Family Medicine and Public Health

[ undergraduate program | courses ]

All courses, faculty listings, and curricular and degree requirements described herein are subject to change or deletion without notice. Updates may be found on the Academic Senate website: http://senate.ucsd.edu/catalog-copy/approved-updates/.

The Department of Family Medicine and Public Health’s mission is to improve health through both clinical care and research. Studies undertaken by departmental members focus on epidemiology as well as behavioral and clinical research, education, and clinical care. The department has a major education mission and hosts both an undergraduate degree and a doctoral degree in public health. It has a major role in teaching in the School of Medicine curriculum and hosts four separate medical residencies in Family Medicine (two), Family Medicine-Psychiatry, and Preventive Medicine. In addition, the department hosts the self-funding Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) degree in Leadership of Healthcare Organizations.

The Doctoral Program in Public Health

A PhD in public health with a concentration in epidemiology, health behavior, or global health is offered by the joint faculties of the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University (SDSU) and the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health (FMPH) with assistance from other departments in the School of Medicine at UC San Diego. Currently there are three specializations: epidemiology, global health, and health behavior.

For each specialization, the first year in this program involves full-time course work at SDSU with second- year full-time course work at UC San Diego. These two years fulfill the residency requirements for both universities. Students are expected to advance to candidacy in the third year. Applicants who enter with a master’s degree s are expected to graduate by the end of the fifth year.

Details of the following program can be found at

UC San Diego—http://publichealth.ucsd.edu/jdp/
SDSU—http://publichealth.sdsu.edu/programs/phd/  

The Joint Doctoral Program (JDP) in Epidemiology

Stein Clinical Research Building, Room 349
Mail Code 0607
UC San Diego—http://epidemiology.ucsd.edu/
SDSU—http://publichealth.sdsu.edu/programs/phd/epidemiology/

The doctoral program in public health (epidemiology) was developed as a joint program in 1990 between the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health in the School of Medicine at the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego), and the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University (SDSU). Students in the program complete course work and conduct research at both institutions. Faculty from each campus serve on advisory and dissertation committees, providing students with extensive exposure to experts whose research interests represent the interdisciplinary nature of modern public health. Dr. Deborah Wingard (UC San Diego) and Dr. Richard Shaffer (SDSU) codirect the program.

Requirements for the joint doctoral degree include

  1. successful completion of required course work
  2. passing written preliminary examinations in epidemiology and biostatistics
  3. passing written and oral qualifying examinations
  4. demonstrating proficiency in two computer-based statistical software packages
  5. demonstrating proficiency in teaching
  6. completion and successful formal defense of a dissertation

Typical areas of emphasis include infectious disease epidemiology, chronic disease epidemiology, cancer epidemiology, behavioral epidemiology, community-based trials, physical activity/exercise/nutrition and health. San Diego is ideally located in a large and ethnically diverse metropolitan center bordering Mexico and the Pacific Rim, enabling students to carry out population-based multicultural and multinational studies of health problems.

Time Limits

The goal of this policy is to encourage PhD completion in a timely manner.

Precandidacy limit. Maximum registered time to advance to PhD candidacy: four years

Support limit. Maximum registered time doctoral student is eligible for support: six years

Total time limit. Maximum registered time to complete all PhD requirements: seven years

Degree and contact information may be found on our website: http://publichealth.sdsu.edu/programs/phd/epidemiology/. Admission requirements and application material can be found at http://publichealth.ucsd.edu/jdp/.

The Joint Doctoral Program (JDP) in Global Health

Ash Building, Room 109
Mail Code 0622

Since 2007, a PhD in public health with a concentration in global health has been offered by multidisciplinary faculty in UC San Diego’s School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University. Global health relates to health issues and concerns that transcend national borders, class, race, ethnicity, and culture, stresses the commonality of health issues, and calls for collective, partnership-based action to resolve these issues. Accordingly, emphasis is on preparing graduates with the fundamental knowledge, understanding, and specific skills necessary to become public health researchers and professional leaders in global health settings. Proximity to the U.S./Mexico border and expertise of many current faculty support and encourage a focus on infectious diseases (e.g., HIV, TB, STDs) and health of migrant populations, although students are expected to develop other areas of specialization within the global health concentration. These may be content areas, such as chronic/infectious disease surveillance and prevention, environmental health, health policy, and substance abuse, or methodological areas such as quantitative, qualitative, and spatial research methodologies that are applied to address health problems of global health significance. Dr. Steffanie Strathdee (UC San Diego) and Dr. Jenny Quintana (SDSU) direct the program.

Requirements for the joint doctoral degree include

  1. Successful completion of required course work
  2. Passing written and oral qualifying examinations
  3. Demonstrated proficiency in teaching
  4. Demonstrated cultural competence appropriate to dissertation area
  5. Completion and successful formal defense of a dissertation

The Joint Doctoral Program (JDP) in Health Behavior

UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, Room 3063
Mail Code 0901
UC San Diego—https://meded.ucsd.edu/asa/goddp/joint_doctoral_program_in_public_health/health_behavior/
SDSU—http://publichealth.sdsu.edu

A PhD in public health with a concentration in health behavior is offered by the joint faculties of the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health in the School of Medicine at UC San Diego and the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University (SDSU). Students in the program complete course work and conduct research at both institutions. Faculty from each campus serve on advisory and dissertation committees, providing students with extensive exposure to experts whose research interests represent the interdisciplinary nature of modern public health. Dr. John P. Pierce (UC San Diego) and Dr. Joni Mayer (SDSU) codirect the program.

Emphasis is on producing graduates with a mastery of the central concepts and analytic processes of health behavior. Graduates of the program are expected to establish advanced skills in applied behavioral analysis for population application; to establish expertise in advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods; to establish advanced skills in the application of interventions and research methods to health behavior in disenfranchised populations; and to establish skills necessary to understand and change health policy. Graduates of the program are competitive for a variety of research, teaching, and community service positions in areas such as academic institutions, local and state health departments, federal and international agencies, and both private and public-sponsored research institutions.

Areas of specialization currently include physical activity, tobacco control, skin-cancer prevention, nutrition and obesity, and HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis prevention and control. An additional emphasis will be placed on methodologies, such as measurement and related research issues; and ecological approaches to understanding health behavior. San Diego is ideally located in a large and ethnically diverse metropolitan center bordering Mexico and the Pacific Rim, enabling students to carry out community-based multicultural and multinational studies of health problems.

Time Limits

The goal of this policy is to encourage PhD completion in a timely manner.

Precandidacy limit. Maximum registered time to advance to PhD candidacy: four years

Support limit. Maximum registered time doctoral student is eligible for support: six years

Total time limit. Maximum registered time to complete all PhD requirements: seven years

Information regarding admission is found in the current edition of the Bulletin of the Graduate Division of San Diego State University. To receive an application for admission, contact SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego 92182-4162, (619) 594-2743.

For more information, please contact UC San Diego Graduate Coordinator, 3855 Health Sciences Drive, Room 3063, La Jolla, CA 92093-0901, (858) 822-2382.

Biostatics Graduate Program

Program Director:
Loki Natarajan, Professor
Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
lnatarajan@ucsd.edu
http://biostat.ucsd.edu/phd-program/index.html

Program Focus

The PhD in biostatistics is an interdepartmental program housed within the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health’s Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics at the School of Medicine, and in partnership with the main campus Department of Mathematics. The core courses are biostatistics offerings from the Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, and statistics offerings within the Department of Mathematics.

Program years one and two include theoretical and applied classroom work in the core mathematical statistics and biostatistics courses, with additional electives in mathematics and/or computer science. The core courses incorporate classroom projects in theory and data analysis pertinent to biomedical data, and introduce literate programming and reproducible research practices. Year two requires a set of biostatistics rotations under the tutorship of a faculty mentor, using example data drawn from collaborative projects in biomedical or public health sciences, each with required oral, written, and Web-based presentations. The student will select, by the end of year two, a primary adviser from among participating program faculty. Additional training in the biomedical area of application will occur in years three and four. Throughout, the student will participate in presentations and discussions in a seminar series and journal club.

The PhD thesis, completed in years three to four and potentially five, will contain an original contribution of quality that would be acceptable for publication in the biostatistics literature, which extends the theory or methodology of biostatistics, or extends biostatistical methods to solve a critical problem in applied disciplines. A terminal master’s degree in biostatistics is offered for students who fail to complete the PhD in a timely fashion. Students are eligible to obtain the MS degree under Plan II (Comprehensive Examination) if they pass the PhD written qualifying exam at the MS level and obtained forty-eight units of core courses (including Math 281A-B-C and BST 221–223) with a passing grade.

Admissions Requirements

Interested candidates should prepare the following application documents to be submitted online:

For further admission information, students should see the admissions overview on our website: http://biostat.ucsd.edu/phd-program/admissions-overview.html or contact the biostatistics graduate coordinator via e-mail at mbazyar@ucsd.edu or at (858) 822-1073.

Curriculum

PhD students are required to obtain sixty-four units of course work from the following courses. For the MS degree, the requirement is fifty-two units (forty-eight units of required courses in mathematical statistics and biostatistics and four units in life sciences). Full-time graduate students must register for a minimum of twelve units per quarter. These twelve units can be made up of a combination of required course work as described below, additional elective course work if any, and special study courses (BST 251A-B-C). All student course programs, as well as any changes throughout the quarter, must be approved by a faculty adviser prior to registering for classes each quarter.

Required Courses (sixty-one units) 

  1. Required (Core) Courses in the Department of Mathematics (twenty-four units)
    • Math 281A-B-C (Mathematical Statistics I-II, four units each)
    • Math 282A-B (Linear Models, four units each)
    • Math 284 (Survival Analysis, four units)
  2. Required (Core) Courses in Biostatistics (twenty-nine units) each of:
    • BST 221 (Biostatistical Methods I, four units)
    • BST 222 (Biostatistical Methods II, four units)
    • BST 223 (Analysis of Longitudinal Data, four units)
    • BST 251A-B-C (Biostatistics Rotation, two quarters, three units each)
    • BST 290 (Biostatistics Seminar/Journal Club, three quarters, one unit each)
    • Two among the following courses:
      • BST 224 (Clinical Trials and Experimental Design, four units)
      • BST 225 (Advanced Topics in Biostatistical Inference, four units)
      • BST 226 (Statistical Methods for Observational Studies, four units)
      • BST 227 (Advanced Multivariate Methods, four units)

      We note that all of the biostatistics core courses except BST 290 carry a data analysis component. Students will be exposed to projects involving advanced data analyses to address complex life sciences problems. All courses except BST 290 are letter grade only.

  3. Required Life Sciences (eight units)
    Two courses at the upper division or the graduate level in biomedical sciences, neurosciences, epidemiology, public health, biology, systems biology, bioengineering, or medicine, letter grade if possible. Selection of all life sciences courses should be made in consultation with the thesis adviser.

Elective Courses (three units)

Students are required to take at least three additional units of elective courses for letter grade from the following list.

  1. Biostatistics Elective Courses
  2. BST 252. Advanced Topics in Biostatistics (three units). This course is taught in rotation by the Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics faculty, and the curriculum will vary. Among the topics are:

      • Random field theory and applications in image analysis
      • Advanced statistical computing
      • Bayesian methods
      • Statistical collaboration in health sciences
    • Statistical Methods Electives:
      • Math 280A-B-C (Probability Theory, four units)
      • Math 287B (Multivariate Analysis, four units)
      • Math 287D (Statistical Learning, four units)
      • Math 287A, C (Time Series Analysis, four units each)
      • Math 202A (Applied Algebra I, four units)
      • Math 240A-B-C (Real Analysis, four units)
      • Math 271A-B-C (Numerical Optimization, four units)
      • Math 285 (Stochastic Processes, four units)
    • Computer Science Electives:
      • CSE 202 (Algorithm Design and Analysis)
      • ECE 273 (Convex Optimization, four units)
      • CSE 250B (Learning Algorithms, four units)
      • CSE 255 (Data Mining and Predictive Analytics, four units)
      • CSE 260 (Parallel Computation)
      • CSE 283 (Genomics, Proteomics, Systems Biology, four units)

Biostatistics Rotations (BST 251A-B-C) 

The biostatistics rotations are a singular feature of this PhD program that takes advantage of the extensive involvement of the program faculty in collaborative and interdisciplinary work within the life sciences. Students will complete at least two and up to five quarter-length rotations before advancing to candidacy, each in the form of an interdisciplinary applied data analysis project. They may work in collaboration with any UC San Diego faculty researcher who conducts studies or experiments that generate data in the medical, biological, public health, or pharmacologic sciences, and who will serve as a subject area mentor, under the primary mentorship of any biostatistics or statistics member of the interdepartmental program. Each practicum will last a minimum of ten weeks and will involve the analysis of original data. The student will prepare or substantially contribute to a project report, which will be reviewed and signed off on by the mentor. The rotation may be conducted as part of employment as a graduate student researcher or as part of the dissertation research. A report based on an internship of at least ten weeks duration at a facility, government health office, institute, or company outside of UC San Diego focusing on biological or medical research can also be used to satisfy this requirement.

Sample Schedule:

Fall

Winter

Spring

Year 1

Math 281A (Math Stat) (4)

Math 281B (4)

Math 281C (4)

Math 282A (Linear Models) (4)

Math 281B (4)

Life Science elective

BST 221 (Biostat Methods I) (4)

BST 222 (Biostat Methods II) (4)

BST 223 (Longitudinal Data) (4)

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

Year 2

BST 224 (Clinical trials) (4)

BST 225 (Adv. Inference) (4)

Math 284 (Surv. Anal.) (4)

BST 251A (Rotation) (3)

BST 251B (Rotation) (3)

BST 251C (Rotation) (3)

Additional Elective (4)

BST 227 (Adv. Multivariate Methods) (4)

Life science elective

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

Year 3

BST 299 Thesis Research

BST 299 Thesis Research 

BST 299 Thesis Research

BST 226 (Observational studies) (4)

BST 252 (Adv. Topics)

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

 

Year 4

BST 299 Thesis Research

BST 299 Thesis Research

BST 299 Thesis Research

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

BST 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

Qualifying Examinations and Dissertation Requirements

PhD Written Qualifying Examination

The PhD written qualifying examination will be given at the end of each spring quarter and also at the beginning of each fall quarter. Students in the PhD program must attempt the exam in the spring quarter immediately after they complete both the Math 281A-B-C and BST 221-223 core course series. A well-prepared student will take these exams during the first year of the program. Otherwise, they are expected to take the exams during the second year of the program. At least one of the exams must be completed with a provisional PhD pass or better by the end of the first year. Two failures to pass the examination at the PhD level will result in a recommendation to the dean of the Graduate Division for disqualification of the student in the PhD program.

Life Sciences Qualifying Examination

Students in the PhD program must also pass a life sciences qualifying examination. This consists of a seminar presentation of a statistical application in a particular area of life sciences. The presentation will be evaluated by an ad-hoc committee of three faculty members, including at least one outside (nonstatistician) member with expertise in the area of application. The exam is taken Pass/Fail. The student is allowed two attempts at taking this exam. The student should pass this requirement prior to the end of the third year of study.

Advancement to Candidacy

It is expected that by the end of the third year (nine quarters), students should have a field of research chosen and a faculty member willing to direct and guide them. A student will advance to candidacy after successfully passing the oral qualifying examination, which deals primarily with the area of research proposed. The student will also have successfully completed at least sixty-eight units of required and elective courses within the program. Required courses will be completed letter grade only.

Advisers must submit the application for the Qualifying Exam (QE) four weeks prior to the exam date; exams taken before receiving approval from the Graduate Division may be deemed null and void. Students must be registered during the quarters in which they take any portion of their QE. To be eligible for the QE, the student must have:

The preparation for the exam will be done by working closely with a faculty mentor (independent study) who is a regular member of the interdepartmental Program in Biostatistics. The exam committee consists of the doctoral committee. The PhD qualifying examination examines a student on the breadth and depth of knowledge expected from the course work taken, and a special research topic approved by the committee. The primary purpose of the QE is to validate that the student is academically qualified to conceptualize a research topic, undertake scholarly research and clearly communicate its results, and successfully produce the dissertation required for a doctoral degree. A forty-five minute presentation given by the student is followed by a question period that covers the special research topic as well as course work in general.

A student who passes the PhD QE is eligible for advancement to candidacy for the PhD degree.

Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation is an essential part of the PhD program. A topic will be selected by the student, under the advice and guidance of a major professor (thesis adviser) and a dissertation committee chaired by the major professor. At least one member of the committee must be a tenured faculty from outside the biostatistics program; often this will be a member of the biomedical sciences faculty who can provide a motivating problem or data set from an area of application, in collaboration with the major adviser. The dissertation must contain an original contribution of quality that would be acceptable for publication in the biostatistics literature that extends the theory or methodology of biostatistics, or extends biostatistical methods to solve a critical problem in applied disciplines.

The entire dissertation committee will conduct a final oral examination, which will deal primarily with questions arising out of the relationship of the dissertation to the field of biostatistics.

Time Limits

The goal of this policy is to encourage PhD completion in a timely manner.

Precandidacy limit. Maximum registered time to advance to PhD candidacy: eleven quarters

Support limit. Maximum registered time doctoral student is eligible for support: five years

Total time limit. Maximum registered time to complete all PhD requirements: six years