Frequently Asked Questions: PhD in Epidemiology

Program Questions


Application Questions


Don’t see your specific question listed here? Please fill out a contact form and our academic program staff will be in touch with you soon.


What is epidemiology?

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events (including disease), and the application of this study to the control of diseases and other health problems (World Health Organization).

Return to top.


What subfields of epidemiology are there?

Department of Epidemiology faculty are experts in behavioral, cancer, cardiovascular, chronic disease, clinical, environmental, infectious disease, injury, maternal and child health, molecular, nutritional, psychiatric, spatial, social, and substance abuse epidemiology; big data science; biomedical modelling; community engagement; global health; minority health and health disparities; precision medicine; and translational science. No matter where your interests lie, there is cutting-edge work happening in the Department of Epidemiology.

Return to top.


Are there jobs in epidemiology?

Yes! The job outlook in epidemiology is excellent. Potential career paths for a PhD-level epidemiologist include:

  • Local/state epidemiologist
  • Research epidemiologist
  • Pharmacoepidemiologist
  • Clinical laboratory scientist
  • Academic

100% of our PhD graduates have found a job or a postdoctoral position immediately after graduating from our program. The majority of our PhD graduates now work in research in academia, government, or industry.

Return to top.


I’m interested in epidemiology, but a PhD is more than I need.

The Department of Epidemiology also offers a Master of Science in Epidemiology, and the College of Public Health and Health Professions offers a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology.

If you are already in the medical, mental health, or public health workforce, or you would like to move in that direction, but cannot interrupt your position to gain additional expertise and skills, consider our Certificate in Psychiatric Epidemiology. This 15-credit, fully online program is the only certificate program of its type in the world, and prepares professionals to address the critical mental health challenges of our time from an epidemiological perspective.

Return to top.


What is included in the PhD program curriculum?

View the full PhD program curriculum here and our upcoming course offerings here.

Return to top.


How many credits are required for the PhD program?

The PhD program requires 90 credits, broken down into the following categories:

Required Core Courses 36 credits
Elective Courses 39 credits
Pre-Candidacy Research 3 credits
Dissertation Research 12 credits

Return to top.


How many credits can I transfer into the PhD program from another institution?

Up to 30 credits from a previous graduate-level degree may be transferred to the PhD program.

Return to top.


What is unique about the Department of Epidemiology?

The mission of the Department of Epidemiology is to improve health globally through education, training, research, and service. We were established in 2011, and we are thus a young and rapidly growing department. Faculty in epidemiology are committed to multi-disciplinary research, are leaders in their respective fields, and are committed to teaching and advising. Each has a strong research portfolio with access to diverse populations and data sets. Our faculty publish prolifically and have numerous grants and contracts from local, state, and national agencies.

The Department of Epidemiology is jointly housed in the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine, two of the six colleges of the university’s Health Science Center. The Department of Epidemiology thus benefits from rich collaboration across the Health Science Center, which also encompasses the Colleges of Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine; seven major research institutes, including the Emerging Pathogens Institute, the Institute on Aging, the Institute for Child Health Policy, the McKnight Brain Institute, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the UF Genetics Institute, and the UF Health Cancer Center; and more than 100 specialized centers, including the Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium (SHARC) Center for Translational HIV Research, which is housed in the Department of Epidemiology.

The department is committed to reducing health disparities through HealthStreet, a community engagement program at the University of Florida that aims to improve the health of the Gainesville community by bridging gaps in healthcare and health research. HealthStreet’s Community Health Workers assess health concerns, conditions and research perceptions of community members. They also provide referrals to community members for medical and social services, as well as opportunities to participate in health research, relevant to their health concerns and health conditions. Research and volunteer opportunities abound at HealthStreet.

Faculty in epidemiology have spearheaded a number of landmark studies, including the Haiti Health Study, the Florida component of the national NIH- and CDC-funded Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, and the Medication Use, Safety, and Evidence (MUSE) Study.

Return to top.


How does the University of Florida compare to other universities?

The University of Florida is a major public, comprehensive, land-, sea-, and space-grant university. It is Florida’s oldest and most comprehensive institution of higher learning. With an enrollment of over 52,000 students, the University of Florida is one of the five largest universities in the United States. More than 7,000 international students from over 120 countries attend the University of Florida.

The University of Florida ranks 9th among the top U.S. public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. The University ranks among the nation’s 51 leading research universities as categorized by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, and it holds membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities, thus being ranked among the top 60 US research institutions.

Three institutions — the University of Minnesota, the Ohio State University, and the University of Florida — offer more academic programs on a single campus than any of the other approximately 3,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. The University of Florida has 19 colleges and schools and over 60 interdisciplinary research and education centers, bureaus, and institutes. The Graduate School coordinates programs in approximately 90 academic departments leading to over 100 master’s degrees and 60 doctoral degrees.

Return to top.


What will the PhD cost me?


All students who are admitted to our PhD program are fully funded, including a tuition waiver and stipend. Students are responsible for paying student fees each semester. You can view a breakdown of estimated student fees in the most recent academic year here. Fees are subject to change each academic year.

Return to top.


What financial assistance is available for PhD students?

All students who are admitted to our PhD program are fully funded, including a tuition waiver and stipend. Students are responsible for paying student fees each semester. Depending on the sources of your funding, you may work up to 20 hours per week as a graduate research assistant to your research mentor, or as a graduate teaching assistant for the department.

We strongly encourage all applicants to apply for external sources of funding. Several sources of funding available to our doctoral applicants and students are listed below; this is not an exhaustive list, and we encourage applicants to seek out additional scholarships on their own.

UF Office for Student Financial Affairs

UF Scholarship Search Engine

University of Florida Substance Abuse Training Center in Public Health
The program will: i) train talented individuals to independently work from the individual level (behavioral interventions) to the population level (exposure and consequences of addiction) to eliminate health inequalities related to substance use and its consequences; ii) provide trainees with an apprenticeship style education to master skills to critically evaluate data, conduct multiple aspects of addiction research and become successful, and independent investigators who contribute to the field; iii) train individuals to understand, apply and maintain the highest ethical standards in their science and scholarship as socially responsible investigators.

Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
To provide predoctoral individuals with supervised research training in specified health and health-related areas leading toward the research doctoral degree (e.g., PhD).

Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship
The Bridge to the Doctorate (BD) Grant is awarded by the National Science Foundation through the Florida-Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (FG-LSAMP) to enhance recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The BD program at UF provides up to a $32,000-per-year stipend for the first two years of doctoral studies to former LSAMP students who are entering a STEM PhD program and and have earned a baccalaureate degree or will earn a baccalaureate degree from an LSAMP institution (click here to read the LSAMP STEM classification). Former LSAMP students who are entering a PhD program after completing a baccalaureate degree are eligible to apply.

FAMU Feeder Program
The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Feeder Program affords FAMU students the opportunity to receive advanced study in graduate programs not available at FAMU. UF is one of more than 40 universities in the FAMU Feeder Program aimed at increasing the number of FAMU students in graduate programs. UF offers five fellowships every year to qualified FAMU Feeder students who have been admitted to a PhD or a terminal MFA degree program. Each fellow receives a base stipend of $26,080 in-state tuition, fee waiver and health insurance for up to five years for a PhD and up to 3 years for a terminal MFA degree.

McKnight Doctoral Fellowship
The Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives, in partnership with the Florida Education Fund, administers the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship for African-American and Hispanic students. The program is designed to increase the number of African-American and Hispanic faculty in the state of Florida. Each fellow receives a base stipend of $26,080 with tuition, health insurance and fee waiver for a maximum of five years for a PhD. Applicants must be US citizens admitted to a University of Florida PhD program and entering the first year of that program. Students are not required to have admission decisions at the time of application submission.

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships
These fellowships are awarded to graduate and undergraduate students to study a less-commonly-taught European or Latin American language and to take European or Latin American area studies courses.

McNair Graduate Assistantship Program
The McNair Graduate Assistantship Program was created to provide support for students who have successfully completed the McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program as undergraduates. UF provides a limited number of research assistantships for McNair Scholars who are entering a PhD program at this institution. This assistantship program provides a base stipend of $26,080, in-state tuition, fees and health insurance for up to 5 years for a PhD or up to 3 years for an MFA degree. As part of the program, each student will be appointed to a research assistant and expected to conduct research under faculty supervision.

UF/Santa Fe College Faculty Development Project
The UF/Santa Fe College Faculty Development Project is a partnership between the University of Florida and local Santa Fe College that aims to increase faculty diversity at Santa Fe College while providing African American and Hispanic doctoral students at UF with valuable teaching experience. Participants teach two courses per year at SFC and assist in its recruitment and retention of minority and underrepresented students. The program provides a stipend of $15,000 for nine months, in-state tuition, fees, and health insurance for fall-spring semesters with an additional amount supplied by UF. Participants must have a master’s degree in an approved field, 18 credit hours of graduate level hours in an approved field completed, and have passed their qualifying exams.

Latin American-Caribbean (LAC) Scholarship
As part of Florida State Statutes, full-time graduate students from one of 23 countries in Central and South America are eligible for a non-resident tuition waiver, if they receive a federal or state scholarship of $500 or more per semester.

Southern Regional Education Board Doctoral Award
You may apply for this award if you are within the first year of your PhD program or are expecting admission before the academic year begins.

The Doctoral Award offers three years of direct program support and two years of institutional support from the scholar’s college, university and/or department, in the form of a $20,000 annual stipend. Each recipient also is awarded up to five years of university-covered tuition and fees (unless the institution prohibits a fee waiver). In addition, the program provides professional development support and covers expenses associated with attending the annual Compact for Faculty Diversity Institute on Teaching and Mentoring.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund
The HSF Scholarship is designed to assist students of Hispanic heritage obtain a college degree. Awards are based on merit; amounts range from $500 to $5,000, based on relative need, among the Scholars selected.

American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) Scholars Graduate Opportunities
AIGC provides financial support for American Indians and Alaska Natives seeking higher education, and supports them in attaining undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. AIGC partners with Tribes, the federal government, foundations, corporations, and individuals to ensure the growth and sustainability of scholarships.

Campus Visitation Program
The UF Office of Graduate Diversity Initiatives (OGDI) encourages underrepresented minority students to pursue doctoral degrees at the University of Florida. As part of its recruitment efforts, OGDI sponsors a two-day Campus Visitation Program (CVP) to give prospective PhD students the opportunity to engage with the UF community. Acceptance is based on academic merit and upon application review, student participation is by invitation only. This process facilitates recruitment of highly qualified and motivated students.

During the visitation, prospective doctoral students receive an overview of the University of Florida graduate programs, financial aid resources, and gain insight into the decision-making process involved in selecting a graduate school. Most importantly, participants will meet with faculty and staff from their prospective academic programs, as well as receive information from admissions, financial aid, and house. Additionally, students will interact with current graduate students and student organizations. This provides seniors, graduates and master’s students from underrepresented groups—African-American, Hispanic-American, Native-American and, Pacific Islander who are interested in pursuing a PhD with an excellent opportunity to visit the UF campus and connect with their potential graduate program.

The University of Florida will provide lodging for two nights, most meals, and up to $500 in airfare or mileage. We will also reimburse the UF Graduate School Application fee if accepted into CVP. Please note: To qualify for airfare reimbursement, tickets must be purchased two weeks prior to the start of the event.

Applicants must complete an official UF graduate school application before applying to CVP. All CVP applications are reviewed by a committee and decisions will be made 4 weeks after the application deadline.

Board of Education (BOE) Fellowship Program
Each summer, we select a cohort of newly enrolled underrepresented PhD students to participate in our six-week summer program. BOE is designed as an orientation to graduate education and promotes acclimation to the University of Florida. BOE Fellows receive a $3,500 stipend to assist with your transition to Gainesville and 4 credit hours of paid, in-state tuition in your admitted department.

BOE is open to newly enrolled students who have been accepted into a UF doctoral program and who meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • Ethnic or cultural minority
  • Low-income status
  • First generation college graduate
  • Underrepresented in their field of study

Employment Opportunities for International Students

Grants
International students are eligible for some grants, and grant search materials can be found at the UF Libraries Grants and Fellowships: Funding Opportunities. A yearly workshop is available for finding grants for international students. Also see the Libraries’ list of databases, such as IRIS and Community of Science (COS), to aid your funding search. The Grad School also provides funding for students near the completion of their dissertations.

The UF Office of Research maintains a number of funding opportunity resources for all members of the UF community, including a list of funding opportunities specifically for graduate students.

Dissertation Funding
Funding sources set aside to help current doctoral students finish their dissertations.

Careers at UF

Return to top.


What are the criteria for admission into the PhD program?

The following criteria must be met to be considered for admission to the PhD in Epidemiology program:

  • Bachelor’s or equivalent degree from an accredited college or university (preferred: Master’s degree)
  • Upper-division undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale. The University of Florida defines upper-division as all coursework taken after the term during which you earned 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Verbal + Quantitative score of at least 300
    • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Verbal score of at least 150
    • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Analytical Writing score of at least 3.0 (strongly preferred: at least 3.5)
  • If an international student, one of the following English proficiency exams:
    • TOEFL iBT score of at least 80 (strongly preferred: at least 90)
    • TOEFL pBT score of at least 550
    • IELTS score of at least 6
    • MELAB score of at least 77
    • Please note: The TOEFL ITP is not accepted for admissions purposes.

Please note that quantitative performance above these thresholds does not guarantee admission. The Department of Epidemiology reviews an individual’s overall application package in determining whether to offer admission.

Return to top.


When should I apply?

The deadline for fall admission to the PhD program is December 1st, with notifications made by April 1st. All application materials must be received by the December 1st deadline. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Please reference our recommended application planning timeline.

Return to top.


What are the application procedures?

Applicants must apply to and be accepted by both the UF Graduate School and the Department of Epidemiology. View a detailed breakdown of our PhD application procedures here, and read about the Graduate School’s application procedures here.

Return to top.


May I come visit the department?

Absolutely! We encourage all applicants to come visit the department to meet their potential mentors and ask any questions they may have about the application process. Send an email to abihummel@ufl.edu if you would like to schedule a visit to the department.

Return to top.


Is SOPHAS required?

SOPHAS is not required. Applicants must apply to and be accepted by both the UF Graduate School and the Department of Epidemiology. The departmental application can be submitted either through SOPHAS, or directly to the department via email or regular mail. Some applicants prefer to submit through SOPHAS for convenience, while others prefer to submit directly to the department so that they do not need to pay the SOPHAS application fee. Either way is acceptable.

If you choose to submit through SOPHAS, please make sure you have submitted all documents required in the departmental application.

Return to top.


Where should I send my application materials to the department?

Email your materials to abihummel@ufl.edu, or mail to:

For courier (such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL) delivery:

Abigail Hummel
Department of Epidemiology
University of Florida
2004 Mowry Road
Room 4236
Gainesville, FL
32610-3010

For US Postal Service delivery:

Abigail Hummel
Department of Epidemiology
University of Florida
2004 Mowry Road
PO Box 100231
Gainesville, FL
32610-3010

Return to top.


Can I send my application materials in separate mails?

Whether you are mailing or emailing your documents, please be sure to submit them all at once and do not send items in one at a time if at all possible.

Return to top.


Where should I send my official transcripts and test scores?

Official transcripts, IELTS, and MELAB scores should be sent to the following address:

For courier (such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL) delivery:

University of Florida
Office of Admissions
201 Criser Hall
Gainesville, FL
32611-4000

For US Postal Service delivery:

University of Florida
Office of Admissions
201 Criser Hall
PO Box 114000
Gainesville, FL
32611-4000

Transcripts can also be sent electronically to te@admissions.ufl.edu. The University of Florida accepts electronic transcripts from Parchment, National Student Clearinghouse, and eScrip.

Official GRE and TOEFL scores should be sent to the University of Florida, code 5812.

Return to top.


I have already sent my official transcripts and test scores to SOPHAS; do I need to send them again to the University of Florida?

Yes. The University of Florida requires that official transcripts from each previous institution attended, official GRE scores, and official TOEFL/IELTS/MELAB scores (for international students) be sent directly to the Office of Admissions, regardless of whether you have already sent these documents to SOPHAS.

Please reference our instructions for sending official documents to the Office of Admissions.

Return to top.


I have already requested my three recommendation letters through SOPHAS; do I need to request them again through the Graduate School application and/or have my recommenders send their letters directly to the department?

No. The department is able to download your recommendation letters from SOPHAS. There is no need to request duplicate recommendation letters through the Graduate School application, nor to ask your recommenders to send a duplicate letter directly to the department.

Return to top.


I have already uploaded my statement of purpose, CV, unofficial transcripts, and unofficial test scores to SOPHAS; do I need to upload them again to the Graduate School application and/or send them directly to the department?

No. The department is able to download your statement of purpose, CV, unofficial transcripts, and unofficial test scores from SOPHAS. There is no need to re-upload these documents to the Graduate School application, nor to send duplicate copies directly to the department.

Return to top.


Do I need to submit GRE scores?

The GRE is a requirement for admission into our PhD program. The GRE may be waived for applicants with previous graduate or professional degrees at the discretion of the admissions committee and approval of the UF Graduate School. Applicants with an MD or a PhD in a health-related discipline from a university in the United States do not have to take the GRE. A foreign MBBS will not exempt applicants from the GRE. UF will not accept the MCAT or other graduate exams as a replacement for the GRE.

If you choose to apply without submitting GRE scores, please submit a brief statement explaining why you wish your application to be considered without GRE scores.

Please reference our minimum GRE score requirements.

Return to top.


Do I need to submit TOEFL/IELTS/MELAB scores?

UF requires proficiency in spoken and written English. International students are exempt from the English proficiency exam requirement if enrolled for one academic year in a degree-seeking program at a regionally accredited college or university in a country where English is the official language prior to your anticipated term of enrollment at UF, or if you are from one of the following countries.

Florida law requires all international students who are going to be graduate teaching assistants – even if exempted from the English proficiency exam requirement – to prove adequate command of the English language. The Graduate School or the Department of Epidemiology may require an Academic Spoken English (ASE) course of any student whose English competency is not considered adequate. More information about the ASE courses offered at the University of Florida can be found here.

Please reference our minimum English proficiency exam score requirements.

Return to top.


I am an international applicant; where can I go to find visa and other pertinent information?

After official notice of admission to the university, contact the UF International Center to begin your I-20 process. Do not leave your country before obtaining a student visa and do not come to the United States with a B (tourist) visa.

Return to top.


I am currently enrolled at UF as a graduate student; does the application process differ for me?

Yes. Currently enrolled UF graduate students do not need to reapply to the UF Graduate School. Simply submit your application documents on SOPHAS or send them directly to abihummel@ufl.edu.

Return to top.


How can I be sure that my application is complete?

You will be notified by the Academic Program Assistant when you begin submitting your application materials. You will be sent a confirmation email indicating receipt of the application and indicating any missing documents. You will also receive a confirmation email when your package is completed.

Return to top.


How long does it take to process my application?

It takes some time to process your application and to make sure that all required documents have been submitted to the appropriate places. It is recommended that you start your application as early as possible, and make sure that you leave enough time to have all paperwork submitted from your institutions. Incomplete applications will not be considered, so be sure to have all documents in by the December 1st deadline.

Return to top.


What is the review process for PhD applications?

The Department of Epidemiology has an Admissions Committee made up of core faculty members. This committee reviews and ranks all applications based on our departmental criteria and offers admission to the top-ranked candidates.

Return to top.


What are the criteria being used to evaluate my application?

The Department of Epidemiology Admissions Committee looks at all submitted application documents when making an admissions decision. While you will be held to the Graduate School’s minimum requirements for GPA and test scores, you will also be evaluated on the basis of recommendations, relevance to our mission, faculty interest, and credentials.

Return to top.


When should I expect to hear about my admissions decision?

All notifications to applicants will be made by April 1st.

Return to top.


If my application is rejected, can I apply for the program next year?

If admission is formally denied to you, then you may wait and re-apply for the next admissions cycle. Please be advised that you will have to re-apply to the Graduate School as well, and pay another application fee.

Return to top.