Doctor of Epidemiology: Courses & Specialties

A doctoral degree in epidemiology offers students the chance to further their education. The available specialties and general coursework for doctoral programs is provided for interested students. Schools offering Epidemiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Available Specialties for Doctoral Degrees in Epidemiology

Epidemiology is the study of what causes or prevents various illnesses and diseases and the impact that it has on the population. Students can complete a general Ph.D. in Epidemiology; however, many programs offer specializations for students interested in focusing on a particular area of epidemiology, such as a disease or certain populations. Available specialties in epidemiology include the following:

  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Environmental epidemiology
  • Epidemiological methods
  • Genetics
  • Infectious disease
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Renal disease
  • Reproductive, perinatal, and pediatric outcomes

Students who choose a program with specialties will take general epidemiological coursework, along with courses specific to their chosen specialty. For example, students specializing in cancer epidemiology may take courses in what can cause the disease. Along with specialized doctoral degrees, students can also pursue a Ph.D. in Population Health Services with a concentration in Epidemiology

Epidemiology Doctoral Degree Coursework

Several of the general courses students may expect to see in the doctoral program curriculum are outlined below.


Epidemiology doctoral students will likely take courses in statistics. Some programs may offer introductory courses in the area, which will provide students with an overview of statistical principles. Other programs could offer intermediate statistics courses, with a focus on the role statistics plays in clinical research trials. Students will explore topics such as survival analysis and variance analyzing in both non-inferiority and superiority clinical research trials. The learning outcomes for statistics coursework includes the ability to gather and organize clinical data information, the ability to evaluate clinical data information such as time-to-event, and the expertise to create the statistical sections of clinical research trials.

Quantitative Bias Analysis and Quantitative Methods

Courses on quantitative bias analysis focus on how bias can affect clinical research and allows professionals to make educated guesses on associated biases and to quantify the uncertainty surrounding them. Students can learn about various types of quantitative bias analysis, including probabilistic, simple, and multidimensional. Quantitative methods courses will train students on how these tools are utilized to analyze community health and finding methods to improve it. Students may delve into topics such as the role of uncertainty in statistics and what determines the accuracy and quality of statistics.

Categorical Analysis of Data

Doctoral students in epidemiology may learn how to analyze categorical outcome data. They will study concepts such as ordinal data methods, Poisson regression, how to calculate sample sizes, smoothed regression modeling, how to deal with missing data, and cluster analysis. Some coursework may especially focus on utilizing programming languages like R and SAS.

Creating and Implementing Cohort Studies

This advanced epidemiology course is geared toward students interested in enhancing their knowledge of creating and implementing cohort studies. Students will analyze both current and past scholarly papers that cover subjects like the principles and implementation of intermediate endpoints. The course instructor will illustrate how each scholarly article is related to an aspect of creating cohort studies.

Conducting Responsible and Ethical Research Experiments

Some doctoral programs in epidemiology may require students to complete a course in how to conduct responsible and ethical research experiments. Responsible and ethical research experiments must be conducted with integrity while investigating scientific inquiries. Students will learn about current best practices in the field of epidemiology for conducting ethical and responsible experiments. This course is often a required part of a doctoral program curriculum due to the 2007 America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) Act, which focuses on training scientific and engineering students on the importance of conducting ethical and responsible research.

How to Write a Research Proposal

Doctoral students may take a course on how to write a research proposal. They will learn about the basics of organizing their ideas, data, and other information into a proper research proposal. Students must be able to articulate their information into a strong research proposal in order to apply for funding for their research.

Epidemiology Doctoral Program Admissions Criteria

Doctoral programs in epidemiology require at least the minimum of a bachelor's degree, with some doctoral programs preferring or requiring a master's in a health-related discipline. Candidates usually have to submit supporting materials as part of the admissions process. This supporting documentation can include official or unofficial transcripts, letters of recommendation, official test scores from exams like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), a resume, a personal statement, and a description of their personal and professional goals. Some doctoral programs have prerequisite coursework requirements in areas such as statistics or biostatistics, calculus, biological sciences, or statistical software. In addition, prospective doctoral students may need a minimum grade point average (GPA) in order to apply to their program of interest.

Doctoral epidemiology degrees are available in the general field, but also in specializations such as aging or genetics. Prospective students need at least a bachelor's degree to apply for such programs.

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

  • University of Alabama

    Campus Locations:

    • Alabama: Birmingham
  • University of Rochester

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Rochester
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Chapel Hill
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa

    Campus Locations:

    • Hawaii: Honolulu
  • University of Colorado Denver

    Campus Locations:

    • Colorado: Denver
  • University at Buffalo

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Buffalo
  • Tulane University of Louisiana

    Campus Locations:

    • Louisiana: New Orleans
  • Tufts University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Medford
  • SUNY at Albany

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Albany
  • Loma Linda University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Loma Linda