Graduate Program Requirements in Epidemiology and Public Health

Epidemiology and Public Health Graduate Faculty

A.M. Beck, ScD, Dorothy N. McAllister Professor of Animal Ecology; Director, Center of the Human-Animal Bond

A. Ruple-Czerniak, BS, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health

G.E. Moore, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM, Dipl. ACVIM, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology

H.Y. Weng, BVM, MPH, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical/Analytical Epidemiology

Requirements for the PhD Degree in Epidemiology

Course Work

Required Courses for the PhD degree in Comparative Epidemiology within the Section of Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Comparative Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University.

The courses listed in this section represent the minimum requirements for all candidates for the PhD degree.  Additional courses may be required by the student’s graduate advisory committee.  Additional courses may also be taken at summer short courses offered by other universities.

CPB Courses:

CPB 85400 Principles of Epidemiology, 1 credit

CPB 86900 Veterinary Public Health and Zoonoses, 2 credits

CPB 61800 Ethical Issues in Biomedical Research, 2 credits
The course examines moral reasoning as it applies to biomedical research. Topics include obligations to human and animal research subjects, ethical considerations in research design, data interpretation, and ethical conduct of research, publication authorship, fraud, and public policy.   Typically offered each Spring.

CPB 61900 Design, Conduct, and Analysis of Clinical Trials, 2 credits
This course reviews the various types of clinical trials that are used in medical research, e.g. therapeutic and preventive.  The stages and activities of a ‘typical’ trial are defined along with factors that influence study design.  Key elements of data collection, organization, analysis, and interpretation and reporting of results are discussed and illustrated using published reports of clinical trials.  Differences in the design and conduct of trials in humans and animals will be considered including the ethical concerns and costs.  A graduate level introductory course in biostatistics is highly recommended prior to this course.  Typically offered alternate Fall.

CPB 62600 Design and Analysis of Epidemiologic Studies, 3 credits
Focuses on epidemiologic study design and the applications of statistical software to the analysis of data derived from health research. Includes an overview of epidemiologic study designs, frequency and association measures, generalized linear models and survival analysis. Hands-on computer laboratories are provided using data derived from field studies. Prerequisite: Graduate level course work in Biostatistics or by approval of the instructor. Typically offered alternate Fall.

CPB 62500 Clinical Biostatistics, 2 credits
Intended for professional medical and biological science graduate students, this course is designed to familiarize them with the appropriate usage (and reporting) of different statistical tests in biomedical research.  Students will be taught the basic theories underlying the different tests, the data assumptions underlying the application of those tests, and will review/critique published scientific articles that employed these tests.  Students will have the opportunity to describe the appropriate statistical methods to be used in their proposed research and/or report the usage of appropriate statistical tests on their own data.  A graduate level introductory course in biostatistics is recommended, but not required, prior to this course.  Typically offered each Spring.

CPB 69500 Seminar in Epidemiology, 1 credit, taken every fall/spring semester
Graduate students enrolled in this course are required to give a seminar presentation to the group, focusing on discussion of recent research in epidemiology, emphasizing study design, analysis, and public health significance.  Discussion topics will be selected from the following areas:  clinical epidemiology, infectious disease epidemiology, chronic disease epidemiology, environmental epidemiology, and spatial epidemiology.  Active discussion of assigned readings is also expected each week.  Typically offered each Fall and Spring.

CPB 69700 CPB Research Seminar, 0 or 1 credit, taken every fall/spring semester

Required Courses in Other Departments:

STAT 50300 Statistical Method for Biology, 3 credits

STAT 51200 Applied Regression Analysis, 3 credits

STAT 52400 Applied Multivariate Analysis, 3 credits

Recommended Courses in Other Departments:

STAT 51400 Design of Experiments, 3 credits

F&N 59000 Nutritional Epidemiology, 3 credits

HSCI 54700 Environmental Epidemiology, 2 credits

HSCI 59000 Public Health Law and Policy, 3 credits

All students will be required to present evidence of course work in the following areas.  Deficiencies must be made up early in the student’s academic program.



Pathogenesis of Disease

Cell Biology


Medical Microbiology

Preliminary Examination

After completion of required course work and before submission of the research proposal, students will be expected to demonstrate broad competence in epidemiology as determined by a preliminary examination.  Preliminary examinations will be offered once a year for students required to take it that year and will consist of three parts:

  1. A written closed-book monitored test on epidemiologic principles
  1. A written open-book non-monitored exam consisting of the following:
  1. A critique of research papers
  2. A data set to be analyzed
  3. Design of an epidemiologic study
  1. An oral examination to probe the depth of the student’s ability to orally communicate an understanding of epidemiologic principles.

The preliminary examination will contain material from the following four areas of epidemiology:

  1. Study design
  2. Data analysis
  3. Infectious disease
  4. Public and environmental health

The written questions for both exams will be composed and graded by the members of the epidemiology and public health section.  The oral exam will be presented by the student’s graduate advisory committee.  The preliminary examination described here represents “core material” in which all students with an epidemiology concentration must demonstrate competence.  The student’s graduate advisory committee still has the responsibility for administering the preliminary examination and additional questions from committee members should be expected by the student.  

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