Epidemiology - PhD

Epidemiology is the science that quantifies the relationship of exposure to disease development in humans and offers the possibility of altering that risk through intervention. Epidemiologic research has often provided the basis for significant public health decisions, such as those involving use of tobacco, well before individual disease mechanisms were understood.

Angie HetrickMy hope for the future of public health is that local and federal policies are corrected and designed with evidence-based science and research ... Public health [should be] for all people.

Angie Hetrick, PhD Student, Epidemiology

Our faculty and students are involved in observational studies, particularly etiological investigations designed to identify causes of disease, and in intervention studies designed to reduce the risk of disease. We have added new courses in field epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology, epidemiology of injury, epidemiology of tuberculosis, molecular epidemiology, reproductive and perinatal epidemiology, epidemiology of obesity and nutritional epidemiology. Epidemiology and biostatistics are the cornerstones of public health and certainly that is true at The Ohio State University.

We have active research programs in:

  • Cancer epidemiology
  • Epidemiologic methods
  • Nutritional epidemiology
  • Reproductive and perinatal epidemiology
  • Infectious disease epidemiology
  • Injury epidemiology
  • Tobacco control

Students admitted to the PhD degree program are assigned faculty advisors who will provide guidance throughout the program.

Lamuel Bean on campusMany of the contributions to prevent epidemics, pandemics, and health disparities are done in the background, not the front lines. As public health professionals, if we are doing a good job, most people will never know about it.

Lamuel Bean, PhD Student, Epidemiology

Program of Study

The PhD-Epidemiology curriculum requires a minimum of 60 semester credits beyond a master’s degree for a total of 90 credits. A maximum of 30 semester credits of master’s degree work may be applied to PhD requirements if approved by the advisor. Requirements include:

  1. Major field (30 credits)
  2. Research methods (30 credits)
  3. Minor field (15 credits)
  4. Dissertation (15 credits)

View sample curriculum

For detailed additional information about specific requirements, students are directed to the College of Public Health (CPH) Graduate Student Handbook and to The Ohio State University Graduate School Handbook.

Recommended Preparation

Applicants to the doctoral program must have earned a master’s degree in epidemiology or a related field. Admission decisions are made largely on GPA (particularly in quantitative courses), recommendations, personal statement, and experience. Minimum GPA is generally 3.0, GRE is optional. The personal statement is examined for writing ability, motivation for the PhD degree in epidemiology, and for goodness of fit with the research interests of a faculty advisor. In their personal statement applicants are strongly encouraged to outline their research interests and detail how these align with the expertise of one or more faculty members.

For information regarding application materials, test scores and codes, and decision timelines see our frequently asked questions page.