Ph.D. Degree in Epidemiology

Unit Requirements

At the Ph.D. level, students are required to take a minimum of 36 units, exclusive of research units, of required and recommended courses and write a dissertation. At least a B+ (3.3 grade-point) average must be achieved in all graduate and upper division course work to maintain graduate standing in this program.

Electives & Course Requirements

Ph.D. Students must complete the courses outlined in the Core in Epidemiology. Additionally, students must select an Area of Emphasis and complete a number of approved electives courses. A minimum of 12 units of electives are required, 9 of which must selected from the student's Area of Interest Approved Electives.

Research Proposal

A Ph.D. student is required to submit a proposal for dissertation research to the qualifying examination committee at least two weeks before the qualifying examination.

Qualifying Examination

To be eligible for this oral examination, the student must have satisfied all departmental or group requirements (e.g. course work), have removed all deficiencies, and must have at least a B+ (3.3) average in all work undertaken in this program. The qualifying examination is administered by a committee generally comprised of five persons, four of whom are ladder faculty members of the GGE. The fifth member may be either ladder GGE or a person from outside the Group who is an expert in the student's area of specialization and/or dissertation topic. The student's major professor is not a member of this committee. The committee will include at least one member from each of the following areas: 1) principles of epidemiology, 2) research methodology/quantitative skills, 3) advanced topics in the student's area of emphasis, and 4) topics directly relevant to the student's proposed research.


A dissertation, on a subject chosen by the candidate and of such character as to show ability to conduct independent original and creative investigation and which demonstrates an organized investigation that adds to the body of knowledge in epidemiology, must be approved by the Dissertation Committee and by the Graduate Council. A degree cannot be granted only on the basis of completion of a course of study, however extensive. A doctoral student who, after a written warning from the Dissertation Committee, has not made acceptable progress on a dissertation for at least one year, may be subject to disqualification. Preparation of the dissertation will be under the guidance of a Thesis Committee of at least three members recommended by the Adviser and appointed by the Administrative Committee of the Graduate Council. The major professor serves as Chair. Candidate and committee will meet at least once each year during the conduct of the research and until the dissertation has been completed and accepted. The dissertation must meet the approval of the student's thesis committee.

Final Examination

Ph.D. students are required to defend their research before the Thesis Committee in a seminar that is open to the public.

Preparation for Careers in Teaching

All students enrolled in the Ph.D. program are strongly encouraged to serve as a teaching assistant or equivalent position for at least one quarter. Those expecting to embark upon a teaching career will be encouraged to obtain additional teaching experience. All students are required to present at least one seminar while they are attending UCD. This seminar usually describes their thesis research.