In addition, the prior coursework of PhD students is closely reviewed with regard to their performance in statistics, epidemiology, and other science courses.  Additional information regarding degree admission requirements is available online at the UK CPH website (\cph).  In addition, candidates accepted into the program must receive the written endorsement of a faculty member in the department willing to act as the thesis or dissertation advisor.  International applicants will not be accepted into the OccEpi training program as part of the CARERC funding.

Admission and funding decisions are made by the faculty members of the CARERC selection committee and provided to the students via formal letter.

Course requirements for the Occ Epi MPH training program follow the general course requirements for all College of Public Health MPH degrees.

The overall curriculum for CARERC requires that all graduate students who receive tuition support and/or stipends must register for the three core courses focused broadly on occupational health and safety issues. These core courses provide the background that is common across the programs for those in the mining, occupational epidemiology, occupational nursing, occupational safety, and the occupational medicine residency tracks. Brief descriptions for these courses are provided below:

Course Title (number)

Semester Hours

Course Description

Occupational Health and Safety     (CPH 620)


This course covers theory and practice of assessing, controlling, and preventing environmental and occupational hazards that may adversely affect the health of present and future generations.

ProSeminar Occupational Health and Safety (CPH 699)


This course provides students, in a weekly seminar format, presentations from occupational health and safety professionals from a variety of disciplines and experiences.  Knowledge regarding workplace exposures and related health outcomes is presented.  Students should acquire basic understanding of current topics in the fields of occupational medicine, nursing, safety, industrial hygiene, epidemiology, biostatistics, mining, and agriculture.

Occupational Health Field Surveys (CPH 698)


The course covers a wide cross-section of occupational health and safety exposures, hazards, and control measures.  Students engage in on-site activities recognizing and evaluating hazards and developing control measures to reduce occupational health and safety risks.  Students will visit approximately 8 different worksites in the Central Appalachian Region.



These three core courses are in addition to the 15 credit hours from the core courses which are required for an MPH degree with a concentration in epidemiology.  The OccEpi training program will also require Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology (CPH 617) and at least two additional courses from the listing below for the MPH, DrPH, and PhD students in the program.   

Additional (selective) courses for the Occupational Epidemiology track.

Course Title (number)

Semester Hours


Course Description

Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology

(CPH 617)

(Required of all students with a focus on occupational epidemiology at CARERC)



This course will provide students with background knowledge regarding workplace and environmental exposures and related health outcomes.  Students should acquire basic understanding of the fields of occupational and environmental epidemiology, focusing on their common and distinct concepts and methodologies, strengths and limitations. 

*Injury Epidemiology and Control (CPH 610) / New course.



This course describes the distribution and determinants of traumatic injuries and toxic exposures. Topics include sources of data, methodological approaches to studying injuries, application of the Haddon matrix, evaluation of injury interventions, and the links between epidemiology and public health policy.

Advanced Injury Prevention and Control, CPH 721 (New Course)



This course is organized around age-based developmental progression of injury risks with greater emphasis on high-risk groups and design and evaluation of effective injury interventions in the realms of education, policy, law enforcement and engineering.

Cancer Epidemiology (CPH 615)



This course applies and integrates the principles and tools of epidemiology to the study of cancer. The course includes discussion of the burden of various kinds of cancer across the United States, the underlying biology behind the development of cancer in humans, cancer surveillance, and the epidemiology of various kinds of cancer.  

Toxic Agents and Their Implications in Public Health (CPH 622 )



This course provides an overview of chemical agents within the environment, their interactions with the human organism, and resultant public health implications. The goal of this course is to utilize toxicological information to create, understand, and explain control strategies that protect and improve public health.

Special Topics in Occupational/Environmental Health: Health of Agricultural Populations (CPH 728)



An introduction to the unique threats and hazards that impact the health, safety and productivity of farmers, members of farm families, hired farm workers, and others who live or work in agricultural environments, such as crop and livestock production, timber production and commercial fishing.

Environmental and Occupational Health Policy (EOH 570)



The Environmental and Occupational Health Policy course will afford students a working familiarity with all major federal occupational and environmental health statutes as well as examples of state and local statutes.

Scientific and Professional  Writing (CPH 718)



Graduate-level introduction to writing for peer-review publication and the requirements of federal government agencies and other research funding sources.

PhD Training Requirements:

The occupational epidemiology focus for the PhD degree requires the Occupational Epidemiology (CPH 617), Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) course (CPH 620), OHS seminar (CPH 699), and OHS field surveys course (CPH 698), which integrate easily into the elective requirements of the PhD program. The majority of the required courses for the CARERC-sponsored OccEpi training for the doctoral programs will occur in the student’s first and second year of training.  Trainees will have, on average, an additional 9 credit hours of training as a result of this program.  Currently, PhD students complete approximately 58 credit hours plus dissertation research.

For all Occ Epi trainnees: Practicum, Internships, and the Capstone (Thesis)

In addition to the required course work trainees in the occupational epidemiology track will be required to complete a capstone project (thesis) focused on a topic in occupational epidemiology.  MPH candidates with this emphasis are also required to select one of the core or associate faculty to chair their committee.  An oral defense of the capstone project is required.  An acceptable capstone is comparable to a manuscript which could be submitted for peer-reviewed publication in a professional journal.  Trainees will be systematically evaluated on their general knowledge of epidemiology as well as specific issues in occupational epidemiology and on the topic associated with their capstone.  DrPH and PhD students develop a traditional dissertation following completion of their comprehensive and oral exams.  

CARERC faculty work with trainees to identify and arrange relevant practicum sites for trainees related to their concentration in occupational epidemiology. Examples of field sites for the OccEpi program include several Federal agencies: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC-CDC), and the Division of Epidemiology in the Cabinet for Health Services (Frankfort, Kentucky).