Doctor of Philosophy


For more information about applying to the PhD program, kindly visit the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website.

The department is perhaps best known for its doctoral programs in the epidemiology of cancer, aging, lifecourse epidemiology (including perinatal and pediatric epidemiology), genomics, HIV/AIDS and social determinants of health. However, students in the department often work on projects with other departments within YSPH, other departments in the School of Medicine, and other schools within the University. Thus there are numerous opportunities for creating an experientially rich doctoral program. Graduates from the department's doctoral program are found on the faculties of universities throughout the world, at the highest levels of federal and international research programs, and in numerous private and public foundations, institutions, and industries.

Students may choose the traditional Epidemiology concentration or the Social and Behavioral Sciences concentration. The traditional Epidemiology concentration allows students to use primarily quantitative research methods to identify the causes of chronic disease in populations, including lifestyle factors and genomics, and evaluate the impact of chronic disease at a population level including consideration of various treatment approaches to improve outcomes and reduce costs. The Social and Behavioral Sciences concentration integrates epidemiologic methods with theory and methods of the social and behavioral sciences, with an emphasis on determining the social and behavioral determinants of health across diverse populations and development of health-enhancing interventions.  Students must select a concentration as soon as possible but no later than the end of the first year with the approval from their academic advisor. In consultation with the faculty advisor, the student chooses among doctoral-level courses offered by the department as well as among courses offered by the medical school or by other Yale professional or graduate schools. Students often take an advanced seminar in their specialty area and present their work in this collegial forum. All candidates must become proficient in statistical analysis, research methods, and the application of epidemiology to the field in which they have special interest.

Applicants should have solid preparation at the college level in the biological or social sciences and one year of college-level mathematics.

Students entering the doctoral program typically have a strong background in undergraduate science and frequently have a master's degree in public health or a related field, or significant public health research experience. A master’s degree is not required to apply for this program, although the majority of students in the program come with prior master’s preparation.