Feb 22, 2024  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Epidemiology, (PhD)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program

Xinhua Yu, MS, MD, PhD
Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator
305 Robison Hall

Email: xyu2@memphis.edu

The School of Public Health at The University of Memphis offers a PhD degree in Epidemiology, the highest academic degree for individuals planning to pursue scholarly careers in this discipline. This program is designed for those who intend to teach and conduct original research utilizing rigorous scientific theories and methods, as well as be active in advocating and promoting health policies and intervention programs to improve the general health of societies. The program will emphasize urban health and health disparities issues in Tennessee and in the Mid-South region.

Program Admission

A master’s degree is required for admission. Applicants must show potential for further study by having maintained a GPA of at least a 3.0 average in their master’s-level coursework. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) completed within the past five years is required. Competitive scores on the GRE are considered in the admissions decision. Applicants already holding a doctoral degree or its professional equivalent may be exempted from the GRE requirement. Other professional school standardized test scores (MCAT, DAT, or LSAT,) may be substituted for the GRE by applicants who are working toward or who have already earned post-baccalaureate degrees for example, in medicine, dentistry, management, or law. Test scores must be sent directly to Graduate Admissions by the testing agency. The University of Memphis institution code number for reporting ETS scores is R-1459.

All applicants who will be attending the University on a visa and who are not native speakers of English and are not graduates of the University of Memphis must supply a minimum score of 96 (80%) on the computer-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT), or an equivalent score on the paper-based test (TOEFL PBT).

Letters of recommendation from three individuals (at least one letter from a former professor or instructor) familiar with the applicant’s academic background or experience in public health related issues, specifying in detail the applicant’s capabilities for graduate study and for future performance as a public health scholar, are required. Applicants must also submit a personal statement of approximately 750 to 1000 words indicating his/her present interests and career goals, including how the PhD in Epidemiology will prepare the candidate to achieve these goals.

Materials submitted will be reviewed by the faculty admissions committee. Admissions decisions are made on the overall quality of the applicant’s scholarship and academic ability (based on GPAs, GRE scores, undergraduate and graduate coursework completed, research conducted, and recommendations) as well as the applicant’s “fit” for the program in terms of research interests and career goals.

Program Prerequisites

All doctoral students are required to fulfill the following pre-requisites (6 credit hours) or document equivalent coursework. These two courses will not count toward the required 63 hours of doctoral study:

Program Requirements

Credit Hours:

To qualify for graduation, students need to complete a minimum of 54 semester hours of graduate course work beyond the master’s degree plus 9 hours of PUBH 9000  (Doctoral Dissertation), for a minimum of 63 graduate credit hours. No more than 9 hours of dissertation credits will count toward the degree.

Transfer Credit:

Graduate School regulations must be followed regarding accepting academic credits from another institution. Courses proposed for transfer credit must meet the following two requirements. (a) The Tennessee Board of Regents requires a minimum of 750 contact minutes for each semester credit (2250 for a 3-hour course). (b) The Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools requires a minimum of 3 hours of class work per week for 3 hours of credit. Grades earned at another institution will not be computed in the University cumulative grade point average, nor will they be accepted for transfer, unless they are “B” (3.0) or better. No credit will be transferred unless it meets with the approval of the major advisor or program graduate coordinator.


Full-time students are expected to carry a minimum of 9 credits per semester, and to devote full time during their enrollment to the pursuit of degree-related activities. Full-time students with graduate assistantships are required to enroll for 9 credits each semester. Part-time students are expected to carry a minimum of 6 credits per semester, unless permission is granted from the advisor for a reduced course load.


All doctoral students are expected to be active in research collaboratively with members of the Division faculty each semester they are enrolled. Students may receive credit for research involvement by enrolling in PUBH 8800 - Guided Research in PUBH .

Retention Requirements:

Students must earn a grade of B (3. 0) or higher in all required courses. The PhD program will adhere to Graduate School policy regarding course grades and repetition of courses. All courses applied toward PhD degree program requirements must have the advisor’s written approval.

Residency Requirements:

The last 30 credit hours must be earned at The University of Memphis. Credit will be transferred to apply toward a doctoral program upon approval of the student’s advisory committee in accordance with Graduate School policy.

Comprehensive Examination:

Upon completion of required coursework and prior to enrolling in dissertation hours (PUBH 9000 ), the student must successfully complete a written and oral comprehensive exam. The exam will assess mastery of areas covered in the student’s program. The content of the examination for each student will consist of core competencies in public health, epidemiology, and biostatistics. Epidemiology and biostatistics faculty will be responsible for organizing and evaluating the comprehensive examination.


To fulfill the requirements for the PhD in Epidemiology, the student must write and defend a dissertation. The dissertation must adhere to the format outlined by the Graduate School. The dissertation topic will be determined by the student in consultation with the advisor and input from the advisory committee.

Program Curriculum:

The Epi PhD Program is a 54 semester hour degree program. Students are required to fulfill prerequisite courses PUBH 8150 - Biostatistical Methods I , and  PUBH 8170 - Epidemiology in PUBH , or document their equivalent. Credit hours for these prerequisite courses will not count toward the 54 hours required for graduation.

Epidemiology Electives: 15 credit hours

A total of fifteen (15) credit hours is required, example courses are:

Dissertation: 15 credit hours

Epi PhD Program Requirements

In addition to completion of the 54 semester hours of required coursework, program requirements include successful completion of written and oral comprehensive examinations, and the preparation and successful defense of a dissertation in accordance with the University of Memphis Graduate School policies and guidelines.

Questions about the Epi PhD Program curriculum and degree requirements?

Xinhua Yu, MD, PhD, MS, Associate Professor and Coordinator
Epidemiology Doctoral Program

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