Department of

Public Health Sciences


Public Health Sciences


site header

Program Overview

The PhD in Epidemiology is a 4 year program. The program consists of 3 main components, which are detailed below. Please contact Tim Rosillo, PhD Graduate Assistant for more information.

Core Courses

Students will take and pass a course in Advanced Methods in Biostatistics (EPID 823) during the fall term of the first year and one full course in Advanced Epidemiology (EPID 901) during the fall and winter terms of the first year. In addition to required courses, students are encouraged to take additional elective courses, as deemed appropriate by their Supervisor(s).

Each doctoral level course will have prerequisites from among the Queen's Master's level courses (or equivalents from other Universities). Therefore, students entering Doctoral studies in epidemiology who do not have Master's degrees in epidemiology or a closely related discipline may be required to meet appropriate pre-requisite requirements prior to enrolling in PhD coursework, as determined by the Graduate Education Committee.

Comprehensive Exam

All Doctoral students must pass a Comprehensive Exam. Students will be evaluated for their in-depth knowledge in theoretical and applied epidemiologic and biostatistical methods; and, theoretical and applied knowledge in their stream and specific topic area.

To assist in preparing for the examination, students will be provided with a recommended reading list of key texts. They will be expected to prepare for the comprehensive examination mainly through self-directed study, although informal sessions to aid preparation will be arranged and faculty consultation will be encouraged.

The exam will usually take place after all coursework has been completed in June of the first year of study.  It will contain a written and an oral component. Specific content and format will be determined by a Comprehensive Examination Committee.

Students must prepare and successfully defend PhD Thesis Research Project (EPID 999). Through the dissertation process, students will demonstrate the ability to undertake epidemiological studies, including the ability to:
  • critically appraise and synthesize biomedical literature surrounding epidemiologic topics and concepts;
  • develop novel hypotheses that can be examined via epidemiological study;
  • develop practical epidemiological study designs aimed at testing these hypotheses and write scientific protocols that summarize research plans;
  • understand the implications of findings within appropriate population health, health services/policy, or clinical contexts.