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University of Colorado Denver


Doctor of Philosophy


The PhD program in Epidemiology trains highly skilled individuals in epidemiologic research and its application to public health to prepare graduates for research and teaching careers in the health sciences.  

The curriculum provides training in epidemiologic methods for clinical, observational and community-based research including study design, statistical analysis, biological principles and disease etiology to meet the rigors of the scientific community. The program's etiologic orientation is based on the premise that knowledge of genetic, behavioral, environmental, and physiologic factors contribute to understanding the underlying causes of complex human diseases needed to develop effective preventive measures.

The epidemiology faculty has a strong base of funded research projects providing students with many opportunities for research support and data for dissertation projects.  Students study with experts in cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, genetic epidemiology, obesity, maternal and child health, and behavioral interventions. The extensive affiliate and clinical faculty reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the problems under study. This extensive network of talented colleagues in other institutions and in community practice allows enhanced teaching and research opportunities that are relevant to Colorado's populations.

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A bachelor's degree, master's degree or higher. It is encouraged that the degree be in a related field (public health, epidemiology, biostatistics, health sciences, nursing, etc.), or MD, DVM, DO
An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4 point scale), and a graduate GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4 point scale).

Coursework pre-requisites

Students are required to have taken two semesters of calculus and one semester of organic chemistry. Prior coursework in epidemiology, biological sciences, and public health at the under-graduate level or above is also required, and will have to be approved by the Program Director. Students without sufficient epidemiology, public health or biological training may be accepted into the program contingent upon the completion of specified science courses prior to matriculation or within an approved period of time after admission (e.g, EPID 6630, PUBH 6600, or equivalent)

PhD Epidemiology Curriculum




Core Epidemiology Coursework  


Analytic Epidemiology

EPID 6631

Advanced Epidemiology

EPID 6632 3

Core Biostatistics Coursework


Biostatistics Methods I

BIOS 6611

Biostatistics Methods II

BIOS 6612

Research Methods


Research Methods

EPID 6626 3

Field Methods

EPID 7911 3

Research Grant

EPID 7912 3

Analytical Methods in Epidemiology *

EPID 7915 4

Additional Coursework

Biomedical Sciences




Research Ethics

CLSC 7151 1


EPID 8990 30 




    *A minimum of 4 credits from the following:

    • BIOS 6623 (Advanced Data Analysis)   3
    • BIOS 6655 (Statistical Methods in Genetic Associations) 3
    • EPID 7915 (Analytic Epidemiology modules)  1
    • Ex: Survival Analysis; Health Risk Assessment; Survey Data Analysis; GIS  


  • Descriptive Epidemiology
  • Describe a public health problem in terms of magnitude, person, time and place.
  • Apply basic terminology and definitions of epidemiology.
  • Identify key sources of data for epidemiologic purposes.
  • Calculate basic epidemiology measures.
  • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of epidemiologic data.
  • Draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic data.
  • Biology
  • Complete course work in human pathophysiology, with special competence in the disease addressed in the student's dissertation.
  • Problem Conceptualization
  • Review and critically evaluate the literature.
  • Synthesize available information.
  • Identify meaningful gaps in knowledge.
  • Formulate an original hypothesis of the research problem.
  • Study Design
  • Design a study using any of the main study designs.
  • Understand the advantages and limitations of each design for addressing specific problems.
  • Calculate the requisite sample size.
  • Identify and minimize sources of bias.
  • Use basic population sampling methods.
  • Data Collection
  • Use methods of measurement � design data collection forms; determine the validity of the instrument; identify the presence and magnitude of measurement error; adjust for measurement error.
  • Monitor progress of data collection; develop and assess quality control measures.
  • Data Management
  • Create data files appropriate for analysis.
  • Data Analysis
  • Use statistical packages to calculate and interpret descriptive statistics, analyze categorical data, and perform multivariable regression, survival and longitudinal analysis.
  • Examine data for the presence of confounding and interaction and manage them appropriately.
  • Communication
  • Communicate research results to scientists and non-scientists (includes preparation of a publishable manuscript and presentation of research proposals).
  • Ethics
  • Understand the concepts of human subjects protections and confidentiality.
  • Apply this understanding in the conduct of P-research.
  • Knowledge of Leading Public Health Problems
  • Identify major chronic and infectious disease, their general pathophysiology, descriptive epidemiology and risk factors.
  • Identify leading causes of death.
  • Know the principles of screening and of surveillance systems.
  • Understand the global, cultural, and social context of health problems and how these influence the conduct, interpretation, and dissemination of research studies.
  • Substantive Area
  • Demonstrate mastery of a substantive area, including the application of that knowledge in conducting research related to a specific topic.


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