Requirements and Curriculum

Required Courses

Principles and Methods of Epidemiology Core Courses

Statistical Methods Core Courses

Public Health Core Course

Professional Development

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

Credit hours total 36 for required core courses.

Epidemiology Electives Courses for PhD
Choose four of the following courses (3 credits unless otherwise noted):

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)

Credits for required PhD courses = 46 credits

MSTP Seminar

  • In the first two years of the PhD program, students take the MSTP Research Seminar, a course that integrates clinical and research training. Distinguished university faculty present biweekly seminars on current advances in basic and clinical research across the biological and medical disciplines, and students participate weekly in a supervised clinical experience.
  • MSTP Seminar (1 credit) – take 4 semesters in the first 2 years
  • Credits for required MSTP seminar = 4 credits
  • Students meet all requirements of the UB Graduate School for completion of the PhD in epidemiology. Afterward, they return to the medical school’s standard third- and fourth-year curriculum to complete their medical education, with the MSTP Research Seminar integrated with the remaining courses.

Recommended Options to Fulfill the Balance of Remaining Credit Hours to Achieve 72

The remaining credits needed for the MD/PHD student to meet 72 credits are tailored to the trainee's particular interests and needs and are planned in consultation with the MS and PhD Graduate Director.

Possible courses that doctoral students are recommended to take to meet credit needs include:

  • EEH 697 Independent Study PhD (1-9 credits)
  • EEH 698 Directed Research (1-15 credits)

PhD students can also choose to register for additional dissertation credits above the required 1 credit:

  • EEH 700 Dissertation Guidance (1-12 credits)

*Course is designed for advanced doctoral students. 

Additional PhD Degree Requirements

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 students. 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.