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Advanced Dental Education

Oral Epidemiology PhD Program - Degree Components


Program requirements include core courses in biostatistics, fundamentals of epidemiology, epidemiologic research methods, dental public health, and oral epidemiology. A teaching internship and completion of a research project and dissertation also are required. Development of computer skills is integrated into the curriculum. Development of grantsmanship skills is strongly encouraged.

To complete the oral epidemiology program, students must take five specified courses relating to oral epidemiology and dental public health in addition to those necessary for completion of the PhD in Epidemiology. Additional coursework and electives will be in the student's specific area of research interest and can be taken in the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry or Public Health, or the College of Arts and Sciences. Formal coursework is concentrated in the first two years of the program. See Frequently Asked Questions for more detail about the curriculum. During this time the student selects a topic and initiates a research project. The final years involve teaching and completion of a dissertation.


The development of research skills is initially undertaken in the form of apprenticeship with individual faculty members. The student also will formulate an original project and will find more than 25 faculty members in the three departments available to serve as mentors. The faculty's interests range over many aspects of the field. Current faculty research interests include:

Examples of studies in progress or recently completed by faculty associated with the Oral Epidemiology Program include:

In addition, the Program in Dental Public Health has produced a large body of research resulting in datasets for trainee research experience that include the three North Carolina statewide dental surveys conducted in 1960-63, 1976-77, and 1986-87.

Once the student's research topic has been selected, a match will be made with a suitable faculty advisor. The student will then design a research project, present it as a proposal, collect and analyze data, and prepare a dissertation.

Students may conduct research in the Schools of Public Health or Dentistry, in allied university departments, or among the many research firms in the Research Triangle Park (located 10 miles east of Chapel Hill). Students and faculty in the program also have close ties with the Division of Dental Health of the North Carolina Department of Health.