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

Statistical Methods Core Courses

Public Health Core Course

CHB 550 Public Health and Population Wellbeing (3 credits)

Professional Development

EEH 650 Research and Professional Development (0 - 1 credit)

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 credits total)

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:

Taught in even falls (2020, 2022, 2024, etc.):
Taught in odd springs (2021, 2023, 2025, etc.):
Taught in odd falls (2021, 2023, 2025, etc.):
Taught in even springs (2020, 2022, 2024, etc.):

Credit hours total 12 for required epidemiology elective courses.

Graduate Seminar

  • EEH 591 Graduate Seminar (0 credits) - 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 credit)
  • RSC 602 Research Ethics for the Health Sciences (3 credits)

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:

* 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

Primary Data Collection Requirement

All PhD students are required to engage in primary data collection at some point during their program.

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.