Epidemiology and Public Health Opportunities for Graduate Training

Programs of Study

The objective of the training program is to prepare students for careers in research, teaching, and service with institutions of veterinary and human medicine.  These include government agencies, private clinical practice, industry, and academic institutions that address a variety of issues related to human and animal health.


The training program is designed to attract students with diverse professional, cultural, and geographical backgrounds.  We seek both graduate veterinarians as well as non-veterinarians.  Non-veterinarians enrolled in the program have included biostatisticians, microbiologists, medical students, and economists with interests in the health of humans, animals, and the environment.  All applicants should have a keen interest in quantitative research methods as they relate to the study of health issues in populations and biological processes.  Students also must be willing to adopt an interdisciplinary team approach to solving problems in human and animal health. Therefore, excellent interpersonal communication skills are essential.

Courses and Degrees

Observational studies, clinical trials, infectious disease epidemiology, biostatistics, multivariate analysis, and biomedical ethics are among the subjects that are taught informal courses.  In addition to the epidemiology and public health courses offered at Purdue University, courses in epidemiology, public health and biostatistics are available in summer programs offered by the schools of public health at other universities.  The students may also select courses from other departments at Purdue University, including Animal Science, Statistics, Food Science, Foods and Nutrition, Biochemistry, Agricultural Economics, Health-Kinesiology and Leisure Studies, Health Sciences, Child Development and Family Studies and others.  The faculty in these departments may also serve on the students’ graduate advisory committees.

Numerous research opportunities are available at Purdue and with state and federal agencies.  Graduate students from foreign countries will be encouraged to consider research problems that are germane to their own cultures.  

Center for the Human-Animal Bond

The Center for the Human-Animal Bond fosters the interdisciplinary activities of the University by serving as a focal point for faculty and students interested in the development of new information related to human-animal interactions and animal welfare.  Center collaborators conduct research on animal behavior and human-animal interactions and basic studies to better elucidate the psychological and physiological effects of interrelationships between people and the animals that share their lives.  

Selected Examples of Dissertation Topics of Current and Former PhD Students

The Epidemiology and Pathogenesis of Cat-Scratch Disease

Molecular Studies of the Transmission of Zoonotic Tuberculosis in Uganda, Africa

Risk Factors for Internal Parasitism of Children in Guinea, Africa

Dynamics of the Pet Population in the United States

Causes of the Current Epidemic of Hyperthyroidism in Pet Cats

Dietary Risk Factors for Gastric Dilation in Dogs

Chemicals and Bladder Cancer in the Work Place

Influence of Pet Ownership on Human Evacuation Behaviors during Natural Disasters

Either a Master’s of Science (M.S.) degree or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree will be awarded upon successful completion of the required formal courses, a research project, defense of the thesis, and communication of the results to the scientific community.


The Section of Epidemiology and Public Health consists of faculty with diverse research and teaching interests.  A description of the faculty of the Department of Comparative Pathobiology can be found in the Graduate Program Requirements in Epidemiology and Public Health section.

Salary Support

A limited number of university assistantships and fellowships are available to highly qualified students.  All graduate students will be assisted by the faculty in applying for fellowships and research grants offered by other agencies including the NIH, USDA, EPA, Rockefeller Foundation, and World Health Organization.  


Candidates interested in applying to the graduate program in Epidemiology and Public Health should send an email or a letter of inquiry to:

Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Comparative Pathobiology
Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine
VPTH Building Room 101A, 725 Harrison Street
West Lafayette, IN  47907-2027
Office Phone 765-494-7543
Office Fax 765-496-2627
Email:  cpbgradc@purdue.edu 

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce.  

Department of Comparative Pathobiology Graduate Programs

The Department of Comparative Pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine is currently organized in three sections:  anatomic and clinical pathology; epidemiology and public health; and microbiology and immunology.  Much of the research and educational programs conducted by Purdue’s Center for the Human-Animal Bond is located within the Department of Comparative Pathobiology.  

The Department of Comparative Pathobiology offers graduate instruction leading to either a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degree to persons who possess the DVM degree or who have a baccalaureate degree and comprehensive training in the biological sciences, including bacteriology, epidemiology, immunology, laboratory and experimental medicine, parasitology, public health, toxicology and virology.

Graduate training within the department is designed to prepare students for careers in academia, industry, and government.  Opportunities are also available for the specialty boards in preventive medicine, microbiology, and pathology.  

The student with direction from a major professor and a graduate advisory committee will design a plan of study to direct achievement in an area of common interest to the student and the committee.  Course work may be chosen from a variety of academic disciplines to provide understanding and competence in the primary area of research.  Supportive course work may be selected from such areas as biochemistry, biostatistics, chemistry education, molecular biology, physiology, pharmacology, and physiology.  A thesis is required for both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, but a non-thesis option may be chosen for the MS/residency programs in anatomic pathology, clinical pathology, and laboratory animal medicine.  

Research off campus is also an option, made possible through collaborative agreements with non-profit research institutions and with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.  Such arrangements may be made depending on the interest of the student and the faculty sponsor.  

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, 765-494-7607

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