PhD in Epidemiology
The mission of the Ph.D. Program in Epidemiology is to educate and train students to become independent, competent and self-directed research scientists so they can conduct outstanding clinical and population-based research. Students will learn methods for studying disease etiology and prevention in populations and evaluating interventions, diagnostic tests and treatment efficacy; they will implement such methods in an independent research study under the mentorship of an experienced epidemiology researcher.
VCU seeks to:
- Develop scientists experienced in the use of state-of-the-art research methods for the purpose of advancing fundamental knowledge of issues central to the improvement of population health
- Cultivate public health professionals skilled in the communication of scientific knowledge
- Train scientists to optimally contribute as part of multidisciplinary teams
- Develop scientists equipped with leadership skills for the purpose of implementing transformative research programs, and influence equitable health
Specialty Training Areas
VCU Program faculty conduct research in the following areas:
- Behavioral and Cancer Epidemiology, Dr. Resa M. Jones
- Dynamics of Aging in the U.S., Dr. Steven Cohen
- Genetic Epidemiology, Dr. Elizabeth Prom-Wormley
- Maternal and Child Health, Dr. Saba Masho , Dr. Derek Chapman
- Psychiatric Epidemiology. Dr. Briana Mezuk
- Traumatic Brain Injury, Dr. Juan Lu
Selecting the right doctoral program for your educational needs and career objectives is critical. VCU wants to ensure an optimal fit for students. Our small program offers one-on-one attention from faculty mentors. Competitive applicants are matched with a faculty mentor whose research program complements the student’s area of interest, so shared research interests are a key factor in the admissions process. Students work alongside their mentoring team throughout the Epidemiology Program, focusing on research and rotating through at least one teaching assistantship for exposure to the instructional experience in an academic setting. The doctoral program provides full student funding including tuition and fees contingent on academic good progress, including tuition and fees, and an annual stipend.
Consider the following highlights of VCU’s training program:
- Careful match to advisor and mentoring team
- Goal setting, strategic mapping of educational program
- Support for membership in professional organization
- Support for attending research meetings
- Workshops to hone teaching and oral presentation skills
- Teaching assistant requirement for one semester
- Dissertation format – 3 first author, peer-reviewed publications
- Leadership development and leadership opportunities
- Community of learning and supportive educational environment
Expected time-to-degree completion is 4 years, contingent on academic good progress. Applications from prospective full-time students received by January 1st will receive consideration for funding.
Frameworks grounding doctoral training in epidemiology at VCU:
VCU embraces a new paradigm to understand population patterns of disease and indices of health and well-being. Using a framework that acknowledges that risk and causal factors are nested one within another with environmental factors, genetic factors, behaviors and social contexts, scientists at VCU face public health challenges of this century using a team science approach. By recognizing the complex web of causation, coupled with emerging understanding of the interaction of genetic and biological factors with social and behavioral factors, VCU offers doctoral training that includes complex conceptual models, analytic strategies, statistical methodology, and epidemiologic design. To address these challenges, VCU offers redesigned, innovative strategy of training such epidemiologists that boasts:
- Doctoral training tailored to trainees’ cumulative experiences on matriculation and career objectives
- Full-immersion approach
- Competency-based curriculum
- Solid epidemiologic methods foundation
Students interested in VCU’s approach to training the next generation of epidemiologists are strongly encouraged to speak directly with our Graduate Program Director, Saba Masho, MD, MPH, DrPH, or Lisa S. Anderson, MPH, Director of Educational Programs.
Please review the admission requirements before applying. Applications are accepted online at www.sophas.org. Search for Virginia Commonwealth University to find our program. The code for submitting GRE scores to VCU through SOPHAS is 7543. VCU also requires a secondary application. Details appear here.