PhD Program in Epidemiology & Translational Science
Welcome to our website. The graduate program at UCSF in Epidemiology and Translational Science is a new program housed in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (DEB) in the School of Medicine. It is a joint effort with the university’s Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute(CTSI). The program is designed to provide students with rigorous training in epidemiologic and biostatistical methods along with opportunities for practical experience in a wide variety of applied areas to enhance their classroom training. Because of its location in a School of Medicine on a Health Sciences Campus, the number and diversity of opportunities for such training in clinical, basic and population science areas are numerous. We hope that this model of formal and applied training will create a new generation of epidemiologists and translational scientists who will transform both clinical practice and population health.
The Doctoral Degree Program in Epidemiology and Translational Science is a three to four-year course of study for individuals who wish to pursue independent research careers in epidemiology and translational science and who have completed training at the Master’s level in epidemiology, public health or related fields. The PhD program will draw upon the strengths of UCSF faculty and the campus to provide in-depth training across a broad range of applications for the discipline of epidemiology and translational science including epidemiologic and biostatistical methods, genetic, social, and clinical epidemiology and disease-specific training in cancer, infectious, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and other diseases. We view the use of epidemiology in translational science as a critical perspective and set of research methods that will move basic scientific discoveries to practical clinical applications and dissemination of new basic and clinical knowledge to population health settings. A central goal is to take advantage of the highly interdisciplinary nature of UCSF and to take a transdisciplinary approach to graduate education. Epidemiology serves as a key discipline in team science and in problem-based learning.
Objectives of the program include mastery of the field of epidemiology, related disciplines and their applications in translational science; learning practical aspects of conducting research, including how to work within a multidisciplinary team; acquiring experience in the instruction of epidemiology and translational sciences; and the planning and completion of original epidemiologic/translational research that will be the subject of a dissertation and publishable manuscripts.
Admission Requirements include:
PhD students are required to spend six quarters in residence and generally to take 8-12 units per quarter for a total of 48 units. A written and oral qualifying examination is needed to advance to candidacy, as required by the UCSF Graduate Division. Applicants can take advantage of UCSF’s strengths in biomedical and clinical research as part of our transdisciplinary approach to training and research.
Overall students are expected to develop expertise in epidemiologic theory and methods, biostatistics, and a “third area” (i.e., not epidemiology or biostatistics) designated by the student that is relevant to her or his research interests (e.g. demography, anthropology, oncology, behavioral science, virology). To accomplish this, doctoral students will take a series of advanced doctoral level courses during their first two years in the PhD program.
A student, in consultation with his or her advisors, decides which thematic area to follow and which courses to take. Doctoral students will generally take courses offered in the School of Medicine and other UCSF professional schools. Course opportunities also exist at UC Berkeley and Stanford.
RESEARCH TEAM ROTATIONS
Students are required to complete two quarters of “Research Team Rotations” (4 units each), similar to the Lab Rotation requirement in other established PhD Programs at UCSF (e.g., BMS, BMI and PSPG). The objective of these rotations is for the student to have the opportunity to:
Research Team Rotations are categorized as focused on either analysis (Analytic Rotations) or generation of data (Non-Analytic Rotations). In Analytic Rotations the experience should include direct manipulation of data including drafting of statistical analysis code. In Non-Analytic Rotations, the focus will be on non-analytic aspects of conducting research including design, start-up, recruitment, measurement (in wet lab or other setting), data management, and/or regulatory and financial tasks. PhD students are required to complete one Analytic and one Non-Analytic rotation
In the UCSF Epidemiology and Translational Science PhD program, doctoral students must take and pass a combined written and an oral qualifying examination. This generally occurs after completing the requisite first year coursework, which requires at least three quarters.
Doctoral students conduct original epidemiologic/translational research that will produce publishable results. Students are strongly encouraged to carry out primary data collection for at least one component of their dissertation research. All students are expected to have had experience in all of the key phases of epidemiologic research (e.g. conceptualization of the question; critical review of the existing literature; preparation of a grant proposal; collection, management, and analysis of epidemiologic data; and writing of one or more manuscripts for publication) and will have been tested on these essentials in their qualifying examinations. It is recognized that many of the students in the doctoral program, most of whom enter with substantial prior research experience, have actually performed one or more of these tasks before beginning the doctoral program. Furthermore, it is acknowledged that the Graduate Division of UCSF assigns to each student’s Dissertation Committee the ultimate authority to determine what constitutes an acceptable dissertation and to certify that the student has successfully completed that task. As a result, some doctoral students may conduct analyses of previously collected data for one or more components of their dissertations. In instances when students use previously collected data in their dissertations, they will be asked to demonstrate their proficiency in field methods by writing a summary of their fieldwork-related activities during the two “Research Team Rotations.” The Graduate Committee will then evaluate the student’s training in writing survey instruments, designing databases and other aspects of original data collection.
Given the approval of their Dissertation Committee, doctoral candidates have the option of submitting for their dissertation requirement either a single dissertation or three (or more) publishable first authored articles based on their doctoral student research. If one or more of these papers has already been published before the dissertation is filed, the Graduate Division requires that all co-authors of the paper give written permission for the paper to be submitted as part of the dissertation. Research completed and scientific papers written before the student has entered the doctoral program cannot be used as a part of the PhD dissertation under any circumstances.
The UCSF PhD program in Epidemiology and Translational Science will not require a formal dissertation defense. However, doctoral students are expected to present some aspect of their dissertation research findings in a DEB monthly seminar. At earlier stages of their research, they are also expected to present their work at “work-in-progress” sessions of the weekly doctoral seminar.
Program faculty and members of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics can be viewed at the departmental website along with their fields of interest.
Faculty members who are in the UCSF Academic Senate and members of the program’s graduate group are indicated by an asterisk.
To apply for the Doctoral Program starting in Fall of 2013, you must complete the online UCSF Graduate Division application, and pay the $80 nonrefundable processing fee by December 31, 2012. (http://graduate.ucsf.edu/content/academic-programs-and-degrees)*
Original Transcripts should be sent to:
Deadline: Applications are due by December 31, 2012 for admission in Fall 2013. All online informational material including transcripts must be received by this date. If any portion of the application is not received by this date, the application will be considered incomplete and will not be further considered without petition, explanation, and payment of $75 late fee.
Costs: The PhD Program is a minimum three-year course of study, requiring registration for approximately 12 quarters, although the total amount of time will depend on a particular student’s program and rate of progression. Fees for 2013-2014 will be $15,126.00 for California residents and $30,228.00 for non-residents, and are subject to change without notice. Please refer to the Registrar’s Office website for further details (http://registrar.ucsf.edu/registration/fees/graddiv).
Fees do not cover books or software.
Selected students will be eligible for support with a stipend, which will vary with need and the number of students accepted. The amount of this stipend will be determined as part of the admissions process. Students are encouraged to seek independent funding by contacting UCSF faculty in their areas of interest. An additional offset of fees will be available in the scholar's second year in the program depending upon the scope and magnitude of his/her contribution as an instructional assistant.
Interviews: Selected applicants will be interviewed by the admissions committee or it’s designate.
* Online applications (via web-link to the UCSF Graduate Division Office) are due to go “live” in mid-September, 2012.