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.  

Learn More
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


The curriculum of this four-year program is designed to be interdisciplinary including core courses completed by all students, regardless of their chosen emphasis. Students apply directly into one of three emphases: Biostatistics, Clinical and Translational Epidemiology, or Health Systems Research.


Students who hold a relevant master’s degree take a minimum of 62 credits to earn a PhD in Population Health Sciences. Students who do not have a previous master’s degree take a minimum of 80 credits to earn a PhD in Population Health Sciences.


Applicants are strongly encouraged to take one semester of graduate level epidemiology and at least two semesters of graduate level statistics before entering the Population Health Sciences PhD Programs.  Applicants should also be proficient in at least one statistical package (SAS, STATA, R).  It is also recommended that applicants have previous research experience.

Core Curriculum

Population Health Sciences students will take the core courses as described below.

Course Prefix and Number Title Credit Hours
Required Courses
PHS 7100 Epidemiology Theory and Methods 3
PHS 7020 Insights from Secondary Data 3
PHS 7030 Applied Modern Causal Inference 3
PHS 7310 Comparative Health Systems Seminar I 2
PHS 7370 Social Determinants & Health Inequities 3
MDCRC 6450 Grant Writing 3
PHS 7970 Dissertation (minimum) 14
Total Number of Credits 31

Biostatistics Emphasis

PHS Biostatistics Curriculum

Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Emphasis

PHS Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Curriculum

Health Systems Research Emphasis

PHS Health Systems Research Curriculum

Qualifying Exam

After completing their coursework (generally by the conclusion of the spring semester of their second year), students will take a qualifying examination to assess their knowledge within their specific discipline and of the tools of research required in PHS.

PHS Competencies

PHS Competencies

Education Team

Maureen Murtaugh

Maureen Murtaugh, PhD
Director of Graduate Studies



Marcie Leek, MPA
Academic Program Manager


Questions? Contact us by phone or email:

Phone: 801-587-2100

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