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Administrative Unit:Population Health Sciences
College/School: School of Medicine and Public Health
Admitting Plans:M.S., Ph.D.
Degrees Offered:M.S., Ph.D.


Faculty: Professors Nieto (chair), Cruickshanks, Durkin, Farrell, Kanarek, Palta, Patz, Remington, Young; Associate Professors Astor, Bautista, Trentham-Dietz; Assistant Professors Engelman, Gangnon, Malecki, Martinez-Donate, Peppard, Sethi, Skinner , Vanness, Witt; CHS Professor Brokopp


As a founding discipline of public health, epidemiology seeks to identify and characterize the determinants of disease and health-related conditions in the population, including aspects of health disparities among demographic groups.

Financial Aid

Students admitted to our degree programs are automatically considered for any available scholarships, traineeships, or graduate assistant positions in the department. The most common forms of funding support for our students are assistantships, traineeships, and fellowships.


Applications are welcome from students with diverse academic backgrounds. Students with strong quantitative skills and academic preparation in the biological sciences are strongly encouraged to apply. Evidence of academic preparation includes undergraduate course work or graduate or professional degrees.

Minimum requirements are:

  1. Applicants must have an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), although successful applicants generally have GPAs above 3.0.
  2. GRE scores no more than five years old are required for admission. MCAT scores no more than five years old can also be accepted.
  3. Applicants whose native language or language of study is not English must submit official scores from an English proficiency test (TOEFL). Further details are available on the Graduate School's website. Note that the minimum test scores for admission to the program is 92.
  4. Transcripts must show evidence of quantitative preparation, including at least one semester of calculus as well as academic preparation in biology.
  5. A personal statement and three letters are recommendations are required.
  6. Applicants must meet both the above departmental admission requirements and the Graduate School admission requirements.

Upon entry to the graduate program, students are matched with a faculty advisor. Faculty advisors helps students hone their interests, assists with identifying research projects, provide support for career development, and link students to the greater campus community. Students have the benefit of daily dialogues and personalized training from faculty members. Seminars and integrated discussion groups allow for increased interaction with core faculty and community lecturers. Finally, the work of students is valued as evidenced by their entries in the annual department poster session, participation in public health symposia, authorship of publications, and involvement in community/research projects.


The proposed curriculum has been adapted from the American College of Epidemiology and the Association of Schools of Public Health Workshop on Doctoral Education in Epidemiology. Course work in three core areas—epidemiological research methods (a four-course sequence), biostatistical methods (a three-course sequence), and human biology and physiology—plus electives and research credits will bring the total credit requirement for the M.S. to 33 credits, and the Ph.D. to 65 credits. An ethics course will be required for all students.

For the M.S. degree, students will complete 9 credits in the epidemiology core courses, 6 credits from the biostatistics courses, at least 9 credits of specialization courses, 1 credit of graduate seminar, at least 1 credit of ethics, and 3-5 research/thesis credits.  M.S. students will complete a major project or a thesis appropriate to an M.S. degree. For the Ph.D. degree, students will complete 12 credits in the epidemiology core courses, 12 credits from the biostatistics core, at least 12 credits of specialization courses, 2 credits of graduate seminar, at least 1 credit of ethics, minor courses (9-12 credits) and 6-12 thesis credits.

For more information: Population Health Graduate Program, 740 WARF Building, 610 North Walnut Street, Madison, WI 53726; 608-263-6583; fax 608-263-2820; pophealth@mailplus.wisc.edu; www.pophealth.wisc.edu.