PhD in Epidemiology



Admission into the program is once a year, in the Fall semester. The Ph.D. in Epidemiology is for applicants interested in conducting advanced research in epidemiology or teaching epidemiology at higher institutions of learning. This is a 3-5 year program. The first two years known as residency is dedicated to completing the required coursework and practice in research, on campus. An additional 1-3 years is usually expected for completing the dissertation research.

The UAMS Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health (COPH) Ph.D. in Epidemiology aims to provide effective, high-quality training guided by a rigorous curriculum that incorporates the latest up-to-date theories, methodologies, and knowledge in the discipline of epidemiology, and to educate high-caliber graduates who will be able to compete nationally and internationally in diverse research specialties. Our program provides a strong foundation in four key areas: 1) epidemiologic theory, methodology & data analysis; 2) emphasis areas (biological methods, clinical diseases, public & community health, advanced statistical analysis); 3) scholarship skills (with scientific writing, pedagogy, seminar series courses); and 4) scientific, and public health practice research practicum. The type of epidemiologists being trained in the future must not only have traditional knowledge and skills, but must also be able to keep pace with current trends and developments in medical science, technology, and community health. These include a basic understanding and functional knowledge of rapidly evolving specialty areas, for example, molecular biology; genomics; genetics; biochemical and molecular biomarkers; bioinformatics; underlying mechanisms of disease pathogenesis; community, social structure and other social determinants of health. The Ph.D. program in Epidemiology is broad-based and rigorous in order to enable graduates to have the flexibility to participate with competency at the highest level to adapt and apply the skills and knowledge acquired to a wide variety of scientific, clinical, public health and cutting-edge cross-disciplinary/inter-disciplinary research without difficulty.

This is a full-time program, which should take 3-5 years on average to complete. The first 2-3 years, known as the residency period, is dedicated to completing required coursework on campus. An additional 1-3 years is usually expected for completing dissertation research. Additional credit hours 1) practicum (mentored research), 2) dissertation research, and 3) seminars are required for completion of the Ph.D.. See the Ph.D. in Epidemiology Track Planner.

Upon entry into the program each student will be assigned an academic advisor who is a member of the program faculty who will assist the student in scheduling a course of study that will best serve his or her professional and academic goals. Students will select a general area of research interest in which to focus their studies in conjunction with a faculty advisor. These substantive areas are defined principally by areas of expertise held by members of the program faculty, and include cancer epidemiology, cardiovascular disease epidemiology, social epidemiology, occupational disease epidemiology, clinical epidemiology, infectious disease epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, molecular epidemiology and biomarkers, and quantitative methods. This matching of interests between students and faculty begins at the time of application to the program and continues throughout the residency period. Students will gain experience in research primarily through directed experiences with department faculty, other faculty and scientists within UAMS, and external supervisors and mentors in agencies such as the Arkansas Department of Health, and the National Center for Toxicological Research.

While students are ultimately responsible for meeting the full costs of this degree program, opportunities may be available to mitigate part or all of the costs through scholarships, stipends, tuition waivers, research assistantships and other sources, depending on availability. Applicants are encouraged to inquire about the availability of these types of sources of funding when they apply to the program.

Completion of all Ph.D. in Epidemiology requirements ensures that graduates have attained the Ph.D. in Epidemiology:

Ph.D. in Epidemiology Program Competencies

Ph.D. in Epidemiology Program Policies

This program is supported by the  Department of Epidemiology

Admission Requirements

Admission into the program will typically require a Master’s degree in Epidemiology. Applicants with graduate work or a master’s degree in disciplines other than epidemiology, or rarely, exceptional students with only an appropriate bachelor’s degree, are eligible for conditional admission into the program. Students admitted without previously completing a master’s degree in Epidemiology will be required to complete the typical minimum complement of courses required for the Master of Public Health (MPH) or the Master of Science (MS/MSc) degree in epidemiology along with their Ph.D. coursework.

A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (A=4.00) or better on all undergraduate coursework is required for full consideration of the application. Further, a cumulative GPA of 3.3 on graduate coursework attempted at a regionally accredited institution of higher education is strongly recommended.  The GRE must have been taken within 5 years immediately preceding the requested semester of admission. In addition, any applicant whose native language is not English and does not have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree from a regionally accredited US institution is required to submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum total score of 100 on the internet-based scoring (or 600 on the paper-based or 250 on the computer-based scoring) is required. The test must have been taken within the two years immediately preceding the requested semester of admission.

The Ph.D. Admissions Committee will consider the sum total of the applicant’s work, educational experience, research experience, recommendations, and other application data and will not allow a single factor to outweigh others in making recommendations for admission.

How To Apply

Required Application Materials:

Students applying to the Ph.D. program in Epidemiology at UAMS must submit the following the following materials for full consideration:

  • A completed application
  • Official transcripts from each university attended even if listed as transfer credit on another transcript.
    • All transcripts from foreign countries must be translated and evaluated by World Education Services (; through this link applicants will receive a discounted rate. An official copy of the evaluation must be submitted to SOPHAS.
  • Official test results from at least one Graduate Record Examination taken within the last 5 years
  • If the applicant is not a native English speaker and does not have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree from a regionally accredited US institution, then they must submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) taken within the last 2 years.
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • A “Statement of Purpose” explaining why you wish to apply to the Ph.D. program in Epidemiology.

Students have the option to submit supplemental material which may assist the Ph.D. advisory committee when deciding on whether the student should be accepted into the program. Such supplemental material could include the following examples:

  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • Copies of peer-reviewed articles which the student has authored or co-authored (maximum 3).

Only Fall admissions will be considered. Applications must be submitted to SOPHAS.  Transcripts provided directly from applicant will not be accepted.

Recommended Course Schedule for PhD in Epidemiology (EPI)
Full-Time Enrollment – Guide for Fall Semester

Fall Year 1
EPID 6324: Genomic/Genetic Epidemiology (3)
COPH 6100: Directed Research Studies (3)
BIOS 6223: Biostatistics III: Multivariate Analysis & Linear Models (3)
Selective*† or Elective

Spring Year 1
EPID 6424: Advanced Epidemiological Methods (3)
EPID 6423: Advanced Epidemiologic Methods Lab (3)
BIOS 5214: Categorical Data Analysis (3)
BMIG 5103: Foundations of BMI: Public Health Information or Selective 1*† (3)

Summer Year 1
EPID 6102: Special Topics in Epidemiology (2)
EPID 6001: Instructional Methods and Teaching Practicum (3)
Elective or Selective 3*†

Fall Year 2
EPID 6336: Observational Study Designs (3)
COPH 6337: Grantsmanship & the Peer Review Process (3)

Spring Year 2
EPID 6224: Clinical Epidemiology (3)
Elective or Selective 1*† (3)

Summer Year 2
EPID: Special Topics in Epidemiology (2)

Electives – 10 Credit Hours
List of electives provided and discussed with faculty

Selectives – 9 Credit Hours

Selective 1*† – 3 Credit Hours
EPID 5225: Epidemiology of Chronic Diseases (3)
EPID 5326: Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (3)
EPID 6121: Principles & Practice of Public Health Surveillance (3)

Selective 2*† – 3 Credit Hours
EPID 5332: Genomic/Genetic Epidemiology (3)
EPID 6335: Molecular Epidemiology (3)
Selective 3*† – 3 Credit Hours
COPH 6346: Social Determinants of Health/Social Epidemiology (3)
COPH 6403: Community-Based Program Evaluation (3)

*Select a course that was not included as a prerequisite for the PhD program.

†If all the courses under a selective category have already been completed in the master’s program, student may take other courses in the department.

CEPH logoFor More Information

How To Apply

Program Director:
Wendy Nembhard, PhD, MPH, FACE
4301 West Markham, Mail Slot 820
Little Rock, AR 72205

Or Contact the Office of Student Affairs