Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

  MS Degrees:
- Epidemiology
- Biostatistics
  MPH Degrees:
- Epidemiology
- Biostatistics
  PhD Degree
- Epidemiology
- Biostatistics
  DrPH Degree


M.S. Degree, Epidemiology
top
A minimum of 37 graduate credits are required for the M.S. Degree in Epidemiology.  The core curriculum totals 25 credits and consists of the following courses:

Epi 501 Principles and Methods of Epidemiology I (3)+;
Epi 502 Principles and Methods of Epidemiology II (3)+++;
Epi 552 Principles of Statistical Inference I (3)+;
Epi 553 Principles of Statistical Inference II (3)++;
Epi 503 Principles of Public Health (3);
Epi 514 Computer Programming for Data Management and Analysis in Public Health (3); +
Epi 602 Master’s Seminar in Epidemiology (1); +++
Epi 690 Field Placement (3);
Epi 699 Thesis (3).

Students entering the MS degree program will take the following courses in their first semester:
(*Please note, it is strongly recommended that new students not register for more that 12 credits in their first semester)

Epi 501 Principles and Methods of Epidemiology I (3)+;
Epi 503 Principles of Public Health (3);
Epi 514 Computer Programming for Data Management and Analysis in Public Health (3)+;
Epi 552 Principles of Statistical Inference I (3)+;
 
Students must also take 12 credits of supporting courses, of which at least 6 must be selected from the following courses:

Epi 601 General Topics in Epidemiologic Methods (3)+;
Epi 604 Cancer Epidemiology (3)++;
Epi 605 Infectious Disease Epidemiology (3)+;
Epi 609 Reproductive Epidemiology (3)++;
Epi 610 AIDS Epidemiology (3)+;
Epi 612 Quantitative Methods in Epidemiology (4)+;
Epi 613 Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology (3)++;
Epi 615 Hospital Epidemiology (3);
Epi 619 Epidemiology of Diabetes (3)++;
Epi 620 Epidemiology of Cardiovascular Disease (3)++;
Epi 621  Geographic Information Systems and Public Health  (3)+++;
Epi 624  Genetic Epidemiology (3)+;
Epi 625 Zoonoses Epidemiology (3)++;
Epi 631 Advanced Seminar in Infectious Disease Epidemiology Research Methods (3);

+  = Fall only course
++   = Every other year the course is offered
+++  = Spring only course

Other supportive courses related to the student’s area of specialization: Appropriate courses may be selected from such departments as Biomedical Sciences, Environmental Health Science, Biological Sciences, Anthropology, Biostatistics, as well as courses at Albany Medical College.
 
 

Field Placement, 3 Credits

EPI 690 Field Placement (3)

Students are required to complete a field placement during which the students work closely with a mentor on actual epidemiological projects.  Students beginning their second semester of study should begin to work with both their Faculty Advisor and the Placement Coordinator for the School in locating and applying for a field placement.  Typically, students in the MS program in Epidemiology will complete their field placement during the summer of their first year in the program.  The Faculty Advisor must approve of the placement and should work with the student and the mentor of the training agency in designing goals, objectives, and conditions of the placement.  Since a good portion of the field placements are used as thesis topics as well, it is very important that the advisor remain involved in the placement.   The student is responsible for making sure they receive a Field Placement Booklet from the Placement Coordinator and for completing and handing in the required forms from the booklet to the Department.  Once the placement has been completed, the student is required to write a paper and to give an oral presentation on the placement.  The placement final report must be given to your advisor and mentor at least 2 weeks prior to the oral presentation.  Faculty advisors, mentors and the Department Chair (or Associate Chair) are required to attend the field placement presentation.  Students are responsible for securing dates and times when mentor and advisor are available, then give those dates to the department secretary to allow her to check the Chair’s calendar, please remember the department requires at least a 2 week lead time.

If a student wishes to waive the field placement due to work they have previously performed in the public health field, they will be required to make the request in writing to the Chair of the Department.  If the request is granted, the student will be required to write a and give an oral presentation on the waiver.


Thesis (3)

EPI 699 Thesis (3)
A thesis is to be conducted under the guidance of two members of the faculty (a thesis advisor and a reader). The thesis advisor and the faculty advisor need not be the same person. Students may choose to have two readers instead of one. The thesis must involve the analysis of data and should include a statement of the research question, a review of the literature, a description of methods and results, and a discussion. The thesis must be presented before the faculty and students.



M.S. Degree, Biostatistics top

Degree Requirements


The M.S. program in Biostatistics stresses theory and methodology to provide students with skills that can be applied to many areas, including health care, economics, social, biological and environ-mental sciences and the development of observational studies and survey techniques. The M.S. program may also lead toward a doctoral degree with research focused on statistics, biometry, mathematics or
econometrics.   
 
Biostatistics Sequence (36 credits minimum)
1. Statistics (18 credits: courses as advised, including STA 669; with departmental approval, a thesis may be presented in place of STA 669.)
2. Biology, epidemiology or public health courses (6 credits minimum:  courses as approved by advisor).
3. Supporting courses (0-12 credits, as approved by the advisor for the biostatistics sequence). 
4. Satisfactory completion of a special field examination.  
Students entering the MS degree program in Biostatistics will typically take the courses listed below in the their first semester (*Please note, it is strongly recommended that new students not register for more that 12 credits in their first semester)   

STA 554  Introduction to Theory of Statistics I (3) +;
STA 558   Methods of Data Analysis I (3)+;
EPI 501  Principles and Methods of Epidemiology I (3) +;
EPI 514 Computer Programming for Data Management and Analysis in Public Health (3)+;

+ = Fall only courses
++ = Every other year the course is offered
+++ = Spring only course  
Recommended courses: STA 554/55, STA 558/59, and at least one of STA 556, STA 560, STA 562, STA 564 or STA 566.

Part time study
Part time study is permitted in the M.S. program. University policy requires that all degree requirements be completed in six years.  

Master’s Project Guidelines:
When the student obtains 33 credits of coursework, he/she is required to complete a Master’s project under the guidance of an advisor, and upon completion, is required to give an oral presentation that summarizes the results.  The oral presentation must be attended by three (3) Biostatistics faculty members and the Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.  One the student has obtained dates and times from their faculty advisor, mentor and other Biostatistics faculty in the department, they must check the availability of the Chair of the department with the departmental secretary.  In addition, the student must complete a written paper that provides details of the Master’s project. Both the oral presentation and written paper must be completed satisfactorily for a Master’s degree to be awarded.  Note that the student enrolls in Masters Seminar for 3 credit hours during the semester when the project is completed, for a total of 36 credits at graduation.   The following is a guideline for Biostatistics students who are candidates for a Master’s degree for use in preparation of a Master’s degree paper; all bullet points described below need to be addressed in the paper.  If the student wishes to pursue publication of his/her project in a scientific journal, then having the Master’s degree paper satisfy the requirements below will generally provide an adequate basis from which a paper can be constructed for submission to the journal of interest.


 


    MPH Degreetop


The program leading to the MPH degree requires 45 to 51 credits, including 6-12 credits of internships, depending on the student's prior experience in public health or related fields. For students with a bachelor's degree and no graduate education or experience in the field, it is expected that at least two years of full time study will be needed to complete the program.
*Degree requirements are determined at enrollment to program.
(pdfs of the BST plan of study, EPI plan of study)

 
 
 
Ph.D. Degree, Epidemiology top


In general, the requirements for the Ph.D. degree follow the policies and procedures set forth by the University at Albany.  The program in epidemiology requires a minimum of 60 graduate course credits beyond the baccalaureate plus registration for and completion of a satisfactory doctoral dissertation.  Students are required to meet the requirements for M.S. in epidemiology along with additional course work.  Students are expected to devote at least one year to the research and writing of an acceptable dissertation.  The course of study of each student is planned with a faculty advisor who takes into account the student’s previous preparation, area of specialization, and professional objectives.  In addition to the core courses, supporting courses, and field placement at the masters level (or their equivalent), the following course work is required:

1.  A minimum of four advanced methodology courses (12 credits) approved by the advisor.  One of these must be Epi 601 General Topics in Epidemiologic Methods; two must be graduate-level statistics courses offered by the Department or other graduate departments.
2.  A minimum of 14 credits of supporting graduate courses approved by the academic advisor including an area of specialization.  Further courses may be required at the discretion of the dissertation committee.

Field Placement

Students are required to complete a field placement during which the student works closely with a faculty member of the Department of Epidemiology on actual epidemiologic projects including experience in the areas of study design, data management and analysis.  This requirement can be met by completion of Epi 690 Field Placement, or by equivalent experience obtained in a prior degree program, or in a work setting.  The acceptability of equivalent experience is determined by the Department’s academic committee.

Research Tool

Proficiency in computer programming/data management (SAS or R)fulfills the research tool requirement.

Qualifying Examination

This section includes the procedures for the core qualifying examination as well as the track specific guidelines for the qualifying examinations.

Admission to Candidacy

A student is admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy upon the following:
1.  Satisfactory record in course and research study (minimum GPA of 3.0);
2.  Satisfactory completion of the research tool requirement;
3.  Satisfactory completion of both qualifying examinations; and
4.  Approval by the student’s committee of a proposed dissertation topic.

Dissertation

The Ph.D. dissertation is part of each candidate’s curriculum for the doctorate.  The dissertation committee must approve the form and content of the dissertation, which must represent an original and significant contribution in the field of epidemiology.  The chair of the dissertation committee must be a member of the Department of Epidemiology; the committee consists of a minimum of three members, all of whom must hold the rank of assistant professor or above.  One of the committee members must be from outside the Department of Epidemiology.  The dissertation topic, proposed study design, methods, and detailed analysis plan must be presented orally and in written format and approved by the committee before the student initiates dissertation research.  Outside readers may be included at the discretion of the committee.  The dissertation must be approved by and successfully defended before the dissertation committee; the defense is open to the University community.  There are two different types of dissertation that a student can complete.  The first being a traditional dissertation that includes as a book format including chapters.  The second option is to complete three related articles that are suitable for publication in a peer reviewed journal, along with an introduction and concluding chapters.   Please refer to the University at Albany’s website for the official dissertation requirements at http://www.albany.edu/graduate/pdfs/DissertationDIGITALSubmissionInstructionsAmended12-08b.pdf

Teaching
Each Ph.D. candidate is required to take part in and demonstrate competence in the teaching of epidemiology.  Satisfaction of this requirement is determined by the Department’s Academic Committee.
 
 
 
 

Ph.D. Degree, Biostatistics top


Admission Requirements

In addition to the general university requirements for admission to graduate study, applicants to the doctoral program in Biostatistics are expected to:

  1. Have a bachelor's degree with a major in mathematics, statistics, computer science, the biological, physical or social sciences. Students should have adequate backgrounds in linear algebra, multivariate calculus and computer programming in order to successfully complete the program.
  1. Provide three letters of recommendation from academic advisors or other faculty members familiar with the applicant. For candidates whose academic record predates the application by five years or more, letters of recommendation may be submitted by supervisors.
  1. Submit official scores of the Graduate Record Examination or Medical College Aptitude Test.
Course Requirements

The doctoral program of study and research normally takes four years of full-time study and research beyond the baccalaureate. A total of 60 credits are required. The general program requirements call for a minimum of two years of full-time graduate study or the equivalent, and at least one additional year devoted to the research and writing of an acceptable dissertation. Students must also adhere to the University's requirements as described in the Graduate Bulletin.

During the first two years of study, the student obtains a general education in statistical theory and methodology. The student develops a program of course work under the guidance of a faculty advisor and, upon successful completion of the course work, typically receives a master's degree at the end of the second year. However, a master's degree is not a prerequisite for obtaining a doctoral degree.

Students typically take courses from the list below, however other courses can be selected with the advisor's approval.

STA 550 Introduction to Computing with R
STA 554 Introduction to the Theory of Statistics I
STA 555 Introduction to the Theory of Statistics II
STA 556 Introduction to Bayesian Inference I
STA 558 Methods of Data Analysis I
STA 559 Methods of Data Analysis II
STA 560 Introduction to Stochastic Processes I
STA 566 Analysis of Categorical Data I
STA 656 Design of Clinical Trials
STA 664 Time Series Analysis I
STA 665 Time Series Analysis II

STA 666 Survivorship Analysis I
STA 670 Statistical Analysis with Missing Data
STA 670 Longitudinal Data Analysis
STA 670 Analysis of Propensity Scores
EPI 611 Controversies in Epidemiology
EPI 612 Quantitative Methods in Epidemiology
EPI 701 Advanced Quantitative Methods for
Epidemiology
SOC 708 Multilevel Analysis
EAPS 662 Survey Research Methods

 

Students are required to take six credit hours in courses other than biostatistics; these typically are from the departments of epidemiology, economics, sociology, health policy and management, mathematics, computer science, and biology.

Preliminary Examinations

Students wishing to pursue the PhD degree must pass two written preliminary examinations, one in mathematical statistics and probability, and the other in applied statistics. Students normally take the preliminary exams at the end of the second year of study. Typically the mathematical statistics and probability exam is offered in June and the applied statistics exam in January of each year.

The required courses for the mathematical statistics and probability exam are STA 554, STA 555 and STA 560.

The applied statistics preliminary exam is based on two courses typically chosen from the following: STA 556, STA 566, STA 656, STA 664, STA 666, and STA 670.

After successfully passing the two written preliminary examinations, the student begins the process of specialization. As soon as possible, the student selects a dissertation advisor. A committee is formed to guide the student's subsequent progress toward the degree. Readiness to begin the dissertation is marked by completion of the oral qualifying examination, which should take place within 18 months after passing the two written preliminary examinations. Upon completion of the oral qualifying examination, the student advances to candidacy and begins work on the dissertation.

If a student fails a written preliminary exam, he/she will have one chance to take that exam again. If the student fails the exam the second time, he/she will be dismissed from the doctoral program. In the very special circumstance when, on the second taking, the student is judged to have performed marginally, but not a clear pass, he/she will be given a third chance to take the exam, for which a clear pass is required, otherwise he/she will be dismissed from the doctoral program.

Part-Time Study

While part-time study is permitted in the doctoral program, applicants should be aware that the University requires at least one academic year of full-time study. Furthermore the University has a requirement that all doctoral work be completed within eight years. Thus, it is likely that two or more years of full-time work toward a doctoral degree will be necessary if the student hopes to complete this requirement.

Research Tool

The research tool requirement for the doctoral degree is met by satisfactorily demonstrating computer literacy; competency is evaluated by the faculty.

Admission to Candidacy

A student is admitted to candidacy for the doctoral degree upon completion of the following:

  1. Satisfactory record in course and research study (minimum GPA of 3.0);
  2. Completion of the University's residence requirement;
  3. Successful completion of the oral exam;
  4. Approval by the student's committee of a proposed dissertation topic.
Dissertation

The dissertation is based on independent research by the candidate and should constitute a significant original contribution to the area of biostatistics. The dissertation committee consists of at least three members, all of whom must hold the rank of assistant professor or above. One of the committee members must be a non-biostatistics faculty member. Outside readers may be included at the discretion of the committee. The dissertation must be approved by and successfully defended before the dissertation committee; the defense is open to the University community.

The dissertation should be provided in writing and available for committee members to review at least one month before the defense. In addition, the dissertation should be publically orally presented at a public seminar or meeting; examples include the department's seminar series, the American Statistical Association (ASA) local chapter meeting, the Joint Statistical Meeting (JSM), or ENAR meeting.

Academic Advising

Each student is assigned an advisor who assists the student in selecting courses, a project and a dissertation topic. Students meet with their advisors on a regular basis to discuss progress in the program and to establish goals for the next term.

Field Placements

Ph.D. students are required to complete a field placement during which they work closely with a faculty member on actual epidemiologic projects, including experience in the areas of study design, data management and analysis. This requirement can be met by completion of EPI 690 Field Placement or by equivalent experience obtained in a prior degree program, in a work setting, or as part of the dissertation. The acceptability of equivalent experience is determined by the Department's academic committee.

Research Tool

Proficiency in computer programming/data management fulfills the research tool requirement.

Qualifying Examination

Upon completion of all required courses, each doctoral candidate must pass a two-part written qualifying examination. The first part covers general epidemiologic and appropriate biostatistical principles and methods. The second part covers the student's chosen specialty area in epidemiology. Ordinarily, both parts of the exam are administered in the same semester.

Admission To Candidacy

A student is admitted to candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy upon the following:
Satisfactory record in course and research study (minimum GPA of 3.0);
Completion of the University's residency requirement;
Satisfactory completion of the research tool requirement;
Satisfactory completion of the qualifying examination; and
Approval by the student's committee of a proposed dissertation topic.

Dissertation

The Ph.D. dissertation is part of each candidate's curriculum for the doctorate. The dissertation committee must approve form and content of the dissertation which must represent an original and significant contribution in the field of epidemiology. The chair of the dissertation committee must be a member of the Department of Epidemiology; the committee consists of a minimum of three members, all of whom must hold the rank of assistant professor or above. One of the committee members must be from outside the Department of Epidemiology. The dissertation topic, proposed study design, methods and detailed analysis plan must be presented in writing to and approved by the committee before the student initiates dissertation research. Outside readers may be included at the discretion of the committee. The dissertation must be approved by and successfully defended before the dissertation committee; the defense is open to the University community.

Teaching

Each Ph.D. candidate is required to take part in and demonstrate competence in the teaching of epidemiology. Satisfaction of this requirement is determined by the Department's Academic Committee.

*Please note: These materials are for informational purposes only. To be sure all requirements are completed, students should always consult the Assistant to the chair for guidance.s