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College of Graduate Studies

Public Health Sciences

The Department of Public Health Sciences offers graduate study leading to the Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences. Applicants must demonstrate an interest and aptitude in the development or application of quantitative techniques to problems in biomedicine. In addition to fulfilling general admissions criteria for the College of Graduate Studies, students are encouraged to complete some undergraduate training in biology and mathematics. Single- and multi-variable calculus are required coursework in biostatistics and knowledge of linear algebra is also beneficial. In epidemiology, single-variable calculus is required coursework for PhD students only.

The Department of Public Health Sciences provides opportunities for novel and creative approaches to solving problems in biomedical research. The faculty – with diverse backgrounds and expertise in biostatistics, epidemiology, and behavioral and social sciences – provide a synergistic environment for students to actively pursue cross-disciplinary methodologic and applied research in public health.

The graduate program in biostatistics provides in-depth training in statistical methods and their application in medical and health-related fields. Areas of particular emphasis include:  clinical trials; categorical, multivariate, and longitudinal data analysis methods; survival analysis; analysis of spatially referenced data; analysis of methods for genomic and proteomic data; and Bayesian biostatistical methods.

The program in epidemiology emphasizes the identification and study of factors leading to disease and disability, with the ultimate goal of disease prevention and control. Factors affecting disease etiology include environmental exposures as well as life-style risks with possible genetic interactions. Epidemiologists examine disease-exposure associations using health outcome data and, when possible, biologic markers of exposure, effect, and susceptibility. Areas of particular emphasis include:  cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, neurological disorders, environmental epidemiology, and tobacco and other substance use.

After mastering the basic concepts of biostatistics and epidemiology, students become involved in quantitative design and analysis of clinical, basic science, or population-based research, from which an independent research topic is selected for a thesis or dissertation project. Graduates from the department find post-graduate opportunities in a variety of settings, including:  academic institutions; government agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency; or in pharmaceutical or health care industries.

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
The course program leading to this degree normally requires two full years of full-time study. Graduation requirements include a minimum of 32 credit hours of didactic work, a successful qualifying examination, and the completion of a thesis demonstrating the student’s mastery of biostatistical or epidemiological methods in a biomedical application.

Doctor of Philosophy
In addition to core and elective course work, students are expected to participate in the collaborative and teaching programs of the department. Two qualifying examinations and a dissertation will demonstrate that the student has not only mastered the theoretical and applied aspects of biostatistics or epidemiology, but that s/he can apply the methods in a novel fashion to a relevant biomedical problem. The program includes 62-64 didactic credit hours in biostatistics and 40 in epidemiology, some of which are taken outside the department and some of which may transfer from a previous Master degree program. 

Faculty Research Interests
Faculty research interests can be found on the department website at:

Last Published with Edits:May 3, 2017 12:56 PM
Last Comprehensive Review: July 2016