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.

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/index.cfm/asa/dcp/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.

Biostatistics 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 FMPH 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 email 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 (FMPH 241). 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)
  2. Required (Core) Courses in Biostatistics (twenty-nine units) each of:
  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. FMPH 242. 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:

Biostatistics Rotations (FMPH 241) 

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

FMPH 221 (Biostat Methods I) (4)

FMPH 222 (Biostat Methods II) (4)

FMPH 223 (Longitudinal Data) (4)

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

Year 2

FMPH 224 (Clinical trials) (4)

FMPH 225 (Adv. Inference) (4)

Math 284 (Surv. Anal.) (4)

FMPH 241 (Rotation) (3)

FMPH 241 (Rotation) (3)

FMPH 241 (Rotation) (3)

Additional Elective (4)

FMPH 227 (Adv. Multivariate Methods) (4)

Life science elective

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

Year 3

FMPH 299 Thesis Research

FMPH 299 Thesis Research 

FMPH 299 Thesis Research

FMPH 226 (Observational studies) (4)

FMPH 242 (Adv. Topics)

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

 

Year 4

FMPH 299 Thesis Research

FMPH 299 Thesis Research

FMPH 299 Thesis Research

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

FMPH 290 (Seminar/JC) (1)

Qualifying Examinations and Dissertation Requirements

PhD Written Qualifying Examination

The PhD written qualifying examination has two parts: a statistical theory part, developed and scored by the statistics group within the Department of Mathematics; and a biostatistics part, developed and scored by the Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics within the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. The exam committees in charge may be different for each part of the exam. Whether students pass or fail is determined separately by the exam committees for the statistical theory part and the biostatistics part of the exam. The student must pass both qualifying exams at the PhD-provisional pass level or higher, with one qualifying exam receiving a PhD pass grade. Each exam committee will forward its recommendation to the chair of the Graduate Program Committee, which will be the final arbiter of pass or fail.

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 FMPH 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. Students must pass both qualifying exams by the end of the second year in 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. Failure to meet the passing requirements (i.e., PhD-provisional pass or better on both qualifying exams with at least one PhD-level pass by the end of the second year) on the qualifying exams after two attempts will result in a recommendation to the dean of the Graduate Division for disqualification of the student in the PhD program and dismissal from the university.

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

Master in Public Health (MPH) Graduate Program

Program Director:
Michael Pratt, Professor
Division of Global Health
mipratt@ucsd.edu
http://ph.ucsd.edu/mph/index.html

Program Focus

The MPH program is housed within the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health. Its core courses are offered by various units within this department.

MPH students will be required to take basic course work in all of the five core public health disciplines (biostatistics; environmental health sciences; epidemiology; health policy and management; social and behavioral sciences), as well as complete a required applied practicum experience. Students need to declare their concentration (epidemiology or health behavior) by the end of their first year of the program. Required course work credit hours may be reduced for health professionals and students with prior relevant graduate training. The program will require the completion of a thesis or a capstone project; thus, at the end of the first year or beginning of the second year, the student must choose a faculty mentor, and if they opt for a thesis, propose a thesis and select a thesis committee.

During the second year, the student must complete all requirements for their capstone or thesis. The capstone is designed to review, integrate, and apply concepts and methods presented in the MPH curriculum and enhance the student’s preparation for postgraduation public health practice, research, or education. The capstone project may focus on public health fieldwork or training, a public health practice or program proposal, a report on epidemiology or behavioral science methods, or be based upon the student’s practicum experience. In all cases the capstone must be a product demonstrating mastery and synthesis of public health principles consistent with the MPH degree and involve a written report. The thesis option will typically involve analysis and summarization of previously collected data from an ongoing or completed public health research project, although other options, such as newly launched pilot studies or literature reviews, will also be possible. The scope of the thesis will be decided by mutual agreement among the student, thesis adviser, and thesis committee members, and a thesis agreement form will be completed and signed. The thesis must be approved by the student’s thesis committee and submitted to UC San Diego’s Graduate Division.

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://ph.ucsd.edu/mph/admissions/index.html, or contact the program’s graduate coordinators via email at mphinfo@ucsd.edu.

Curriculum

MPH students are required to obtain sixty-four units of course work from the following courses. All students must complete thirty-six units of required core courses. Students must also complete sixteen units of required courses for the concentration they select (health behavior or epidemiology). The remaining required twelve units are made up of electives that are either offered by the department or approved by petition. A maximum of twenty of the required sixty-four units may be waived based upon prior education or experience. 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, and additional elective course work (if any).

Required Core Courses (thirty-six units) 

Core Courses

Health Behavior Concentration Courses (sixteen units) 

Health Behavior Concentration Courses

Epidemiology Concentration Courses (sixteen units) 

Epidemiology Concentration Courses

Elective Courses (twelve units)

Students are required to take at least twelve additional units of elective courses. They are encouraged to take these twelve units within the department but can petition to use courses outside the department toward this requirement. Possible departmental electives are listed below.

Elective Courses

Sample Schedule for Health Behavior Concentration:

Fall Winter Spring
Year 1

FMPH 400 (Intro to Biostats) (4)

FMPH 403 (PH Research Meth) (4)

FMPH 497 (Practicum) (4)

FMPH 401 (Intro to Epi) (4)

FMPH 404 (Envr Health) (4)

FMPH 462 (Comm Advocacy) (4)

FMPH 402 (Intro to HB) (4)

FMPH 405 (HP and Mgmt) (4)

FMPH 463 (Cultural Perceptions) (4)

Year 2

FMPH 410 (HB Interventions) (4)

FMPH 413 (PH Ethics) (4)

FMPH 465 (Hlth Serv Research) (4)

FMPH 406 (Sci Writing) (4)

FMPH 412 (Scale Development) (4)

FMPH 499 (PH Capstone/Thesis) (2)

FMPH 411 (Measure/Prgm Eval) (4)

FMPH 498 (Capstone/Thesis) (2)

Sample Schedule for Epidemiology Concentration:

Fall Winter Spring
Year 1

FMPH 400 (Intro to Biostats) (4)

FMPH 403 (PH Research Meth) (4)

FMPH 497 (Practicum) (4)

FMPH 401 (Intro to Epi) (4)

FMPH 404 (Envr Health) (4)

FMPH 469 (Occupational Epi) (4)

FMPH 402 (Intro to HB) (4)

FMPH 405 (HP and Mgmt) (4)

FMPH 415 (Advanced Epi Mthds) (4)

Year 2

FMPH 472 (Biostats II) (4)

FMPH 418 (Emerging Diseases) (4)

FMPH 473 (Clinical Trials) (4)

FMPH 406 (Sci Writing) (4)

FMPH 417 (Cardiovascular Epi) (4)

FMPH 499 (PH Capstone/Thesis) (2)

FMPH 416 (Environmental Epi) (4)

FMPH 498 (Capstone/Thesis) (2)

Capstone Requirement

Successful completion of the MPH degree will require a written capstone project. Students will be able to choose from two options for this requirement: completion of a thesis or completion of a written capstone project that focuses on public health practice.

Thesis Option

Students who select the thesis option for their capstone requirement will be required to form a thesis committee. Per Graduate Division guidelines, the committee must consist of three faculty members, at least two of whom are from the student’s major department. The thesis committee chair ideally should have experience in the student’s area of research and will serve as the student’s primary research mentor. Students are expected to establish their thesis committee by the end of their first year of the program. They should meet with their committee at least once during their first year, and at least once per academic quarter during their second year to discuss their progress and receive guidance.

After forming a thesis committee, the student will complete a thesis agreement form, outlining the scope of their thesis, which must be signed by their thesis committee members. After determining the scope of their thesis, students will collaborate with their committee to prepare a more detailed thesis proposal, which must be approved by the student’s committee before embarking on the thesis project. Thesis projects will typically involve analysis and summarization of previously collected data from an ongoing or completed public health research project, though other types of studies may be approved by the student’s thesis committee. The thesis itself must be approved by the student’s thesis committee and submitted to UC San Diego’s Graduate Division. Students will be encouraged, but not required, to defend their theses in public academic settings.

Practice-Oriented Capstone Project

Students who choose to complete a practice-oriented capstone project will be asked to review, integrate, and apply concepts and methods from the MPH’s curriculum to a practical setting. Many of these projects will build upon the student’s practicum field experience. Students will be required to complete an individual written report approved by the practicum coordinator, their faculty academic adviser, and the MPH’s graduate committee. A capstone agreement form will be completed and signed prior to the start of the project. All capstone reports will be reviewed by two or more independent faculty reviewers. The report may focus on public health fieldwork or training, a public health practice or program proposal, a report on epidemiology or behavioral science methods, or specific projects related to the student’s practicum experience.

Time Limits

Normative time to degree for the MPH is two years. Students will be allowed a maximum of five years from matriculation to completion of the MPH degree. Students who cannot complete degrees within that time frame may petition for additional time. The program director will decide whether or not to approve these petitions and will act in accordance with UC San Diego policy.