Program Requirements

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

Required Courses:

Core Courses
EPBI 8012Multivariable Biostatistics3
EPBI 8401Concepts and Methods in Epidemiologic Research3
EPBI 8402Intermediate Concepts and Methods in Health Research3
EPBI 8403Applied Concepts and Methods in Health Research3
HRPR 5001Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions 10
HRPR 5999Research Experience in Health Professions0
Grant Writing Course
EPBI 8212Grantsmanship in Health Research3
Research Methods Courses
Select two from the following:6
EPBI 8207
Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology
EPBI 8213
Cancer Epidemiology
EPBI 8301
Clinical Research Methods in Public Health
EPBI 8303
Behavioral Epidemiology
Epidemiology Electives
Select three from the following: 29
ENVH 8016
Human Health Risk Analysis
ENVH 8207
Environmental Epidemiology
EPBI 5204
Mental Health Epidemiology
EPBI 5500
Seminar in Current Issues in Public Health
EPBI 8011
Social Epidemiology
EPBI 8205
Chronic Disease Epidemiology
EPBI 8206
Infectious Disease Epidemiology
EPBI 8209
Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS
Substantive Electives
Choose three from the following:9
EPBI 5003/GUS 5062
Spatial Analysis in Public Health
EPBI 5500
Seminar in Current Issues in Public Health
EPBI 8201
Structural Equation Modeling
EPBI 8204
Multilev Mod in Int Res
EPBI 8302
Behavioral Measurement
EPBI 8307
Systematic Reviews
EPBI 9187
Biostat Cnslt Practicum
GUS 5062
Fundamentals of Geographical Information Systems
GUS 5068
Census Analysis with Geographical Information Systems
GUS 5069
GIS for Health Data Analysis
SBS 8018
Obesity: From Genes to Junk Food
Research Courses 3
EPBI 9994Preliminary Examinations1
EPBI 9998Dissertation Proposal Research2
EPBI 9999Dissertation Research 43
Total Credit Hours45

Minimum Grade to be Earned for All Required Courses: B-

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 paper can be a peer-reviewed published or in-press article. Papers that are of publishable quality but have not yet been submitted or are under review for publication are also acceptable. A committee of departmental faculty members, exclusive of the student’s advisor, determines if the published paper meets the writing requirement. The committee evaluates the paper and votes on whether the student has passed or failed. Students who fail the paper requirement are allowed to submit a revision by the end of the next term.

A student cannot advance to the preliminary examinations without passing the paper requirement. Failure to satisfactorily complete the area paper requirement within one term after initial submission 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 Graduate Program Director.

Preliminary Examinations:
In the term prior to taking the preliminary examinations, students should review their progress with their faculty advisor. When eligibility has been confirmed, students contact the Assistant Director of Administration and request to be registered for EPBI 9994 Preliminary Examinations in the subsequent academic term with the faculty advisor or Director of Graduate Studies.

In order to advance to doctoral candidacy, the student must pass both a written preliminary examination on methods, biostatistics, and substantive coursework and a take-home exam, as well as an oral dissertation proposal. The written preliminary examination is given to students prior to initiating the third academic year in the program. It is largely based on material covered in required coursework and its application to theoretical and practical problems. Students meet with the Graduate Program Director in January of their 2nd year to discuss the exam. It is suggested that students form a study group and study at least one day per week during the term prior to the examinations.

The preliminary exam is offered in the Summer term and covers 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:

  • Morning Session on Methods and Biostatistics: Epidemiological methods and all materials in core epidemiological courses are covered. Biostatistical methods are also included, covering materials in required biostatistics courses.
  • Afternoon Session on the Substantive Area: The student’s faculty advisor writes the substantive area section of the exam, which is approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. This section covers advanced/specialty topics and related methods aligned with the student’s area of interest.
  • Take-Home Exam: Each student is provided questions and a data set from which the student needs to analyze data to provide answers to the questions provided. As such, the take-home exam represents an applied portion of the preliminary examination. The objectives of the take-home exam are to test a student’s knowledge and logic in thinking through a problem and to ensure that the student is prepared to move on to the next phase in the program. The take-home exam is due approximately one week after completion of the methods, biostatistics, and substantive on-site exam.

Occasionally, a student chooses to take a course after or concurrent with the preliminary examinations. The student's faculty advisor and the Graduate Program Director must approve such an exception in advance in writing.

The Graduate Program Director coordinates the grading of the preliminary examinations. A committee of departmental faculty members review and score the examinations.

Students who fail these exams may have one opportunity to take the examinations again. A second failure results in automatic dismissal from the Ph.D. program.

Dissertation Proposal:
After passing the preliminary examinations, students may enroll in EPBI 9998 Dissertation Proposal Research. When eligibility has been confirmed, students contact the Assistant Director of Administration and request to be registered for the course.

All students must form a Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC) with the approval of the Graduate Program Director. 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 Graduate Program Director 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 and by the Graduate School 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 faculty advisor, formally petition the Graduate Program Director for an extension, although an extension is not guaranteed. Failure to meet these requirements can result in dismissal from the program.

When eligibility has been confirmed, students contact the Assistant Director of Administration and request to be registered for EPBI 9999 Dissertation Research.

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 present their plans for publishing their dissertation as part of their defense. Students must be enrolled continuously in EPBI 9999 until their dissertation is successfully defended. The Graduate School requires a minimum of 2 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 Graduate Program Director 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 department coordinator to secure a room. This should be done at least one month in advance of the proposed date. The department coordinator 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.