Major Area of Concentration

Choosing a major area of concentration provides in-depth study in at least one disciplinary domain in population-based research. For his/her major area concentration, each student will choose biostatistics, epidemiology, or health services research. The student will take a total of 10 to 12 courses in this area (including applicable core courses), 2 of which may be reading courses.  These courses will constitute a coherent program of study developed in consultation with the Curriculum Committee.  Because of the diversity in students' backgrounds, each program will be tailored to the student's needs based on experience and interest, as well as available faculty and courses.  This course of study may draw on courses offered by the Department, as well as elsewhere in the Biological Sciences Division and across campus—e.g. Statistics, Sociology, Human Genetics, Cancer Biology, Public Policy, Economics, Business, Social Services, Human Development, and Clinical Departments in the Medical School. In addition, students will regularly participate in research workshops on campus that overlap with their chosen concentration area.

In epidemiology and health services research, students may further sub-specialize within their concentration in order to attain the adequate depth of study appropriate for a PhD degree. 

Concentration in Biostatistics. Students completing a concentration in biostatistics will be prepared to develop state-of-the-art quantitative reasoning and techniques of statistical science, mathematics, and computing, and to apply these to current and future research problems in biomedical science and population health. As part of the major concentration, some required courses are taken in the Statistics department. In addition, these students will complete a minor program of study in a substantive area of application. As such, they will be particularly well prepared to engage in collaborative population-based health research.

Concentration in Epidemiology. Students completing a concentration in epidemiology will be prepared to design epidemiologic studies and apply state-of-the-art quantitative methods to epidemiologic data analysis. They will have a strong background in epidemiologic methods and at least one substantive area of sub-specialization. Possible sub-specializations include genetic epidemiology, social epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology, cancer epidemiology, infectious disease epidemiology, and aging research. Their program of study will include appropriate courses in the biological sciences related to the disease processes for the substantive area. A complementary minor area of concentration may be chosen from the biological sciences or social sciences, depending on interest, or from one of the other specializations in the department (biostatistics or health services research). Whether or not their minor program is biostatistics, their course of study will include advanced biostatistical methods in sampling, categorical data analysis, survival analysis and longitudinal analysis.

Concentration in Health Services Research. Students completing a concentration in health services research will be prepared to apply theories and methods adapted from economics or sociology to the study of individual and population health, the delivery and financing of health care, and the structure and functioning of the U.S. health care system. The focus of this concentration will be on experimental, quasi-experimental, and survey-based studies and appropriate quantitative and qualitative methods for analyzing the effects of how, by whom, and to whom health care is delivered. Students may choose to sub-specialize in health economics or in organizational behavior, social network/social capital theory, or demography, all of which apply to problems in human health. In addition, students will have strong training in biostatistics and epidemiology via the core curriculum and minor program.