Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required to Earn the Degree: 45

Required Courses:

College Core Course
HRPR 5001Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions 10
Epidemiology/Biostatistics Core Courses
EPBI 5201Epidemiological Research Methods I3
EPBI 8012Multivariate Biostatistics3
EPBI 8202Epidemiological Research Methods II3
EPBI 8208Data Management and Analysis3
Teaching in Higher Education course0
Research Methods Courses
EPBI 8011Social Epidemiology3
EPBI 8212Grantsmanship in Health Research3
EPBI 8302Behavioral Measurement3
Pathophysiology of Human Disease course3
Epidemiology/Biostatistics Electives15
Choose five from the following:
ENVH 8016
Human Health Risk Analysis
ENVH 8207
Environmental Epidemiology
ENVH 8309
Exposure Assessment
EPBI 5003/GUS 5062
Spatial Analysis in Public Health
EPBI 5204
Mental Health Epidemiology
EPBI 5500
Seminar in Current Issues in Public Health 2
EPBI 8201
Structural Equation Modeling
EPBI 8203
Public Health Data Reporting
EPBI 8204
Multilev Mod in Int Res
EPBI 8205
Chronic Disease Epidemiology
EPBI 8206
Infectious Disease Epidemiology
EPBI 8209
Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS
EPBI 9187
Biostat Cnslt Practicum
GUS 5065
Urban Geographical Information Systems
GUS 5066
Environmental Applications of GIS
GUS 5067
GIS and Location Analysis
GUS 5068
Census Analysis with Geographical Information Systems
GUS 5069
GIS for Health Data Analysis
SBS 8018
Obesity: From Genes to Junk Food
STAT 8121
Statistical Computing
STAT 8122
Advanced SAS Programming
STAT 9103
Stat Lrng & Data Mining
Non-Didactic Courses
EPBI 9994Preliminary Examinations1
EPBI 9998Dissertation Proposal Research 32
EPBI 9999Dissertation Research 43
Total Credit Hours45

This common College Core course is required of all incoming graduate students in the College of Public Health. It is available completely online and designed such that students can complete the modules at their own pace over the course of their degree program.


Sample topics for EPBI 5500 include Data Analysis for Computer Packages and Molecular Epidemiology.


Students enrolled in EPBI 9998 must take 2 credits each term until the dissertation proposal is approved and filed with the Graduate School.


Students enrolled in EPBI 9999 must take a minimum of 3 credits after approval of the proposal and be enrolled for at least 1 credit each term until the dissertation is defended and filed with the Graduate School. 

Culminating Events:
Area Paper:
Prior to sitting for the preliminary examinations, students must write a published or publishable paper in their chosen area. The purpose of the paper requirement is to demonstrate critical and interpretive knowledge in epidemiology, as well as a high proficiency in written communication and a capacity to contribute to generalizable knowledge in the field. The paper can be written in one of a variety of formats, including a systematic review, an empirical paper, or a theoretical piece relevant to the field. The student must be the lead or sole author.

The Director of Graduate Studies determines if the published paper meets the writing requirement. If a student is not submitting a first-authored, peer-reviewed, and published (or in press) article, two faculty reviewers review the paper to assess whether it is of publishable quality. The second reader may not be the student’s advisor. The review is similar to a peer review of a journal article and evaluated as either passing or failing the writing requirement. Students who fail the paper requirement are allowed to submit a revision. The evaluators set a reasonable timeline for doing so, usually within one term.

A student cannot advance to the preliminary examinations without passing the paper requirement. Failure to satisfactorily complete the area paper requirement within the specified time frame can result in dismissal from the Ph.D. program. Students who are entering the Ph.D. program and have already published a peer-reviewed paper related to epidemiology can request to waive this requirement by completing a waiver application and submitting it along with the published document to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Preliminary Examinations (EPBI 9994):
In the term prior to taking the preliminary examinations, students should review their progress with their faculty advisor. To register for EPBI 9994, students must also meet with the Director of Graduate Studies, who can best explain the scope of and process involved in taking the preliminary examinations. The Director of Graduate Studies is charged with reviewing "Advising Form 1," which describes the student's program plan, and, in consultation with the Senior Graduate Advisor, reviewing Banner records to determine the student's eligibility. The Director of Graduate Studies then provides authorization to enroll eligible students for the preliminary examinations. When their eligibility has been confirmed, students must contact the Academic Coordinator and request to be registered for the exam course in the subsequent academic term with the Director of Graduate Studies or faculty advisor.

All students are required to take the preliminary examinations after completion of coursework but prior to registering for EPBI 9998 and defending the dissertation research proposal. Offered in the Fall or Spring term as needed, the preliminary examinations cover the core components of students’ training in epidemiology and biostatistics, as well as the specific area of concentration. The examinations consist of the following components:

  • Two separate in-class examinations reflect knowledge of both advanced epidemiological methods and advanced biostatistical techniques.
  • One take-home written research examination involves responding to a request for proposal (RFP) and generating an innovative, fully described study design. The RFP is within the student’s research expertise and preapproved by the faculty advisor.
  • An oral examination on any and all areas covered in the three examinations and the student's content concentration is taken before a panel of three faculty members.

The complete process takes approximately seven weeks from the time that the student takes the first examination till s/he completes the oral exam. A typical timeline for the exam process follows:

  • Week 1: Six-hour in-class exam I
  • Week 2: Six-hour in-class exam II
  • Weeks 3-4: Take-home exam with one week to complete. The exact dates for receiving the take-home exam and returning it must be determined by the student and clearly communicated to the Director of Graduate Studies in writing via email. The Director of Graduate Studies is responsible for sending out the exam on the established date, and the student is responsible for returning it via email to the Director. The student must return the exam by the predetermined date.
  • Weeks 4-6: Faculty grade all written exams
  • Week 7: Oral exam

On occasion, a student chooses to complete a course after or concurrent with taking the preliminary examinations. The student's faculty advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies must approve such an exception in advance and in writing.

The Director of Graduate Studies coordinates the grading of the preliminary examinations and is responsible for coordinating the scheduling of the oral exam. A committee of departmental faculty members review and score the examinations and evaluate each student’s performance in the oral exam.

Dissertation Proposal (EPBI 9998):
After passing the preliminary examinations, students may enroll in EPBI 9998. Students must be enrolled for 2 credits of EPBI 9998 each term until they file their dissertation proposal with the Graduate School.

All students must form a Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC) with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. The DAC is composed of at least three Graduate Faculty members: two members, including the Chair, must be from the Ph.D. program faculty of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. The DAC Chair must be approved as Doctoral Graduate Faculty by the Dean of the College of Public Health and by the Graduate School. The chair is responsible for overseeing and guiding the student's progress; coordinating the responses of the committee members; and informing the student and the Director of Graduate Studies annually of the student's academic progress. A fourth, external reader is also required at the time of the final dissertation defense. This person must be a member of the Graduate Faculty at Temple or approved by the Dean of the College to take part in the final dissertation examination. This fourth member is not required to be present at the defense of the proposal.

To fulfill the requirements of EPBI 9998, students must submit a dissertation proposal, successfully defend it orally before their committee, apply for IRB approval for the proposed research, and submit the proposal to the Graduate School. Students have a maximum of one year from the time of completing their preliminary examinations to develop and defend their dissertation proposal. Thus, students may enroll in EPBI 9998 for only two terms without permission. Students needing more time may, with the support of their advisor, formally petition the Director of Graduate Studies for an extension, although an extension is not guaranteed. Failure to meet these requirements can result in dismissal from the program.

Dissertation (EPBI 9999):
The doctoral dissertation is an original theory-based research study that makes a significant contribution to the fields of public health and epidemiology. It should expand existing knowledge and demonstrate the student's mastery of research design methods and advanced statistical techniques, particularly within the field of epidemiology. The research should be rigorous, while upholding the ethics and standards of the field. It is expected that the study will result in publication and presentation to professional audiences.

To fulfill the dissertation requirement, students must prepare and orally defend the final dissertation in a public meeting. Students should present their plans for publishing their dissertation as part of their defense. Students must be enrolled continuously for at least 3 credits of dissertation research until their dissertation is successfully defended. The Graduate School requires a minimum of 6 credits for the dissertation experience. Students must be enrolled in the term that they graduate.

The Dissertation Examining Committee (DEC) consists of the DAC plus at least one additional external reviewer. The external reviewer must be doctorally prepared. If this person is not a member of the Temple University Graduate Faculty, s/he must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, the Dean of the College, and the Graduate School to take part in the final dissertation examination. The DEC evaluates the student’s written dissertation and oral defense, including the student’s ability to articulate orally the research question; methodological approach; primary findings; interpretation of the findings; and implications for theory, research, and practice. The DEC votes to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation.

If a student needs to change a member of a committee, the new member must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and registered with the Graduate School.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their DEC and work with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics’s administrative assistant to secure a room. This should be done at least one month in advance of the proposed date. The administrative assistant arranges the time, date, and room within two working days. After the time, date, and room are secured, the student must send to the Graduate School a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms.” This must be submitted at least 10 working days before the defense. The department posts flyers announcing the defense, and the Graduate School lists the defense on its website.