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 a Ph.D. program in epidemiology. Students attend lectures while gaining valuable laboratory experience. Programs are intended for recent graduates of a master's degree program or working professionals looking for further education specifically in epidemiology.
Applicants to these programs need a master's degree in epidemiology or related field. Letters of recommendation, transcripts of previously completed coursework, and standardized test scores may be needed as well.
Ph.D. Programs in Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Doctoral programs allow for advanced study exclusively in the area of epidemiology or related topics. Common course topics include:
- 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 6% growth in employment for this field for 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for epidemiologists was $69,450 in 2015.
Doctoral programs in infectious disease epidemiology teach in-depth research, lab and statistical methods to prepare students for work as epidemiologists. Graduates can expect positive job growth in the field.