PhD at School of Public Health

The burden of non-communicable disease can largely be attributed to lifestyle factors, and can be reduced by healthy policies and choices.  However, rapid urbanization, climate change  and increased environmental hazards make this increasingly difficult and could increase risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes through various pathways. Research intensive PhD programmes are needed to help identify and address novel lifestyle and environmental risk factors related to multiple disease. This doctoral programme in Epidemiology will focus on identifying important knowledge and action gaps, designing and conducting research studies, and integrating traditional and contemporary approaches for data collection and analysis, with the goal of primary prevention and solving challenging public health problems.

Most public health and clinical research education in India consists of MD in Community Health in medical colleges’, and MPH programmes in public health and other institutions. MD programmes focus mainly on community outreach and addressing infectious diseases whereas MPH programmes are often too broad or geared towards healthcare administration. There are extremely few good, structured discipline specific PhD programmes. Accordingly, many academic institutions are struggling to recruit well trained faculty, leading to a vicious cycle. Globally, there is also a pressing need for rigorous structured PhD programmes that cover core competencies and include didactic training, hands on experience, and mentoring from faculty with pertinent expertise, to prepare trainees well for careers in academia, government, non-profit organisations or industry. We aim to fill this critical gap through strategic collaborations, starting with our rigorous structured doctoral programme in Epidemiology, an essential core specialty of public health. Our goal is to develop and train leaders who can adapt to changing dynamic systems to tackle ongoing and unimagined public health and environmental challenges. Our graduates will be able to employ systems thinking integrating different approaches, technologies, and experts from different disciplines to create contemporary solutions to prevent disease, maintain wellness, and improve health and equity.

This PhD programme is designed to equip students with the necessary research skills to positively impact individual lifestyles, clinical practice, and policy. The programme will focus on applying epidemiology concepts and interdisciplinary approaches to conduct high quality research to understand lifestyle and environmental factors that may affect major chronic non-communicable disease, and also infectious disease and epidemics. Students will be trained and mentored to design and implement research studies, collect high-quality data, and to integrate ancient wisdom as well as contemporary technologies like AI and Machine Learning to effectively collaborate with data science experts to identify and solve challenging public health problems.

Programme Outcomes

Graduates of this programme would be able to

  • Attain a strong foundation of fundamental concepts and methods of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and be able to teach this.
  • Understand major global concerns in environmental health and climate change.
  • Develop some understanding of data science to be able to work collaboratively with experts in advanced biostatistics, bioinformatics, AI and ML.
  • Understand how to use epidemiology to impact public health and clinical practice.
  • Critique, design and assess descriptive epidemiological studies with the goal of developing hypotheses of potential risk factors for a disease, and to inform policy.
  • Critically evaluate literature and understand strengths and weaknesses of studies to evaluate risk/preventive factors for health outcomes with respect to the research question, assessment and misclassification of health outcome, exposure and covariates, study design, analytical methods, interpretation, potential bias and confounding, generalisability, appropriate theoretical frameworks and/or evidence-based approaches, and prior knowledge.
  • Formulate important research questions and design valid and efficient proposals to address public health and clinical problems.
  • Formulate complex societal problems and work with interdisciplinary teams to find solutions.
  • Apply quantitative skills to synthesise and analyse data related to public health issues, integrating knowledge about methodological approaches and pathophysiology of the disease of interest.
  • Apply knowledge of traditional and contemporary methods to design, conduct, and analyse epidemiological studies.
  • Be familiar with epidemiology of key infectious and chronic disease, and gain expertise in one substantive area.
  • Design, propose, conduct and present an epidemiological investigation (demonstrating both written and oral communication skills).


Graduates will be equipped to take up positions nationally and globally in public health and medical colleges, research institutions, biomedical companies, hospitals, government, non-profit and private organisations.

Programme Must Knows

Minimum Programme Credits: