Students studying in the Dewey Library.

Doctor of Philosophy


Program of Study


To earn your doctorate you need to meet the requirements for the master’s in epidemiology, and then complete advanced courses and at least one year of dissertation research and writing. You must study full-time for two or more sessions after you begin advanced coursework.

Admission Requirements (MS in Epidemiology)

  • Principles and Methods of Epidemiology I and II
  • Principles of Public Health
  • Computer Programming for Data Management and Analysis in Public Health
  • Principles of Statistical Inference I and II
  • Quantitative Methods in Epidemiology
  • Three electives in epidemiology, biomedical sciences, environmental health sciences, biological sciences, anthropology, or biometry and statistics. Electives can also be taken at Albany Medical College.

Advanced Graduate Courses

  • General Topics in Epidemiologic Methods
  • Two graduate-level statistics courses
  • At least one advanced methodology course

Specialization Courses

Consult with your advisor to choose topical graduate courses that support your professional goals.

Field Placement

Work closely with a faculty member on an actual epidemiologic project, and gain experience in study design, data analysis, and data management. This requirement may also be fulfilled through your dissertation work.


Spend a year investigating your area of interest and conducting research that advances the field of epidemiology.

Additional Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Nicole Malachowski at [email protected] or Dr. Melissa Tracy at [email protected].


Field Research

During your field placement, you get to apply your knowledge and skills to real epidemiological research projects.

More than 75% of faculty in the School of Public Health hold appointments with the NYS Department of Health, which provides opportunities for you to work in the labs of the internationally recognized Wadsworth Center.

You may also want to get involved with projects in the Cancer Research Center, Cardiac Quality Improvement Initiative, and Center for Health Workforce Studies.

Student studying in the Life Sciences Building courtyard

Career Paths

PhD program alumni currently work for organizations like:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • National Institutes of Health
  • New York Department of Health
  • New York Office of Mental Health
  • Sanofi
  • Purdue Pharma

Graduates are also pursuing academic careers at institutions including:

  • Emory University
  • Penn State University
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of California San Diego
  • Albany College of Pharmacy
  • Albany Medical College

"I decided to earn my PhD because I want to continue training for a career in maternal and child health research. In the master’s program at UAlbany, graduate courses in study design, reproductive epidemiology, cancer epidemiology, injury epidemiology, and quantitative methods all helped me complete my thesis titled Size-For-Gestational-Age at Birth in Relation to Infant Mortality."

- Tonia Carter

International Students

This degree is designated as a STEM program. International students maintaining F-1 status are allowed to apply for up to 12 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion/graduation from their degree program. Currently, this degree program is also designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an eligible degree for the F-1 STEM OPT work authorization extension; students who secure qualifying employment may be eligible to apply for the STEM OPT extension for a cumulative total of up to 36 months of F-1 OPT work authorization.

Admission Requirements


Priority: January 5

Applicants who wish to be considered for a doctoral graduate assistantship or scholarship must submit their application by the priority deadline. Some scholarships require that applications be received earlier than the published priority deadline. Students who wish to be considered for one of the early submission scholarships should consult our Financing Your Degree page and must submit the degree application and any additional required documents by the stated date for that scholarship.

Fee waivers are available for the first program you apply to in SOPHAS to cover the initial $145 application fee. There are three types of fee waivers: financial-based, service-based, and international-based. You may only apply for one type of fee waiver, and the waiver request must be submitted before you submit your SOPHAS application. Fee waivers are granted on a first come, first served basis, so applicants are strongly encouraged to apply before the priority deadline when requesting a waiver.  For more information, visit SOPHAS Fees and Fee Waivers.

Applications may be accepted on a space available basis after the priority deadline. Contact the department directly at [email protected] with questions about submitting your application after the priority deadline.

PhD Epidemiology Degree Application

The application and all supporting materials for the PhD in Epidemiology must be submitted through SOPHAS.

Visit the SOPHAS Applicant Help Center for help with starting your SOPHAS application.

Application Requirements

  • Must hold a bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing
  • Must hold a master's degree in Epidemiology
  • Grade point average of 3.00 or better
  • One semester of college level calculus
  • One semester of biology and chemistry
  • An undergraduate major in biological physical, or social sciences, computer science, mathematics, or statistics is very strongly recommended*.
  • The matching with a research mentor is a key part of the PhD admission process

*Students with undergraduate majors in areas other than those listed may be admitted on the basis of relevant work experience and course work as a non-major in the recommended disciplines. Students lacking sufficient preparation in the biological sciences will be required to take additional courses in this area during their first semester.

For application specific questions, contact us at [email protected]

International Requirements

  • International students must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 98, IELTS score of 7.0, or Duolingo score of 125. We will only accept official scores sent by the testing institution.
  • UAlbany SOPHAS TOEFL code is 5688. We do not use department codes. 
  • Official Duolingo scores must be sent to the University at Albany (SOPHAS does not accept Duolingo scores). Students may include unofficial scores in their SOPHAS application, but official scores must be received by the University at Albany.
  • The TOEFL or IELTS is not required for international students who have completed at least four semesters of full-time study within a four-year time frame from time of application, and maintained at least a B average at a college or university in the United States or a country from an approved list.  For questions regarding English Language Proficiency waivers, please email Soha Acosta at [email protected].
  • International students must request a transcript evaluation from World Education Services (WES). The WES evaluation must be sent directly to SOPHAS, NOT the University at Albany or the School of Public Health.

Required Application Materials

Official transcripts

  • Official transcripts from EVERY post-secondary academic institution attended, including college coursework completed during high school, must be sent directly from the institution to SOPHAS. You must report all colleges and universities attended and submit official transcripts, even if your transfer credits are listed on your primary transcript. See Sending Official Transcripts for more guidelines.
  • UAlbany students must have an official UAlbany transcript sent directly to SOPHAS.
  • Applicants who use the transcript entry service provided by SOPHAS should note that the entry process adds TWO FULL WEEKS to the time it takes for an application to be verified and considered complete by the admissions committee.

Three letters of recommendation

  • A minimum of two letters must be from academic faculty 
  • At least one letter must be from a university faculty member in the major field of study
  • Applicants who have been out of school for five or more years may submit professional references
  • Letters must be signed and on institutional/organizational letterhead

Personal Statement

  • Why do you wish to pursue a career in public health and why are you interested in your chosen area of study?
  • 2-page limit
  • The personal statement must have well-defined research interests and should be very specific in nature


Application Submission

Applicants should submit their application as soon as the items you have control over are complete (personal statement, resume/CV, institutions attended, coursework entry, and all other required sections of the online application). Test scores, transcripts and letters of recommendation will be added as they are received, after which SOPHAS will begin verifying your application.

Applications will not be reviewed until all required items, including official transcripts, official test scores, and required letters of recommendation, have been received and your application has been verified.  Please note that once SOPHAS has received all of your application materials, it may take up to 4 full weeks to be verified by SOPHAS.  Be sure to request all transcripts, recommendations, and standardized test scores in advance so that your application can be completed and verified by the specified application deadline.

Special Notes

Please note: This program requires an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience requirement. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions.  If applicants have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of the intended academic program.

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

  • Epidemiology MPH Core Competencies
  • Biostatistics MPH Core Competencies
  • Be able to define epidemiologic study designs-ecologic (correlational), cross-sectional, cohort, case-control, and experimental (intervention) studies-and compare their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Be able to define and discuss the relationship of random error, systematic error, bias, the types of bias-selection, information, and confounding bias-and methods of bias control.
  • Be familiar with the concept of effect modification and how it differs from confounding.
  • Be able to define, contrast, and apply the concepts of validity and generalizability while reviewing epidemiologic studies.
  • Be able to define and apply the epidemiologic criteria of causality and be able to distinguish between a measure of association and evidence of causality.
  • Begin to be able to make an epidemiologic decision on a public health issue, even if given conflicting research results, exercising your critical judgment based on what you have learned in this course.
  • Be familiar with the ethical issues pertinent to epidemiological studies.
  • Describe public health as a system, including its unique and important features and their role within it, to general audiences.
  • Apply measures of population health and illness, including risk factors, to community health improvement initiatives.
  • Identify and distinguishing public health and prevention strategies from curative strategies for prevalent health problems.
  • Describe the role of law and government in promoting and protecting the health of the public and identifying specific functions and roles of governmental public health agencies in assuring population health.
  • Describe the public health role, and their own level of participation, in emergency responses for a range of contingencies that might arise.
  • Identify and explaining how various occupations, professions, and careers contribute to carrying out public health’s core functions and essential services.
  • Identify and describing key challenges facing public health workers in the early 21st century.
  • Apply descriptive techniques commonly used to summarize public health data.
  • Develop written and oral presentations based on statistical analyses for both public health professionals and educated lay audiences.
  • Apply basic informatics techniques with vital statistics and public health records in the description of public health characteristics and in public health research and evaluation.
  • Use statistical software to analyze public health data.
  • Use information technology to access, evaluate, and interpret public health data.
  • Identify key sources of data for epidemiologic purposes.
  • Draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic data.
  • Comprehend basic ethical and legal issues pertaining to epidemiologic data.
  • Distinguish between population and individual ethical considerations in relation to the benefits, costs, and burdens of public health programs.
  • Solve problems under emergency conditions.
  • Facilitate collaboration with internal and external emergency response partners.
  • Apply statistical methods of estimation and hypothesis testing and explain the basics of correlation and regression for the purpose of analyzing the health of populations.
  • Apply knowledge of statistical software and database management for the purpose of conducting research on the health of populations.
  • Have a working knowledge of statistical software and database management.
  • Conduct independent research in epidemiology
  • Plan and execute, with considerable independence, original and extensive laboratory research on a significant problem in epidemiology.
  • Demonstrate advanced communication skills, both verbal and written, to disseminate the results of research.