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DrPH in Epidemiology

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Program Description: 


The Department of Epidemiology is home to a number of exciting projects, including the UCLA/Fogarty International HIV/AIDS Training Program, the NCI-Cancer Training Program, and the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund Inter-school Training Program in Metabolic Diseases. The Department has active research programs in cancer, molecular/genetic, environmental and occupational epidemiology, neurodegeneration and aging-related diseases, diabetes, infectious diseases and research methodology. The Global Bio Lab, with its capacity to respond to the world’s deadliest biological threats, also offers cutting-edge training.

Epidemiology focuses on the health problems in population groups. The scope of this exciting field ranges from the study of the causes of disease to the control of prevention of disease and the distribution of health resources. Epidemiologists study the variation of disease in relation to age, sex, race, occupational and social characteristics, place of residence, susceptibility, exposure to specific agents or other relevant factors.  The DrPH program is intended mainly for students who wish to work in public health agencies as epidemiologists.

Program Requirements

The DrPH in Epidemiology requires the completion of at least 72 quarter-credit units.

Course Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of 50 units beyond the requirements of the MPH degree in Epidemiology. Epidemiology M204 (four units) and either four units for a course in statistics beyond Biostatistics 100B/110B or four units in methodology from a list approved by the department are required. The requirements are equivalent for all students, regardless of whether they hold a prior doctoral degree. Students must take at least five full courses (20 units) of the 50 units within the Department of Epidemiology, and a minimum of six full courses (24 units) in at least two School of Public Health departments other than Epidemiology. At least four of the six non-Epidemiology courses must be at the 200 or 400 level. Students must also take three quarters of Epidemiology 292 for a total of six units, thereby fulfilling the 50-unit minimum requirement.

Epidemiology 292: Advanced Doctoral Seminar

All doctoral students must enroll in Epidemiology 292 in three quarters of their tenure. Students must enroll in at least one of the three prior to their Oral Qualifying Exam (preliminary proposal) during which time they must present their oral defense. Doctoral students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to present a second time in a later doctoral seminar after they have advanced as preparation for their Final Oral Exam (dissertation defense).

Enrollment in Epidemiology 292 as a Masters student is not applicable to this requirement as a doctoral student.

Field Experience

A field experience is required, chosen in consultation with the adviser, for a duration of at least eight months, and is composed of full-time field training at no more than two sites, with at least one being outside of the School of Public Health. During the field experience, students enroll in eight units of Epidemiology 596 in each quarter of the academic year. These 596 units are in addition to the 50-unit minimum requirement. It is recommended that the field work take place after the student has passed the written qualifying examination. The chosen field site may be with a government or non-government health agency, a private foundation, the military, or with a business in the private sector. The selected site should have public health relevance and offer exposure to creative epidemiologic practices and experiences. The intent is to provide experience in recognizing and describing health problems, determining causative factors, developing intervention or prevention strategies, and evaluating the effect or impact of health programs or policies.

Written and Oral Qualifying Examination

In order to advance to candidacy, students must pass the departmental written doctoral examination and the Oral Qualifying Examination. After completing the course requirements, and passing both the written doctoral examination and the oral qualifying examination, the student may be advanced to candidacy and complete work on a dissertation in the principal field of study.

Advancement to Candidacy

Students are advanced to candidacy upon successful completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations.

Final Oral Examination (Defense of the Dissertation)

Required for all students in the doctoral program. All committee members must participate in the Final Oral Examination and Dissertation Defense.

Time To Degree

The approved normative time-to-degree is 18 quarters (6 years). Maximum allowable time for the attainment of the degree is 24 quarters of enrollment (8 years). This limitation includes quarters enrolled in previous graduate study at a UC campus prior to admission to the doctoral degree program and leaves of absence.On average, students complete the DrPH program in Epidemiology in less than 5 years.


Desired Qualifications

In addition to the University’s minimum requirements, for admission to the DrPH degree program, the school requires:

  • Satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE);
  • Completion of the MPH or a master's degree in an appropriately related field. If the master's degree is in a field other than public health, applicants must have taken the equivalent of the core mandatory MPH courses or include them in the course of study after admission;
  • At least a 3.0 junior-senior grade-point average, at least a 3.5 GPA in graduate studies or demonstrated superiority in graduate work, and a combined GPA of no less than 3.56 in Epidem 200A, 200B, and 200C with no less than a 3.30 in a single course in the series
  • A positive recommendation by a department in the School of Public Health;
  • Approval by the doctoral admissions committee and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

Admissions Process

The deadline for graduate applications is December 1 for admission to the coming Fall academic quarter in the ensuing year. Early applications are encouraged, to ensure timely receipt of all required documentation. Applications received after the December 1st deadline may be considered, but will have reduced opportunities for admission, financial support, and housing.

The application process has three steps. You must:

  1. Submit an on-line application and pay the application fee at SOPHAS,
  2. Submit an online application and pay the application fee at UCLA Graduate Admissions, and
  3. Mail required academic documents and test scores to SOPHAS and to UCLA's School of Public Health.

For complete application instructions and the list of required materials, review the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Admission Application Check List and Submission Instructions.

As we receive many more qualified applicants for the program than there are available spaces, meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission to the program. 

Tuition and Fees

Total new student mandatory fees for 2015-16 for residents are $23,129.74. For non-residents, total mandatory fees are $35,830.74. Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

Please see FSPH Financial Opportunities page for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment, summer internship funding, and need-based aid. Please note that opportunities listed under 'Summer Internship Funding' are only applicable to MPH students.


An epidemiologist may work in a wide variety of settings, including international health agencies, state and local health departments, federal government agencies and health programs, health maintenance organizations, colleges and universities, and numerous research institutions, both privately and publicly sponsored.

Faculty in this Department

For a list of faculty in this department, please click here.

To search all School of Public Health faculty members by name, department or area of expertise, click here.

Helpful Links

Who to Contact for More Information

For more information or questions, please contact Joy Miller at or 310.206.3901.


*This information is intended as an overview, and should be used as a guide only. Requirements, course offerings and other elements may change, and this overview may not list all details of the program. For the most up-to-date information, please consult the registrar’s office.

PDF icon Epidemiology Student Handbook 2017-18376.49 KB

* Admission requirements listed are departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

** Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.