PhD Frequently Asked Questions

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The Epidemiology program practices holistic file review. All applications are fully reviewed. A competitive application to the Epidemiology PhD program at Emory is one where the applicant has clearly demonstrated excellence in quantitative and verbal/analytical ability via GRE scores, previous coursework, the personal statement and/or feedback from recommenders.  The competitive applicant conveys knowledge of epidemiology, defined research interests, and includes comments on potential faculty working in the applicant’s research area.  Additionally, the CV may contain professional experience and/or demonstrated leadership and self-motivation necessary to complete the degree.  Oftentimes, competitive applicants have publications or articles in press.

Laney Graduate School maintains degree program statistics.  For Epidemiology, click here.

Below are averages and ranges of GRE and GPA for applicants and admitted applicants.

  QGRE VGRE Ugrad GPA Grad GPA
  Avg %. (range) Avg %. (range) Avg. (range) Avg. (range)
Applied 69 (8-97) 70 (3-99) 3.4 (2.3-4.0) 3.8 (3.0-4.0)
Admitted 79 (63-95) 87 (47-99) 3.5 (2.3-3.8) 3.9 (3.4-4.0)

Because the majority of applicants to our program have masters degrees in epidemiology or relevant fields, it is unlikely that an applicant without a masters degree will be competitive for admission.  However, there have been a few students who have been competitive for admission without graduate training within the last several years.  Students who do not have a graduate level degree and are interested in the EPI PhD program are encouraged to apply not only to the PhD program but also to the MPH program in Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.  Application to the MPH program is a separate process through SOPHAS.  Students who are applying to both the EPI MPH and PhD Program should apply through SOPHAS to the EPI MPH traditional program.  An applicant’s application to the MPH program concurrent with PhD application is not considered when evaluating the application for the PhD program.

All applicants must show evidence of successfully completing a college level calculus course to be considered for admission.  Our doctoral program requires students to take BIOS 510: Probability Theory in the first semester; this course uses calculus as a tool.  Calculus is used in subsequent required coursework.  The Faculty does not conditionally admit applicants.  This means an applicant must complete a college level calculus course before applying.  If an applicant hasn’t had calculus, we encourage the applicant to complete a course at a local college or university or to take an online course from a regionally accredited university.  The application should include documentation of successfully completing the course.

Contents of the calculus course should minimally include the following: limits; continuity; differentiation of algebraic, exponential and logarithmic functions; applications of the derivative; introduction to integration; the relationship between differentiation and integration.  If a course does not have calculus in the title but included the above contents, a syllabus should be submitted with the application.  Previous coursework in Epidemiology or Biostatistics is not a substitute.

The GRE is required of all students applying to the doctoral program in Epidemiology.  This includes applicants with a previous doctoral degree.

The GRE must be taken within the past five years from the date of application to the program. GRE scores must be submitted by the December 1st application deadline.  The Emory Code for the GRE is 5187.  No Department code is required.

Applicants are encouraged to plan ahead in scheduling a date to take the GRE. While official scores from ETS are preferred by the December deadline, the Department recognizes that some applicants may take the exam close to the application deadline. The Department will consider the GRE submission requirement met if there are only self-reported scores by the deadline. If an applicant self-reports scores, it is expected that all scores from the last five years are reported. Applicants are expected to send ETS documentation of scores. An application without self-reported OR official GRE scores by the December deadline will be considered incomplete.

All international students must submit TOEFL scores. Waivers are granted to permanent residents, those applicants who are from English speaking foreign countries (Canada, Ghana, Nigeria, etc.) or who have received a degree from a U.S. institution or institutions in Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.  Applicants who will receive a degree from a U.S institution in May 2018 do not need to submit TOEFL scores.

The Epidemiology PhD program at Emory does not require the applicant or admitted student to find funding through a faculty member at the time of application or prior to enrollment. However, applicants are encouraged to view the Faculty website and PubMed to determine whether or not a faculty member(s) research is a match for the applicant. It may be helpful for applicants to contact a faculty member(s) as part of preparing their personal statement. If applicants contact a faculty member, it is recommended that they provide them with their CV/resume and a brief introduction and specific questions. Please do not inquire with individual faculty members regarding whether or not your application may or may not be competitive for admission.

A list of faculty who have communicated availability to mentor students in matriculating Fall 2018 will posted in late summer 2017.

You do not need to send official transcripts to Emory.  As part of the application process you are required to scan and upload transcripts.  If you matriculate in the PhD program in the Fall, you will be required to send official transcripts to Laney Graduate School.

A writing sample is not required for application.

The application deadline of December 1st is firm.  The Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications immediately. The application remains open for five days after the December 1st deadline.  While an application can be submitted during this time period, the Department cannot guarantee the application will receive consideration.

Student who are current in a PhD program follow the same process and procedures as any applicant. The PhD program only matriculates students in the Fall.