Requirements and Curriculum

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The PhD requires 72 credit hours of classroom coursework, directed research and dissertation credits.

The UB Graduate School requires a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and a minimum grade of B in all coursework to count towards your degree.

Required Courses

All courses are 3 credit hours unless otherwise indicated.

* This course is designed for advanced doctoral students.

Principles and Methods of Epidemiology Core Courses

  • EEH 501 Principles of Epidemiology (4)
    Must be completed in the first semester.
  • EEH 502 Advanced Methodology (3)
  • EEH 601 Advanced Epidemiologic Study Designs (2)*
  • EEH 602 Theory and Implementation in Clinical Trial Design (2)

Statistical Methods Core Courses

  • EEH 505 Application of Biostatistics to Epidemiology I (3)
    Must be completed in the first semester.
  • EEH 611 Analysis of Health Data * (4)
  • STA 527 Statistical Analysis I (4)
    Must be completed in the first semester.
  • STA 528 Statistical Analysis II (4)
  • STA 529 Statistical Analysis III (4)

Public Health Core Course

CHB 550 Public Health and Population Wellbeing (3)

Professional Development

EEH 650 Research and Professional Development (0 - 1)

PhD students are required to sign up for 1 credit of EEH 650 in the fall and spring semesters of the third  year of their program of study. PhD students are required to sign up for 0 credits in all other semesters in the program. (2)

PhD Dissertation Guidance

EEH 700 Dissertation Guidance* (a minimum of 1 credit required)

Credit hours total 36 for required core courses.


Epidemiology Electives Courses for PhD

Choose four of the following courses.

Taught every year:

  • EEH 510 Principles of Measurement in Public Health (3, spring semester)
  • EEH 570 Cancer Epidemiology (3, spring semester)
  • EEH 571 Epidemiology of Cardiovascular Disease (3, spring semester)
  • EEH 573 Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (3, fall semester)
  • EEH 575 Epidemiologic Applications to Environmental Health (3, fall semester)
Taught in even falls (2020, 2022, 2024, etc.):
  • EEH 673 Molecular Epidemiology (3) *
Taught in odd springs (2021, 2023, 2025, etc.):
  • EEH 572 Nutritional Epidemiology (3)
  • EEH 574 Epidemics and Outbreaks (3)
Taught in odd falls (2021, 2023, 2025, etc.):
  • EEH 577 Perinatal Epidemiology (3)
Taught in even springs (2020, 2022, 2024, etc.):
  • EEH 610 Fundamentals of Grant Development (3) - will be taught again in 2022, not 2020 *
  • EEH 670 Advanced Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention (3)*
  • EEH 672 The Role of Physical Activity in the Etiology, Treatment and Prevention of Chronic Disease (3) *
  • EEH 674 Fundamentals of Genetic Epidemiology (3) *

Credit hours total 12 for required epidemiology elective courses.

Graduate Seminar

  • EEH 591 Graduate Seminar (0) - All PhD students are required to present at a Graduate Seminar before scheduling their dissertation defense.

Ethics Course/Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training
All doctoral students must obtain formal training in the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR). All PhD students are required to take and pass the following online course:

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) online course with a score of 80% or higher (0 credits)

PhD students are strongly recommended to take one of the following courses in addition to CITI:

  • RPG 504 Responsible Conduct of Research (1)
  • RSC 602 Research Ethics for the Health Sciences (3)

Recommended Options to Fulfill Remaining Credit Hours Balance

The remaining courses to meet the required 72 credits will be tailored to your interests and needs, and planned in consultation with your faculty advisor.

These may include:

  • Any courses listed above as epidemiology electives
  • Other EEH classes
  • EEH 697 Independent Study PhD * (1-9)
  • EEH 698 Directed Research * (1-15)
  • EEH 700 Dissertation Guidance * (1-12)

* This course is designed for advanced doctoral students.

Courses taken outside of the following departments must first be approved by the MS/PhD graduate director: Epidemiology and Environmental Health; Biostatistics; Community Health and Health Behavior; Roswell Park's Natural Sciences or Roswell Park's Cancer Prevention and Control.

Additional Degree Requirements Relevant to the PhD

Teaching Assistantship Requirement

PhD students are required to have a Teaching Assistant (TA) experience for a minimum of 10 hours/week for one semester during their program.

Scientific Communications Requirement

PhD students must demonstrate experience in both written and oral communication of scientific research.

General/Analytic Preliminary Exam

PhD students are required to pass a general/analytic preliminary exam designed to assess whether the student has sufficient knowledge essential for conducting advanced epidemiology research toward a doctoral degree; it focuses on general epidemiologic methods, including data analysis and interpretation. The examination includes both written and oral components. Students are expected to sit for this exam at the end of their second year in the doctoral program.

Specialty Exam/Dissertation Proposal Defense

PhD students are required to design and undertake significant hypothesis-driven original independent epidemiological research equivalent to three publishable manuscripts within one or more overarching content area(s). This research will be conducted under the supervision of your major professor and a dissertation committee. After the written dissertation proposal is approved by all committee members, the student sits for a written specialty exam to determine whether the student has sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge in their specialty area to successfully complete their proposed project. PhD students are required to pass the written component of the specialty exam, after which they will have an open oral proposal defense (inclusive of the written specialty exam). This should be completed within one year after completion of the general/analytic prelim exam.

Dissertation Defense

Through the dissertation, you will design, implement, complete and report on significant and original, independent epidemiologic research. You will conduct your research under the supervision of your major professor and a dissertation committee.

Your dissertation research culminates in a dissertation defense required to be passed by all PhD student. You will present and formally defend your thesis to your major professor, your dissertation committee and the MS/PhD graduate director.

Additional details on these requirements are provided in the View the Epidemiology and Environmental Health Graduate Student Handbook.

Cancer Epidemiology Curriculum

View the full curriculum of this multidisciplinary cancer training within the PhD program.