Frequently Asked Questions

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 method used to find the causes of health outcomes and diseases in populations. In epidemiology, the patient is the community and individuals are viewed collectively. By definition, epidemiology is the study (scientific, systematic, and data-driven) of the distribution (frequency, pattern) and determinants (causes, risk factors) of health-related states and events (not just diseases) in specified populations (neighborhood, school, city, state, country, global). It is also the application of this study to the control of health problems (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

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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.

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Are there jobs in epidemiology?

Yes! The job outlook in epidemiology is excellent. Potential career paths for epidemiologists include:

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

100% of our graduates have secured employment or further education or training one year post-graduation. Read more about the world of possibilities for PhD- and master’s-level epidemiologists.

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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 Academic Health Center. The Department of Epidemiology thus benefits from rich collaboration across the Academic Health Center, which also encompasses the Colleges of DentistryNursingPharmacy, and Veterinary Medicine; seven major research institutes focused on health issues of importance to Floridians; and more than 100 specialized centers of clinical expertise, 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.

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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 the 5th largest university in the United States. More than 7,000 international students from over 120 countries attend the University of Florida.

The University of Florida ranks 5th 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 U.S. 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.

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I’m interested in epidemiology, but I’m not sure which degree is right for me.

The PhD in Epidemiology is a terminal research degree granted on evidence of overall proficiency in epidemiology and particularly on the ability to apply the skills in an independent investigation as demonstrated in a dissertation presenting original research with a high degree of literary skill. A PhD is the right fit for someone whose goal is a career in research in a specialized area.

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. The Master of Science is a research degree that trains students in epidemiological methods and professional development and culminates in a publishable thesis. The Master of Public Health is a multidisciplinary degree that focuses on the practical elements of public health that can be applied in a professional career.

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 12-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.

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What backgrounds do PhD in Epidemiology students at UF have?

One of the greatest strengths of epidemiology is that it is based on many sciences and its students and practitioners come from a variety of backgrounds. In our classes, you will study with doctors, nurses, social workers, historians, psychologists, anthropologists, journalists, lawyers, and many others. Our students come to UF not only from Florida, but also from across the United States and around the world. When you join us, an exciting mix of students will enrich every one of your public health courses.

Meet our current cohort of PhD students, or see where in the world they come from.

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

Up to 30 credits of previous graduate-level coursework earned with a B grade or higher may be transferred to the PhD program.

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Is it necessary to contact potential faculty mentors before applying?

We encourage applicants to reach out to our faculty to discuss your research interests and training goals. However, this is not required. Getting in contact with faculty is a good way of demonstrating that you are committed to the University of Florida and to our program. We do require that applicants to our PhD program include in their statement of purpose the names of two core or joint faculty members working in your area of interest with whom you would like to work. Make sure you are familiar with all of our faculty’s research interests before you apply to our program.

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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 program and the application process. Please complete our contact form if you would like to schedule a visit to the department.

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

The UF International Center has tons of pertinent information about visas and other opportunities available to international students. Other information about funding, housing, transportation, and language instruction can be found at our international students page.

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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. Please complete our contact form if this situation applies to you.

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How can I check my application status?

You will be notified by program staff 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. You may always complete a contact form to ask about the status of your application.

The Department of Epidemiology does not monitor the status of official transcripts and test scores that are sent to the Office of Admissions. Be sure to monitor the application status portal available to you once you submit your application, and contact the Office of Admissions by using this contact form or by calling 352-392-1365 with any questions about the status of your official transcripts and test scores.

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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.

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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.

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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 our 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.

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When should I expect to hear about my admissions decision?

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

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

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

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