Epidemiology is the study of disease. In particular, epidemiologists determine patterns in illness outbreaks, collect data to determine the causes behind epidemics, and help advise policymakers in ways to prevent further spread of disease. To be successful, epidemiology students must study science, statistics, anatomy, and law. They must also be comfortable with conducting research on a grand scale. Upon graduating with an online Ph.D. in epidemiology, students can go on to work in academia, government offices, or non-profit organizations. They can also help influence government policy and educate the public.
Why a Ph.D. Degree?
Although there are bachelor’s and master’s degrees that permit students to major in epidemiology, only a doctoral degree in the field can give students the skills necessary for conducting research on a professional level. Students who study epidemiology at the graduate level will learn how to identify the cause, spread, and control of different illnesses and diseases. They will be experts in identifying problems within the population, surveying the scale of outbreaks, and drawing conclusions from data. As a result, they will have many high-level careers in research and academia available to them.
Getting Into a Ph.D. Degree Program
Ph.D. programs usually have strict requirements, although they may vary across each university. The most common criteria that students must meet include the following:
- Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a related field.
- Research experience.
- Passing GRE scores.
- Recommendation letters.
Inside a Epidemiology Ph.D. Degree Program
The epidemiology online degree involves significant study of science and statistics. Students will take course work in analytics, biostatistics, data analysis, and health risk assessments. They will learn to conduct research in an ethical manner and will also become familiar with the grant writing process. Some programs may also require students to gain hands-on experience in the field through internships.
Before graduating, students will complete a dissertation, which is a research project over an aspect of epidemiology. To do so, they will likely collect data, work with the public, and read as much information as possible. Research may also include examining case studies. At the culmination of the project, students will write a paper and then present their research to a faculty board. The entire degree program can take anywhere between five and eight years to complete, depending on how long a student takes to finish his or her dissertation.
What’s Next for Epidemiology Ph.D. Degree Holders?
Students who graduate with their epidemiology online phd will typically go on to become epidemiologists. They will work to educate the community and advise the government on disease identification, prevention, and control. They will also help determine the cause behind disease strains, as well as the methods that can prevent future outbreak.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that epidemiologists earn around $71,400 annually. The field is set to grow 24% by 2020, which is faster than the average career. Although only a master’s degree is required by many employers, a doctoral degree is a good way to stand out among fellow candidates. It can also help employees secure advancements and raises.