concludes with a final exam and the defense of each student's PhD dissertation.

Responsible Conduct of Research

This course prepares graduates for responsibly handling funding requests and research design that require human samples. Within this course, students learn about the different funding agencies for disease ecology research and how to design research that fits their ethical requirements. Students analyze past research studies and work in groups to understand ethical dilemmas. By the end of this course, students are prepared to design their own research proposal and ensure that it meets ethical guidelines.

Vaccines and Immunity

Within this type of course, students will apply their knowledge of pathogens and transmission of disease across human populations, to understand how vaccines can create immunity. The history of vaccines and their creation will be studied, as well as how they can be used to manage diseases over time. Once students have completed this course, they will gain a greater understanding of the research process behind vaccine creation and how vaccines are affected by economics and ethical beliefs.

Biology of Populations

Courses related to the biology of populations look at the research surrounding this topic and how evolution and different behaviors occur within species populations. Students will have a deeper understanding of how different animal populations interact and create their environments, as well as how pathogens can effect these changes in animal populations. This course can prepare students for research careers related to how infectious diseases evolve and spread within different species as they interact.

Disease Biology

Courses related to disease biology may be formatted in a lecture and case study structure, allowing students to look at different models of host-pathogen interactions and how disease changes over time. An emphasis will be placed on understanding how pathogens invade their host, evolve to avoid eradication and continue to spread through entire populations. By the end of this course, students will be able to apply this knowledge to present day dilemmas related to the infectious diseases that are posing the greatest threat to public health.

Fundamentals of Ecology and Evolution

This type of course will focus on how species populations are structured and formed, as well as how these populations can be conserved and maintained over time. In relation to the ecology of species, students will also apply research focusing on evolution and how this process plays a role in the formation and alterations of animal and human populations. Ultimately, students will combine this knowledge with their understanding of how infectious diseases effect populations and can manipulate evolutionary processes.

Admissions Requirements for a PhD in Disease Ecology

Students who wish to complete a PhD program in disease ecology should expect to provide the transcripts from their undergraduate and master's institutions, as well as at least three letters of recommendation from colleagues in their master's and undergraduate degree programs. A statement of purpose, a letter of intent, and an updated resume should also be submitted for consideration. Many PhD programs require GRE scores to be shared with an application. Schools might also require a minimum master's GPA of 3.0 to ensure students are competitive in the selection process. As many PhD programs aim to develop student's research experience, some institutions require students to research and outline at least two professors they wish to work with during the course of their PhD. This will help schools pair students with the department that fits their research interests the most.

Students who wish to complete a PhD in disease ecology have a wide variety of courses and specializations to choose from within this field, including immunization, conservation biology and evolutionary biology, which can lead to careers in academics, government agencies, and private industries. Ultimately, students need to choose the research specialization that meets their interests and will lead to their desired career path.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Stony Brook University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Stony Brook
  • Old Dominion University

    Campus Locations:

    • Virginia: Norfolk
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Chapel Hill
  • University of Chicago

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Chicago
  • University at Buffalo

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    • New York: Buffalo
  • Princeton University

    Campus Locations:

    • New Jersey: Princeton
  • Kent State University at Kent

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Kent
  • Columbia University in the City of New York

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge