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PhD in Epidemiology

PhD in Epidemiology

Our Epidemiology graduate programs equip you to advance the health of entire populations.

As a partnership between two high-level research universities with commitments to health-promoting social change, the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health (SPH) provides a uniquely comprehensive setting for pursuing training in one of our graduate degrees in Epidemiology. You will learn from and collaborate with epidemiologists, biostatisticians, policy professionals, behavioral/social scientists, and other nationally prominent experts in medicine and other clinical professions, environmental science, health administration, and other fields. Your Epidemiology degree will cover the full spectrum of design and analytic methods used to conduct epidemiologic studies in public health settings.  You will gain first-hand experience in analyzing, interpreting, and reporting epidemiologic data to a variety of public health professionals.

Faculty in the OHSU-PSU SPH’s pioneering Epidemiology programs study exposures such as genetic and molecular factors; diet, physical activity, and sleep; worksite, school, and healthcare system characteristics; structural racism and other social determinants of health; environmental pollutants, community design, and social and economic policy. Our faculty study the prevention, management, and treatment of a wide range of health outcomes, including infectious disease, pregnancy outcomes, early childhood development, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, injury and violence, and dementia.

We offer an MPH in Epidemiology, a Ph.D. in Epidemiology, and a dual MD/MPH in Epidemiology. All three Epidemiology graduate programs reflect the unique strengths of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, including:

  • Small, intimate graduate programs that foster strong relationships between faculty and students, and a sense of community among graduate students.
  • A spirit of community engagement that encourages you to get involved and make an impact in real-world public health issues.
  • Groundbreaking epidemiology research exploring obesity, infectious disease, perinatal outcomes, injury/violence, aging, racial segregation, quantitative methods, and factors related to the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.
  • Robust partnerships and collaborations that connect you with neighborhood groups, nonprofits, government programs, healthcare systems, and other organizations that are actively involved in public health.
  • Close collaboration with OHSU’s healthcare practitioners and scientific researchers, as well as with PSU’s faculty experts in urban affairs, social work, environmental science, community engagement, and other fields.
  • A commitment to health equity and social justice.
  • Access to an expansive inventory of data sets, due in part to our broad partnerships with state and county health departments.

Ph.D. in Epidemiology

The OHSU-PSU SPH’s Epidemiology Ph.D. program offers exceptional opportunities to engage in research and teaching activities necessary for leadership roles. Through the doctoral dissertation process, you will gain research competency by leading a body of independent epidemiologic research from initial design through submission for publication. Our current and recent Epidemiology Ph.D. candidates have pursued investigations related to economic policy, maternal and child health, obesity prevention and treatment, infectious disease modeling, hearing loss among military veterans, antibiotic stewardship, health impacts of insurance policies, and economic segregation, among other pressing and timely issues. To develop your skills as an educator, you will serve at least one term as a teaching assistant for a core Epidemiology course under the guidance of a faculty member.

Graduates of our Epidemiology Ph.D. program have an exemplary record of job placement. You will be highly qualified for university faculty positions and scientific leadership roles in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private-sector health systems.

Accreditations and Rankings

The OHSU-PSU School of Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). 

Schedule an Appointment with a Graduate Admissions Specialist

Core Competencies

Program Guide


Students graduating from this program will be able to:

  • Apply population-based concepts of chronic and infectious disease epidemiology within appropriate biological, pathophysiological, social, and community contexts
  • Apply methods for collecting, evaluating, and synthesizing existing evidence of health determinants to research on public health problems
  • Apply appropriate data quality assurance and statistical methods for the research questions and study designs used in epidemiologic research
  • Formulate a testable hypothesis and propose a related study design and analytic approach that have the potential for advancing knowledge of the determinants of health and disease
  • Apply ethical principles to problems that arise in epidemiologic research and practice
  • Evaluate scientific, cultural, and political issues on epidemiologic research, including research goals, recruitment of study participants, and communication of results in the appropriate contexts
  • Demonstrate excellent verbal and communication skills in teaching epidemiologic principles and concepts at appropriate levels to different audiences

Taking effect in Fall 2019, the revised doctoral program in epidemiology requires the completion of a minimum of 108 credits in the following areas:

  • Epidemiology Core
  • Biostatistics Core
  • Public Health Core
  • Mentored Teaching
  • Approved Methods Electives
  • Other Electives
  • Dissertation

Please refer to the Program Guide for an overview of degree requirements and a current program of study

Application questions – Josh Hodsden, MBA

Registration questions –

Program Coordinator – Emily Henkle, PhD, MPH