Doctor of Philosophy
For more information about applying to the PhD program, kindly visit the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website.
In consultation with the faculty advisor, the student chooses among doctoral-level courses offered by the department as well as among courses offered by the medical school or by other Yale professional or graduate schools. Students often take an advanced seminar in their specialty area and present their work in this collegial forum. All candidates must become proficient in statistical analysis, research methods, and the application of epidemiology to the field in which they have special interest.
Applicants should have solid preparation at the college level in the biological or social sciences and one year of college-level mathematics.
Students entering the doctoral program typically have a strong background in undergraduate science and frequently have a master's degree in public health, or public health research experience.
Core Competencies PhD
Upon receiving a PhD degree in Public Health, the student will be able to:
- Critically evaluate public health and related literature.
- Discuss and critically evaluate the broad literature of the student’s discipline.
- Review in depth the background and research advances in the student’s specific research area.
- Apply at an advanced level the research methodology of the student’s broader discipline and, in particular, the student’s specific research area.
- Present research to colleagues and professionals on a national and international level at professional meetings.
- Teach a course in the student’s broad discipline.
- Explain the principles of research ethics and apply these principles to specific research projects.
- Design and conduct an advanced, original research project in the student’s discipline.
- Generate data to create publishable manuscripts that represent important contributions to the literature.
Download the PDF version of the PhD course requirements.
The department is perhaps best known for its doctoral programs in the epidemiology of aging, cancer, perinatal diseases, genomics, and psychosocial disorders. However, students in the department often work on projects with other departments within YSPH, other departments in the School of Medicine, and other schools within the University. Thus there are numerous opportunities for creating an experientially rich doctoral program. Graduates from the department's doctoral program are found on the faculties of universities throughout the world, at the highest levels of federal and international research programs, in numerous private and public foundations and institutions, and in leadership positions at many multinational corporations.
PhD Forms for Current Students
Conference Travel Funds
Required Course Work
The Ph.D. degree with a concentration in Chronic Disease Epidemiology requires a minimum of 17 course units This Ph.D. program requires the student to complete the following courses. All "a" courses are offered in the fall term, "b" courses are offered in the spring term.
- BIS 505a, Introduction to Statistical Thinking I
- BIS 505b, Introduction to Statistical Thinking II
- CDE 508a, Principles of Epidemiology I
- CDE 516b, Principles of Epidemiology II
- CDE 523b, Measurement Issues in Chronic Disease Epidemiology
- CDE 534b, Applied Analytic Methods of Epidemiology I
- CDE 617b, Developing a Research Proposal
- CDE 619a, Advanced Epidemiologic Research Methods
- BIS 540a, Fundamentals of Clinical Trials
- BIS 623a, Applied Regression Analysis
- BIS 625a, Categorical Data Analysis
- BIS 630b, Applied Survival Analysis
- BIS 632b, Design and Analysis of Epidemiologic Studies
- EPH 600b, Research Ethics and Responsibilities (this course does not count towards the 17 course requirement)
One of the following four:
- CDE/EHS 502b, Physiology for Public Health
- CDE 532b, Epidemiology of Cancer
- CDE 535b, Epidemiology of Heart Disease and Stroke
- CDE 562a, Nutrition and Chronic Disease
Students supported by training grants may be subject to additional requirements and should discuss this with the Principal Investigator of that grant to determine whether there are grant-specific requirements.
In addition, it is expected that students gain a broad knowledge regarding epidemiology, they must take a minimum of four topic area courses.
The qualifying examinations in CDE entail a three-part system emphasizing Biostatistics, Epidemiologic Methods, and the student’s chosen specialty area. The examination covering epidemiological methods includes both an in-class and a take-home portion. One faculty member is responsible for coordinating this examination, and the examination content is developed by the overall faculty. The specialty area examination is usually prepared in a tutorial with one or more faculty members.
In a number of courses, students gain actual experience with various aspects of research including preparation of a research grant, questionnaire design, preparation of a database for analysis, and analysis and interpretation of real data. In addition, doctoral students can gain research experience by working with faculty members on ongoing research studies prior to initiating dissertation research.
For the doctoral dissertation, some candidates will design and develop their own research protocol, collect the data, and conduct appropriate analyses. However, epidemiologic studies are often large, time-consuming, and expensive enterprises that often cannot be realistically completed within the time frame expected for a doctoral dissertation. Consequently,some dissertations often result from “piggy-backing” the dissertation research onto a larger study being conducted by a faculty member. If a student has previously documented experience with data collection, the doctoral dissertation may emphasize the statistical analysis of a data set in such a way as to address a new hypothesis. However the thesis is constructed, the division requires that the research makes a significant contribution to new knowledge in the field of epidemiology. Many dissertations are presented as three or more completed or published manuscripts based on the dissertation research.
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Psychiatric Epidemiology
- Psychosocial Epidemiology
Examples of Department Research Projects:
- epidemiology of diseases of pregnancy and newborns, emphasizing environmental and genetic risks for causation
- biomarkers of nutritional status, and biomarkers of antioxidant stress status
- methods for treating tobacco use and dependence through expansion of the clinician's role in cessation
- effect of exercise on breast cancer biomarkers among high risk individuals and cancer survivors
- genetic factors in age-related macular degeneration
- racial/ethnic disparities in cancer outcomes
- HIV/STD prevention
- Role of psychological factors, particularly older individuals' perceptions of aging, on cognition and health in old age
- role of immunologic factors and environmental chemical exposures in the etiology of childhood leukemia
- disparities in the utilization of carotid endarterectomy among symptomatic stroke patients, and the long-term outcomes of stroke
- Case-control study of endometrial cancer/ pancreatic cancer
- risk factors for psychiatric outcomes and aspects of mental health and well-being
Ph.D. Funding Opportunities/Training Grants
Many faculty have grants which can be supplemented to provide training related expenses and stipends to students.
Ph.D. students are supported either through University fellowships or NIH funded training grants. Currently, there are two training grants: