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Epidemiology, Ph.D.

Rolling Admissions
Epidemiology, Ph.D.
School/College: Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health

Department Links: Degrees Conferred:
  • Ph.D. in Epidemiology
Other Degrees Conferred by the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health: Overview
The Ph.D. program in epidemiology prepares graduates for many career paths, including academia, non-governmental organizations, and public service at all levels of local, national, and international government.

Through rigorous theoretical and methodological training, students learn to conduct independent research that examines the distribution and determinants of health, and to translate their findings to public health policy and strategies to promote population health. The program encourages applicants from diverse backgrounds, with a clearly communicated interest in epidemiology and in promoting health equity.

This program also meets requirements outlined by the national Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Graduate Faculty

(Professors’ home departments, programs, or schools appear in parentheses)

Carvan, Michael III Ph.D., Texas A&M University (School of Freshwater Sciences)
Cisler, Ron, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (College of Health Sciences)
Florsheim, Paul, Ph.D., Northwestern University
McLellan, Sandra, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati Medical Center (School of Freshwater Sciences)
McRoy, Susan, Ph.D., University of Toronto (College of Engineering and Applied Science)
Schutz, Aaron, Ph.D., M.P.P., M.A., University of Michigan (School of Education)
Strath, Scott, Ph.D. University of Tennessee (College of Health Sciences)
Swartz, Ann, Ph.D., University of Tennessee (College of Health Sciences)
Tonellato, Peter, Ph.D., University of Arizona
Velie, Ellen, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley
Weinhardt, Lance, Ph.D., Syracuse University

Associate Professors
Auer, Paul, Ph.D., Purdue University
Cho, Young, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago
Do, D. Phuong (Phoenix), Ph.D. The RAND Graduate School
Harley, Amy, Ph.D., M.P.H., Ohio State University
Huang, Chiang-Ching Spencer, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Kalkbrenner, Amy, Ph.D., M.P.H., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Klos, Lori, Ph.D., Cornell University (College of Health Sciences)
Laiosa, Michael, Ph.D., State University of New York, Upstate Medical University
Malcoe, Lorraine Halinka, M.P.H., Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley
Miller, Todd, Ph.D., University of Maryland
Ngui, Emmanuel, Dr.P.H., M.Sc, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Svoboda, Kurt, Ph.D., S.U.N.Y at Stony Brook
Walker, Renee, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., University of Pittsburgh
Yan, Alice, Ph.D., University of Maryland

Assistant Professors
Hussein, Mustafa, Ph.D., The University of Tennessee
Laestadius, Linnea, Ph.D., M.P.P., Johns Hopkins University
Ma, Hongbo, Ph.D., University of Georgia
Meier, Helen, Ph.D., M.P.H., University of Michigan
Simanek, Amanda, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Wang, Yang, Ph.D., University of Nebraska
Zheng, Cheng, Ph.D., M.S, University of Washington


Adjunct Associate Professor
Swain, Geoffrey R. MD, MPH, Medical College of Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine & Public Health)

Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology

Applicants must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program:
  1. Submission of scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), taken within 5 years of the date of application. While there is not a minimum GRE score requirement, strong quantitative, verbal and writing skills are critical to successfully completing the program.
  2. Three letters of recommendation are required. At least one letter must be from a university faculty member.
  • A completed master’s degree in Epidemiology, public health, or the social sciences.
  • At least one undergraduate mathematics or statistics course and one biological sciences course with a 3.0 GPA
Major Professor as Advisor
Students will be asked to identify their primary research areas of interest and faculty with potential shared interests; faculty will be matched to serve as a career mentor and advisor.

Credits and Courses

The curriculum consists of 75 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree.

Required courses (66 credits)
PH 700 Structures of Inequality and Population Health
PH 702 Introduction to Biostatistics
PH 704 Principles and Methods of Epidemiology
PH 705 Principles of Public Health Policy and Administration
PH 758 Social Epidemiology
PH 759 Applied Quant Methods for Studying Population Health & Health Disparities
PH 761 Epidemiology Field Methods
PH 763 Epidemiology for Equity
PH 779 Public Health Policymaking and Policy Analysis
PH 801 Seminar in Public Health Research
PH 804 Advanced Epidemiology
PH 819 Social and Environmental Justice in Public Health -OR- PH 859 Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities in US
PH 823 Applied Analysis of Binary Outcomes in Public Health Research
PH 864 Research Ethics in Epidemiology & Public Health
PH 870 Epidemiology in Health Policy & Advocacy
PH 904 Survey of Analytic Methods for Epidemiology
PH 960 Current Issues in Epidemiology
PH 990 Research and Dissertation (1-3 cr)

Required Epidemiology Subject Matter “S” elective (Choose two courses, 6 cr.)
PH 768 Cancer Epidemiology
PH 769 Critical Perspectives in Nutritional Epidemiology and Food Systems
PH 762 Environmental Epidemiology
PH 868 Epidemiologic Links Between Infectious and Chronic Disease
PH 865 Critical Methodologies for Health Equity Research

Analytic Methods Electives (Choose 2 courses, 6 cr.; other classes as approved)
PH 712 Probability and Statistical Inference
PH 714 Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology
PH 715 Applied Categorical Data Analysis
PH 716 Applied Survival Analysis
PH 717 Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis
PH 718 Data Management and Visualization in R
PH 776 Qualitative Approaches in Public Health Policy and Administration
SOC 982 Advanced Quantitative Analysis
EDPSY 823 Structural Equation Modelling
EDPSY 832 Theory of Hierarchical Linear Modelling
PH 729 Survey Research Methods in Public Health OR SOC 752 Fundamentals of Survey Methodology
GEOG 525 Geographic Information Science (4 cr)

Other Electives (Choose 1 course, 3 cr.; other classes as approved)
PH 727 Program Planning and Implementation in Public Health
PH 728 Program Evaluation in Public Health
PH 774 Violence and Health: Interdisciplinary Theories and Interventions
PH 784 Social and Economic Policy as Health Policy
PH 808 Writing a Federal Grant in the Public Health Sciences
PH 820 Maternal and Child Health Foundations, Policy and Practice
PH 826 Principles of Community Intervention Research
PH 831 Community Engaged and Participatory Research and Practice
NOTE: Students may apply previous graduate course work towards didactic Ph.D. credits, contingent on assessment of course equivalencies, in accordance with UW-Milwaukee policies.

Dissertation Proposal Hearing
In consultation with his or her primary faculty advisor, the dissertator will develop a dissertation research plan and form a dissertation advisory committee. The composition of the dissertation committee must be in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Graduate School. The dissertator then submits a written dissertation plan to be reviewed and formally approved by the dissertation advisory committee. The research plan must clearly outline the student’s obligation for completing an original piece of work of sufficient quality, which is to be determined by the committee. The review and approval process will include a formal presentation to the committee.

Upon approval of the dissertation proposal, students will proceed with an original and significant research investigation under the supervision of their major professor, culminating in a written dissertation.

Dissertation Defense
The dissertator must, as the final step toward the degree, pass an oral examination in defense of the dissertation. The dissertation defense will be publicly announced and open to the academic community. Once the defense is completed, students will be encouraged to revise their dissertation and submit it for publication.

Once the committee has formally approved the dissertation document and the oral defense, and the Chair of the appropriate program has certified completion of all requirements, the candidate is awarded the Ph.D. in Public Health.

Time Limit
All degree requirements must be completed within ten years from the date of initial enrollment in the doctoral program.

Schedule of Classes

The Schedule of Classes is a list of classes offered by term.


Note: All Public Health (PH) courses appear below. Only those courses listed above in the Ph.D. in Epidemiology section or approved by the student's advisor can count toward the Ph.D. in Epidemiology degree.

Courses numbered 300-699 are Undergraduate/Graduate. Courses numbered 700 and above are Graduate only.