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The YSPH EMD program is unique in that its entire department is dedicated to infectious diseases, with faculty and students with various backgrounds conducting research both locally and globally. It provides students the opportunity to learn and utilize an array of methodologies from modeling to molecular epidemiology to gain insight into complex health problems.

Kelly Hagadorn
PhD Candidate

PhD in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases

Public Health students at the Grad School's matriculation ceremony.

The goals of doctoral training with a concentration in EMD are to provide a current theoretical and practical base of epidemiological and microbiological principles, to master research methods, and to apply these skills to investigations of the biology of infectious organisms of public health importance and the epidemiology of the diseases they cause. The approach is multidisciplinary. It includes ecological, clinical, cellular, immunologic and molecular aspects of infectious diseases, their causative agents, vertebrate hosts, and vectors. In addition, opportunities exist for Ph.D. training through interdepartmental programs in which YSPH faculty participate, such as the Microbiology and Immunobiology tracks of the Biomedical and Biological Studies program.

Applicants should have a bachelor's degree with a concentration in any of the biological sciences. Students with degrees in chemistry, physics, engineering or medicine are also encouraged to apply. Preparation in elementary calculus, elementary physics, inorganic and organic chemistry, statistics or advanced mathematics is desired. A master's degree is not required to apply for this program.

Although courses in epidemiology, microbiology and biostatistics are strongly recommended, there is no general required curriculum. A faculty advisor is assigned at the time the student matriculates. Each student plans, with the advice of the faculty advisor and the department representative to the Graduate Studies Executive Committee, a specific program that includes courses, seminars, laboratory rotations, and independent readings all tailored to the individual needs and career goals of the student. The plan is outlined as early as possible in the first semester of graduate study. A program of course work will most often include biostatistics, epidemiology, microbiology, as well as complementary courses offered in the basic biomedical sciences in other departments of the University. All students are required do three semester long laboratory rotations, each with a different principal investigator. After successful completion of the qualifying examination and submitting a prospectus, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. From this point students work exclusively on their dissertation research, culminating in the presentation of a thesis to the Yale faculty for examination.

This program does not require General GRE test scores.

Degree Requirements - PhD in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases

2023-24 matriculation

All courses are 1 unit unless otherwise noted.

The Ph.D. degree requires a total of 10 course units. Course substitutions must be identified and approved by the student’s advisor and DGS.

PhD Required Courses (5 course units)

  • EPH 508 Foundations of Epidemiology and Public Health* OR CDE 516 Principles of Epidemiology II*
  • EPH 600 Research Ethics and Responsibilities - 0 unit
  • EPH 608 Frontiers in Public Health (not offered in 2023-24)**
  • EMD 625 How to Develop, Write and Evaluate an NIH Proposal (fall) OR CDE 617 Developing a Research Proposal (spring)
  • EMD 670 Advanced Research Laboratories
  • EMD 671 Advanced Research Laboratories
  • EMD 672 Advanced Research Laboratories

* Students with prior graduate-level epidemiology courses may be exempt from coursework in epidemiology.

**Students entering the program with an MPH or relevant graduate degree may be exempt from this requirement.

PhD Suggested Electives (4 course units)

A minimum of 4 electives is required. Suggested courses are listed below, but any graduate-level course may be chosen (subject to advisor approval).

  • EMD 531 Genomic Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
  • EMD 533 Implementation Science
  • EMD 538 Quantitative Methods for Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • EMD 539 Introduction to the Analysis and Interpretation of Public Health Surveillance
  • EMD 553 Transmission Dynamic Models for Understanding Infectious Diseases
  • EMD 567 Tackling the Big Three: Malaria, TB, & HIV in Resource-Limited Settings
  • EMD 582 Political Epidemiology
  • EHS 568 Introduction to GIS for Public Health
  • HPM 570 Cost-Effectiveness Analysis and Decision-Making
  • MGT 611 Policy Modeling
  • S&DS 530 Data Exploration and Analysis
  • S&DS 538 Probability and Statistics
  • CDE 566 Causal Inference Methods in Public Health Research
rev 07/10/2023

Recent Dissertation Projects

  • The Optimization and Evaluation of Photoacoustic Flow Cytometry (PAFC) for the Non-Invasive Detection of Malaria-Infected Erythrocytes.
  • Health and Economic Impact of Mandated Human Papillomavirus Vaccination in the United States Uniformed Armed Services
  • Improving Spatial Sampling Strategies for the Molecular Surveillance of Drug Resistant Malaria
  • Spatial and Decision Analytic Models for Addressing Challenges in Pediatric Tuberculosis Control and Care
  • Spatial and Dynamic Modeling of Infectious Diseases
  • Traditional and Genomic Epidemiology of Emerging RNA Viruses in the Americas
  • Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Typhoid Prevention in Epidemic and Endemic Settings
  • Contact Tracing in the Era of COVID-19: Implementation of Traditional Strategies in Novel Contexts and Innovative Approaches to Address Existing Barriers
  • Understanding the Quality of Tuberculosis Care in Uganda
  • Estimating Variations in the Burden and Timing of RSV to Predict Vaccine Impact
  • A Multi-methods Approach to Investigating Novel Predictors of Legionnaires’ Disease (LD) and LD Diagnostic Testing Rates
  • Obtaining Robust Estimates of the Population-Level Impact of Vaccines