Ph.D. Program Requirements
A minimum of 41 credit hours of course work is required and at least 18 credit hours of directed dissertation research. Students will be required to complete:
- Five core courses focusing on epidemiological methods (9 credits) and biostatistical theory and methods (6 credits)
- Four courses of methodological electives tailored to specific student research needs (12 credits)
- Three elective courses in a related substantive area, at least one relating to the biological processes associated with the student’s chosen substantive area (9 credits)
- Four semesters of journal club (4 credits)
- At least one course to provide practical research skills development tailored to the student’s needs (e.g., research ethics, grant writing, applied research methods) (2-3 credits)
- At least one course in responsible conduct of research (1 credit)
- In addition, students are expected to complete hours in directed research (EPID 697) to develop and conduct their dissertation. At a minimum, students will complete 18 credit hours.
More details will be available in the VCU Graduate Bulletin
Elective courses are possible across a wide range of schools and departments, including Social and Behavioral Health, Psychology, Healthcare Policy and Research, Biostatistics, Health Administration, Gerontology, Human and Molecular Genetics, Sociology, the School of Nursing, the Center for Public Policy, the School of Pharmacy, and the Center for Environmental Studies.
In addition to completing course work, as part of their training, students are required to:
- Work a minimum of 20 hours per week as a research assistant supporting their faculty advisor’s research projects for experiential, applied training
- Work at least one semester as a teaching assistant for a graduate-level course in the Division of Epidemiology
- Give one presentation in the Division of Epidemiology Seminar series
For a curriculum map of Program courses and requirements and Program competencies, click Curriculum Map Spring 2015
Comprehensive exams include a written exam that assesses knowledge of completed didactic coursework on core epidemiological and biostatistical methods as well as a tailored substantive section based on the student’s research focus, and an oral comprehensive exam based upon the student’s dissertation proposal.
The dissertation project must be a hypothesis-based, analytical epidemiology project that has been designed with feedback from the faculty advisor and committee members. Students develop and submit three manuscripts from this project to peer-reviewed journals and should have submitted at least one manuscript by time of defense.