This is a named option within the Population Health Ph.D.

Fall Deadline December 1
Spring Deadline This program does not admit in the spring.
Summer Deadline This program does not admit in the summer.
GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Required.*
English Proficiency Test Every applicant whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English must provide an English proficiency test score and meet the Graduate School minimum requirements (
Other Test(s) (e.g., GMAT, MCAT) n/a
Letters of Recommendation Required 3

Applications are welcome from students with diverse academic backgrounds. Students with strong academic preparation in the biological/medical sciences, quantitative analysis, and/or population health related social sciences are strongly encouraged to apply. Historically, many applicants who have succeeded in our program have come to the program with backgrounds in fields as diverse as microbiology, genetics, nutritional sciences, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, environmental sciences, political sciences, business, sociology, education, engineering, psychology, and economics.

New students are admitted to start in the fall semester of each school year. Applications are due by December 1 of each year. Late applications are not accepted.

Minimum requirements are:

  1. Applicants must fulfill all Graduate School requirements.
  2. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree with a grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Successful applicants generally have GPAs well above 3.0.
  3. GRE scores no more than five years old are required for admission. Applicants with professional degrees may substitute their scores for the entrance exam that was required for the degree (e.g., MCAT, LSAT), if taken within the last 5 years. For more information on the GRE, see this link.
  4. Applicants whose native language and language of study is not English must submit official TOEFL scores. Scores must be no more than five years old at the start of the semester for which an applicant is applying. Further details are available on the Graduate School website. Note that the minimum test scores for the program are higher than those required by the Graduate School. Students can submit scores for the TOEFL or the IELTS exam. For the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a minimum score of 580 (written), 237 (computer-based), or 92 (Internet-based) or above is absolutely required. For the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), a minimum score of 7 is required. Use ETS institution code 1846.
  5. At least one semester of advanced quantitative preparation (calculus is strongly preferred) with a grade of "B" or better.
  6. A personal statement is required.
  7. Three letters of recommendation are to be submitted electronically.

Upon entry to the graduate programs, 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 regular dialogues with 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.

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

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.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Named Option Requirements


Face to Face Evening/Weekend Online Hybrid Accelerated
Yes No No Yes No

Mode of Instruction Definitions


Minimum Credit Requirement 51 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 39 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement 100% of all coursework taken as a graduate student must be in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide (
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 in all graduate work (including transfer credits) unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Students must also maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.25 or better in all coursework completed while enrolled in this graduate program. No grade of BC or lower in required courses will be accepted for the degree.
Other Grade Requirements Ph.D. candidates should maintain a 3.5 GPA in all core curriculum courses and may not have any more than two Incompletes on their academic record at any one time. Students may maintain no more than 6 credits of Incomplete (I) grades during any semester.
Assessments and Examinations Full-time students have up until the end of their third year to pass the qualifying exam and their first sitting must occur no later than the end of their second year. Part-time students are expected to pass the exam before the end of their fourth year (regardless of whether the student is continuously enrolled) and their first sitting must occur no later than the end of their third year.
Language Requirements No language requirements.
Doctoral Minor/Breadth Requirements All doctoral students are required to complete a 9-credit minor.

Required COURSES

POP HLTH/​B M I  451 Introduction to SAS Programming for Population Health2
POP HLTH/​B M I  551 Introduction to Biostatistics for Population Health3
POP HLTH/​B M I  552 Regression Methods for Population Health3
POP HLTH/​B M I  651 Advanced Regression Methods for Population Health3
POP HLTH 795 Principles of Population Health Sciences3
POP HLTH 796 Introduction to Health Services Research3
POP HLTH/​SOC  797 Introduction to Epidemiology3
POP HLTH 798 Epidemiologic Methods3
POP HLTH 805 Advanced Epidemiology: Causal Inference in Epidemiological Studies3
or POP HLTH 806 Advanced Epidemiology: Practice of Epidemiology
POP HLTH 820 Graduate Research Seminar 12
Select a minimum of 1 credit of course work in "the responsible conduct of research"1
Complete three approved epidemiology electives (see the list below).9
Research 24
Independent Reading
Total Credits51

Responsible Conduct of Research courses

B M I 826 Special Topics in Biostatistics and Biomedical Infomatics (Ethical Conduct of Research for Data Scientists)1
MED HIST 545 Ethical and Regulatory Issues in Clinical Investigation (Offered in Fall. MED HIST 545 does not fulfill all the NIH requirements for training in the responsible conduct of research for certain T and F awards.)1
NURSING 802 Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research (Offered in Spring)1
SURG SCI 812 Research Ethics and Career Development2
OBS&GYN 955 Responsible Conduct of Research for Biomedical Graduate Students (Offered in Fall)2
OBS&GYN 956 Advanced Responsible Conduct of Research for Biomedical Students (Offered in Spring)1
Other courses may be substituted as approved by the advisor and the director of graduate studies.

Epidemiology Electives

POP HLTH/​NUTR SCI  621 Introduction to Nutritional Epidemiology1
POP HLTH 650 Special Topics (Topic: Environmental Health Epidemiology; Topic: Connections- Epidemiology Past, Present, and Future)1-6
POP HLTH 713 Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS1
POP HLTH 750 Cancer Epidemiology3
POP HLTH 784 Public Health Surveillance and Analytics3
POP HLTH/​M&ENVTOX  789 Principles of Environmental Health: A Systems Thinking Approach3
POP HLTH/​KINES  791 Physical Activity Epidemiology3
POP HLTH 801 Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases3
POP HLTH 805 Advanced Epidemiology: Causal Inference in Epidemiological Studies3
POP HLTH 806 Advanced Epidemiology: Practice of Epidemiology3
POP HLTH/​OBS&GYN  807 Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology2
POP HLTH 810 Global Health Epidemiology2
POP HLTH 847 Cardiovascular Epidemiology1
POP HLTH/​AN SCI/​GENETICS  849 Genetic Epidemiology3
POP HLTH 904 Special Topics in Epidemiology1-3
POP HLTH/​KINES  955 Seminar - Physical Activity Epidemiology1
M M & I/​POP HLTH  603 Clinical and Public Health Microbiology5

Graduate School Policies

The Graduate School’s Academic Policies and Procedures provide essential information regarding general university policies. Program authority to set degree policies beyond the minimum required by the Graduate School lies with the degree program faculty. Policies set by the academic degree program can be found below.

Named Option-Specific Policies

Prior Coursework

Graduate Work from Other Institutions

With program approval, students are allowed to count a maximum of 12 credits of graduate coursework taken from other institutions as a graduate student. coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

UW–Madison Undergraduate

No credits from a UW–Madison undergraduate degree are allowed to count toward the degree.

UW–Madison University Special

With program approval, students are allowed to count no more than 12 credits of coursework numbered 300 or above taken as a UW–Madison University Special student. Coursework earned ten or more years prior to admission to a doctoral degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


A student not meeting guidelines for satisfactory progress will be placed on probation for one semester and will be reviewed by the steering committee following the probationary semester. Students may be dropped or allowed to continue by the committee based on review of progress during the probationary semester.


Students must meet with their advisor once each semester for academic advising.


15 credits

Time Constraints

Dissertation required. Doctoral students have a maximum of five years from the date of passing the preliminary examination to take the final oral examination and deposit the dissertation.

Doctoral degree students who have been absent for five or more consecutive years lose all credits that they have earned before their absence.

Grievances and Appeals

These resources may be helpful in addressing your concerns:

Students should contact the program director with questions about grievances.



Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

Faculty: Professors Durkin (chair), Cruickshanks, Gangnon, Kanarek, Mullahy, Oliver, Patz, Remington, M. Smith, Trentham-Dietz; Associate Professors Astor, Bautista, Burns, Ehrenthal, Engelman, Johnson, Malecki, Peppard, Sethi; Assistant Professors Cochran, Green, Lindberg, Myerson, Ouayogode, Pillai, Warren-Andersen