PhDs in Population Health Sciences with a Biostatistics emphasis are the leaders of data-driven health care delivery. Graduates will direct research in academic, government, policy and health system settings.


Population Health Scientists with expertise in Clinical and Translational Epidemiology use advances in understanding of the molecular basis of disease to improve patient treatment and outcomes.

health systems

Population Health is at the heart of a shifting health care landscape, using rigorous methodologies and research design to strategically improve care delivery to patient populations.

PhDs in Population Health Sciences are at leading edge of a new interdisciplinary approach to health care for people worldwide.

Crystal Xu
Crystal Xu, PhD Graduate with a Biostatistics Emphasis, presents a poster the 2019 Annual Statistical Association Meeting on Estimating the Optimal Individualized Treatment Rule from a Cost-Effectiveness Perspective.
Holeman Hike

Teryn Holeman, MD/PhD student, enjoying the beautiful Wasatch Front and hiking with her husband. Check out all that Utah has to offer besides a great education.  

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Amir Lueth

Amir Leuth, a PHD Student in the Clinical & Translational Epidemiology Emphasis, presenting a poster at the 2020 Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine Conference on Placental Abruption in Nulliparous Women.

Football Game
Our PhD Students enjoying a football game in Fall of 2019Learn More

PhD Program

The mission of the Population Health Sciences (PHS) PhD program is to produce academic leaders who are committed to improving patient and population-oriented care within increasingly complex healthcare delivery systems.  Leveraging the combined strength of health systems research, epidemiology, and biostatistics, students graduate from the PHS PhD program with the ability to shape and inform data-driven quality health care. Population health is at the heart of a shifting healthcare landscape and PhDs in population health sciences are at the leading edge of a new interdisciplinary approach to health care.

The program was designed to mirror the interdisciplinary nature of population health sciences and the shift in medicine towards multi- and trans-disciplinary collaboration.  Students have the opportunity to interface with a variety of other programs across campus, while also working closely with PHS Faculty.  The collaboration between health systems researchers, translational epidemiologists, and biostatisticians throughout the program exemplify team-based and collaborative research from inception.  With training in such a collaborative environment, students are able to transition from professionals in the field to leaders in healthcare transformation.

Emphases in Biostatistics, Clinical & Translational Epidemiology, and Health Systems Research

During the application process, students elect to complete the program within one of the emphases offered: Biostatistics, Clinical & Translational Epidemiology, and Health Systems Research.  While students may specialize within their chosen elective, all students are expected to complete the PHS Core Curriculum, which provides a foundation across these three areas of emphasis.

Diversity & Inclusion

The Population Health Sciences PhD Program is committed to creating an environment where students with diverse identities, backgrounds, and ideas are represented and supported.   Increasing diversity within the Department is not only an important step in dismantling systemic racism within higher education & Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), but has also been shown to lead to more innovative research that reduces health disparities.  As we aim to train the next generation of researchers dedicated to improving population based health care, we want those researchers to reflect the diversity of our population and to bring a variety of experiences to the table to solve complex problems.  To increase the diversity of our student body, the PhD program highly encourages applicants from populations that have historically been underrepresented in health sciences to apply.

For additional resources and services available to support historically underrepresented students please see the Student Resources page.

The PHS Student Handbook

Education Team

Maureen Murtaugh

Maureen Murtaugh, PhD
Director of Graduate Studies


Brigette Dunbeck

Brigette Dunbeck, MPA
Academic Advisor


Questions? Contact us by phone or email:

Phone: 801-587-2100

Williams Building, Room 1N490
295 Chipeta Way
Salt Lake City, UT 84108