Infectious Disease Epidemiology PhD Programs: Degree Information
The study of communicable diseases, known as epidemiology, can be pursued at the doctoral level, where students can earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology. Read about the advanced coursework and practical experience typically offered, along with employment data.
Students in a Doctor of Philosophy in Epidemiology program study advanced topics in epidemiology and gain extensive experience in laboratory research methods and technologies. Scientific study of the outbreak, spread and prevention of communicable diseases among certain populations, such as infants and senior citizens, is at the heart of the program. Students attend lectures while gaining valuable laboratory experience.
Students also gain practice and skill in designing and administering case studies and also in developing proficiency working with the modern technologies used in scientific research. Programs are intended for recent graduates of a master's degree program or working professionals looking for further education specifically in epidemiology. A doctoral degree is considered the terminal degree in this particular field of study.
Applicants to a doctoral degree program must have a master's degree in epidemiology or a closely-related field. Admitting colleges and universities also look at letters of recommendation, transcripts of previously completed coursework and scores on standardized tests, such as the GRE or GMAT.
Doctoral programs allow for advanced study exclusively in the area of epidemiology or related topics. Students attend lectures in the following areas:
- Research and statistical methods
- Clinical trial design and methodology
- Historical perspective of epidemiology
- Ethical issues in research
- Epidemiology of children and adolescents
- Epidemiology of senior citizens
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
A shortage of qualified epidemiologists, the threat of bioterrorism and instances of rare diseases, such as the West Nile virus and avian flu, are behind the projected 24% growth in employment for this field for 2010-2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for epidemiologists was $65,270 in 2012.
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