The Doctor of Philosophy program in epidemiology requires a minimum of 78 s.h. of graduate credit. Graduate students in epidemiology must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 3.00. Those who receive a grade of C in 7 s.h. of course work may be dismissed from the program.

All doctoral students must successfully complete a qualifying examination, a comprehensive examination, a dissertation prospectus, and a dissertation. The research topic and content, which vary depending on the program of study, must be approved by the student's dissertation committee. Other degree requirements include approved electives chosen from Department of Epidemiology courses (prefix EPID) and other University of Iowa courses.

Students are required to attend 80 percent of all Department of Epidemiology seminar meetings and journal club meetings for five semesters; attendance during a student's enrollment in the M.S. program does not count toward this requirement. Students also must present a departmental seminar on their dissertation research and an oral presentation or scientific poster presentation at an international, national, regional, state, or University level before they may graduate.

The Doctor of Philosophy in epidemiology requires the following course work.

Core Courses

Students earn 39-41 s.h. in the required core, as follows.

All of these:
EPID:4400Epidemiology I: Principles3
EPID:5241Statistical Methods in Epidemiology4
EPID:5600Introduction to Epidemiology Data Management and Analysis3
EPID:5610Intermediate Epidemiology Data Analysis with SAS and R3
EPID:5925Epidemiology Journal Club: Evaluating the Literature0
EPID:6050Research in Epidemiology3
EPID:6100Writing a Grant Proposal3
EPID:6400Epidemiology II: Advanced Methods4
EPID:7400Epidemiology III: Theories3
BIOS:4120Introduction to Biostatistics3
CPH:6100Essentials of Public Health1
One of these:
BIOS:6210Applied Survival Analysis3
BIOS:6310Introductory Longitudinal Data Analysis3
One of these:
PATH:5270Pathogenesis of Major Human Diseases3
PATH:8133Introduction to Human Pathology for Graduate Students4
One of these:
HHP:3500Human Physiology3
MPB:5153Graduate Physiology4

Focus Area

Each Ph.D. student must declare a focus area. Working with the focus area coordinator, students develop a study plan that will enable them to develop substantive knowledge in a specific area that will lead to important original research. Focus areas for Ph.D. students include chronic disease/life course epidemiology, clinical and health services epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, infectious disease epidemiology, and injury epidemiology. For lists of required course work in each focus area, see Ph.D. in Epidemiology on the department's website. Individualized Ph.D. programs may be completed with the department's approval. 


Students must complete a total of 23-25 s.h. of elective course work. They must earn 3 s.h. in a Department of Epidemiology course (prefix EPID) outside their focus area and at least 20 s.h. in courses in their focus area. Course selection must be approved by a student's advisor and Ph.D. plan of study committee.


All doctoral students must successfully complete a Ph.D. thesis.


Applicants to Ph.D. program in the Department of Epidemiology must apply through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS); they also must apply for admission to the Graduate College through the University of Iowa Office of Admissions. For detailed application information, visit Prospective Students/How to Apply on the Department of Epidemiology website.

The epidemiology faculty considers several factors when evaluating applications for admission, including Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test scores, grade-point average, letters of recommendation, intent and motivation for graduate study, and research interests. Students with deficiencies in one area may be admitted if all other components of their application are very strong.

Ph.D. program applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree (an M.S. or M.P.H. usually is required) and must have a cumulative g.p.a. of at least 3.00. Courses in the biological, physical, and mathematical sciences provide important background; one semester of calculus, one semester of statistics or biostatistics, and two semesters of biological sciences are highly recommended. Computing skills also are desirable.

All applicants to the Ph.D. program must have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or the Dental Admission Test (DAT), scoring above the 50th percentile, within four years before applying to the epidemiology program. The department prefers recent test scores, particularly for applicants who completed educational programs and/or courses after taking one of these tests.

Applicants whose first language is not English and who do not hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada (except Quebec), Africa (English speaking), Australia, or New Zealand must score at least 100 (Internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who score 81-99 (Internet-based) are required to take English fluency courses. Applicants who score below 81 are not considered for admission. In place of TOEFL scores, the department accepts International English Testing System (IELTS) scores of 7.0 or higher, with no subscore below 6.0.

All Ph.D. applicants and students are required to have strong written and oral communication skills.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.

Application deadline for fall entrance to the Ph.D. in epidemiology is April 1.

A limited number of graduate research assistantships are available for advanced Ph.D. students; for information, consult the department. For information on financing education through jobs, grants, and loans, contact the University's Office of Student Financial Aid.

Scholarships for incoming Ph.D. students are available; for information, visit the Department of Epidemiology website.

Opportunities for funded predoctoral fellowships are available. Funded positions sponsored by federal agencies are available only to U.S. citizens.

The program prepares graduate students for careers as scientists, teachers, and practitioners of epidemiologic methods. Employment opportunities exist in academic institutions; local, state, and federal health agencies; and in private enterprises.