Research area

Epidemiology is the scientific discipline that studies patterns in space and time in the aetiology, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases in populations, and identifies factors that contribute to or influence these phenomena. The word ‘population’ is key to this. In populations one can find descriptive or causal relations between factors on the one hand and disease occurrence and dynamics on the other. These patterns are essential for understanding, preventing and controlling diseases. The research is approached from a nationally and internationally unique multidisciplinary perspective, combining clinical, veterinary, pharmacological/pharmaceutical, environmental, occupational, and theoretical epidemiology, and medical statistics, in close interaction with medical, veterinary and pharmaceutical specialists. Based on real and clinically relevant problems, we contribute through research, knowledge dissemination and education to an improved understanding of the aetiology, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and prevention of disease. These diseases notably include cardiovascular diseases, cancer and infectious diseases, occurring both in humans and animals.

The PhD programme is organised by UMC Utrecht, Julius Centre for Health Sciences and Primary Care; Faculty of Veterinary Medicine: Department of Farm Animal Health and Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS); Faculty of Science: Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacotherapy. Research fields covered are therefore clinical epidemiology, epidemiology of infectious diseases, medical statistics, veterinary epidemiology, occupational and environmental epidemiology, and pharmacoepidemiology.

Associated research groups

All information regarding our researchers and research groups can be found at the websites of the following institutes:

Profile of prospective PhD candidates

The PhD programme Epidemiology is accredited by the Dutch Epidemiology association as leading to a registration as Epidemiologist B. In order to qualify, the research must be epidemiological, and PhD candidates must either be theoretically trained as epidemiologist, or undergo this training during the PhD trajectory by following the Utrecht University MSc Epidemiology Postgraduate. The MSc Epidemiology Postgraduate is also offered online (through Elevate Health). Previous education must be in (veterinary) medicine, biomedical sciences or a degree from a university in or outside the Netherlands comparable to the previous named Dutch degrees. For questions about admission, you can contact the programme coordinator.

Mission of the training programme

The PhD programme Epidemiology is aimed at optimal preparation of PhD fellows to become independent researchers, research consultants, or continue their career at an academic level in (non)governmental institutions or the pharmaceutical industry. The core of the educational programme consists of formal epidemiological training, with research methodology as its core knowledge area, offered by the participating research groups by within Utrecht University. Collaborative educational activities are primarily aimed at providing PhD fellows with the required knowledge base and skills to conduct their current research and design future research. Simultaneously these interfaculty educational activities aid in the development of a shared view on concepts and terminology, and stimulate research collaboration.

Training programme

Programme organization

Programme director:    

Prof. Diederick Grobbee, PhD


Programme coordinator:

Maud Verhoef-Jurgens, PhD


More information

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