Best Epidemiology Online PhD Programs

Epidemiology is the study of how diseases are transmitted and how they affect populations. As an epidemiologist, you would be responsible for researching the cause of diseases, looking for patterns, and coming up with ways to prevent them from spreading. You would also be responsible for monitoring outbreaks and proposing interventions.

A PhD in Epidemiology is one of the best ways to take your public health career to the top whether in public, private or academia. It is a prominent research degree that can open doors to diverse and fulfilling careers in the medical field.

One reason is the increasing demand for epidemiologists in both the public and private sectors. With the outbreak of diseases such as COVID-19, Ebola and Zika, there is a greater need than ever for qualified epidemiologists who can help contain and prevent these diseases. Like the traditional program, online PhD Epidemiology programs provide students with the right skills and knowledge they need to be successful in this field.

The other reason is that the traditional on-campus PhD programs often have the weakness of not being flexible, and many aspiring students may never get a chance to accomplish their highest education dreams because of this.  Luckily we are now living in the e-learning age where online programs are the new normal as they offer a more flexible and convenient schedule. Online PhD Epidemiology programs in particular have renewed the aspirations of so many students, considering there are so many people in the world who aspire to progress to the highest level of public health. For some,  Epidemiology is a calling, and the online model means their dreams will come true.

What do I need for a PhD in Epidemiology?

Students must first hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution. Most online PhD in Epidemiology programs also require that students have at least a 3.0 GPA. In addition to coursework, online PhD in Epidemiology programs typically require students to complete a research dissertation and pass a comprehensive exam.

Best Online PhD in Epidemiology Programs

Well, not all universities are currently offering PhD in Epidemiology online. This is understandable because most universities are still very bureaucratic, meaning it’ll take some time before they eventually bring their key programs online – they have to do at some point in the future. So the programs listed here are the best of the many online Epidemiology PhD programs you’ll find today. We have taken the time to verify and ensure that these programs are properly grounded to offer students a rigorous curriculum that prepares you for a rewarding career in epidemiology and other related fields.

University of Nebraska: DrPH (Epidemiology)

The DrPH (Epidemiology) at the University of Nebraska covers public health with a major concentration on Epidemiology, providing a rigorous foundation where students are trained on fundamental concepts that prepare them for a successful career in public health upon graduation.

The curriculum provides a broad foundation in epidemiology, with courses in areas such as applied epidemiology, research methods, health policy, and management. Students also have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of interest, such as infectious diseases, chronic diseases, or environmental health. Graduates of the program will be prepared to take on leadership roles in public health across academia, research or private practice.

Local students who are recognized as citizens residing in Nebraska get the benefit of lower rates as the university is a public institution that is funded by the taxpayers of Nebraska. The cost per credit is $597and students are required to complete three credit hours per unit.

The program’s core units include:

  • Applied Epidemiology
  • Introduction to Health Disparities and Health Equity
  • Leadership Theory and Practice
  • Public Health Teaching and Training
  • Epidemiology in Public Health Practice
  • Survey Research Methods
  • Health Information and Surveillance for Public Health Practice
  • Strategic Planning and Management in Public Health Administration
  • Implementation of Science Models and Methods

Besides the above core units, students will also be expected to take 12 hours of elective credits. The purpose of elective credits is to enable students to gain high level knowledge in their interest areas. The selection of elective credits is guided by individual student advisors.

Atlantic International University: Doctor of Public Health (PhD)

The Doctor of Public Health (PhD, D.Sc) degree at Atlantic International University is designed for students who want to make a difference in the world by improving the health of populations. The program is taught online and can be completed in a reasonable period of time.  Admission requirements include a master’s degree in public health or a related field, top GRE scores, and letters of recommendation. The key focus areas of the program include:

  • Environmental health
  • Health care services
  • International health
  • Mental health and public health
  • Decision sciences
  • Economics
  • Ethics
  • Evaluative science and statistics
  • Management
  • Medical sociology
  • Political analysis

Some of the core courses and topics include:

  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Genetic Epidemiology
  • Computer Demonstrations in Genetic Epidemiology
  • Statistical Methods in Genetic Epidemiology
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Toxicogenetics

One of the best aspects about this program is that it uses dynamic materials. This means that a student does not have to use the same exact materials that all students use. There is some room for flexibility, allowing students to customize materials and align the course to their goals. In other words this program does not use a standard layout or design.

Lancaster University: Public Health PhD

The Public Health PhD at Lancaster University is a research-based program that focuses on the health of populations. The program is interdisciplinary, incorporating knowledge from the fields of epidemiology, biostatistics, sociology, psychology, and environmental health. The program requires a recognized Master’s degree for admission.

There are two main focus areas: population health research and methods development. Population health research encompasses the study of how diseases spread within populations and how to prevent or control them. Method development involves the creation and refinement of statistical and other methods used to study population health data.

An annual autumn Academy in Lancaster accords the students an essential face to face experience that enriches the largely online experience.

The program takes a minimum of four years to complete, but students who are not able to complete it within this time have the freedom to stretch it up to a maximum of seven years. Students must attend a five-day compulsory induction in Lancaster. Additionally, students are required to attend another compulsory yearly Academy at Lancerstar at the start of each new academic year. Other than the initial induction Academy and the yearly opening Academies, the rest of the course is administered online.

The first and second years of the program take students through intense classes that are delivered online. Three modules are covered in year one. The first module covers the theory and practice of public health, the second module covers research philosophy while the third and final module for the opening year covers research design.The modules for the second year of the program cover Systematic Reviews, Data Analysis, Research Design and Practical Research Ethics.

Students pursue independent research from the third year onwards which culminates in the submission of a comprehensive thesis that marks the end of the program. Video conferencing is the default medium for all core supervision sessions. Students have a chance to engage their supervisors in face to face sessions during the annual Academies.

What can you do with a PhD in Epidemiology?

There are a lot of great things about getting a PhD in Epidemiology, like the job opportunities that are available to you when you graduate. But it’s not an easy path, and it definitely takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

This is perhaps the only program that opens the mind into the inner world of diseases. You will get deep knowledge that will put you in a position to be able to identify the risks different diseases present to human beings, in addition to being able to get to the root of the causes of diseases. Upon graduation, you will easily land lucrative careers across various sectors including public, academia, and the private sector.

There are many top paying jobs for graduates of PhD in Epidemiology. The salary range for each job varies depending on the position and the employer. Here are a couple of examples:

Position Approximate Salary (Annual)
Epidemiologists $75,000
Public Health Researcher $65,000
Public Health Policy Analyst $78,000
Health Service Administrator $80,000
Genetic Counselor $85,000
Medical Scientist $80,000
Biostatistician $90,000
Medical Science Liaison Officer $160,000

Below is a brief on each of thee jobs;


Career Epidemiologists are medical researchers who study the patterns and causes of disease in humans. They use this information to develop strategies for preventing and controlling disease outbreaks. Epidemiologists may also be involved in conducting clinical trials of new vaccines or medications. This is the direct career for graduates of epidemiology. It’s like a medical doctor dealing directly with patients in a hospital. Besides this, there are many other career paths that graduates of Epidemiology can pursue, and that is how we end up with the other jobs.

Public Health Researcher

A public health researcher is responsible for conducting studies and collecting data on a variety of topics related to public health. They may focus on a specific population or community, such as children or the elderly, or a specific issue, such as obesity or tobacco use. Public health researchers typically work in government agencies or research organizations, and their work is often used to inform public policy decisions.

Public Health Policy Analyst

The job of a public health policy analyst is to help shape the policies that will determine how our society responds to public health issues.You work with government officials, health care professionals, and the general public to develop regulations and laws that will protect the public’s health. In addition, you’ll also conduct research on the effectiveness of existing policies and make recommendations for improvements. The ultimate goal is to ensure that everyone has access to the resources they need to live a healthy life.

Genetic Counselor

A genetic counselor works with patients who have, or are at risk for, conditions that are caused by changes in genes or chromosomes. Genetic counselors help patients understand their risks, make informed decisions about their health care, and cope with the psychological impact of genetic conditions. The ultimate goal is to help patients and families make informed decisions about their health.

Medical Scientist

Medical scientists use their knowledge of biological processes to develop new ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease. Medical scientists conduct research using both animal and human subjects. They often work in teams with other health care professionals, such as physicians and nurses.


Biostatisticians are responsible for designing and conducting statistical analysis of biomedical data. They work closely with other scientists to develop study designs, collect data, and interpret results. In addition to their technical skills, biostatisticians must also be able to effectively communicate their findings to non-statisticians. As a result, they must have strong writing and presentation skills.

Medical Science Liaison Officer

A Medical Science Liaison Officer (MSLs) plays a very important role in building and maintaining relationships with key opinion leaders (KOLs) in the medical community. MSLs work closely with KOLs to ensure that they have the latest information on their products and Therapeutic Areas of interest. They also work to educate KOLs on diseases, product safety, and clinical trial design. In addition, MSLs play an important role in identifying and developing new business opportunities. As such, they must have a deep understanding of the scientific literature and be able to effectively communicate with both scientists and non-scientists.


The increasing number of online PhD Epidemiology programs is good news for all aspiring professionals in this field. With the same quality as traditional counterparts, this program is now available to everyone at an affordable price.

No matter where you are based in the world, you can undertake an online epidemiology PhD program in a university of your choice that offers the program online. This is a big shift, as it means that any qualified person from any part of the world can earn a PhD in Epidemiology from a top university and compete effectively for the best career opportunities at the highest level globally. Most of the major traditional barriers are gone!

But perhaps the most rewarding thing about earning a PhD in Epidemiology is that it’ll propel you to the forefront of discovering new ways to prevent and treat diseases. You’ll be making a real difference in the world, and that’s something that’s truly priceless.