Graduate Program in Oral Epidemiology

The Graduate Program in Oral Epidemiology provides students with the ability to identify, analyze and predict changes in oral diseases and conditions, leading to a Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Oral Epidemiology

The UNC Adams School of Dentistry’s and the Gillings School of Global Public Health Departments of Epidemiology and Health Policy and Administration offer individuals in the Graduate Program in Oral Epidemiology to opportunity to choose to concentrate in oral epidemiology.

Degree recipients will have the academic foundation, advanced knowledge, and skills needed to conduct, interpret and evaluate sophisticated epidemiologic investigations and clinical research projects.

Oral epidemiology alumni work in a variety of settings including academia, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indian Health Service, state health departments, contract research organizations, private-sector industry and not-for-profit research institutes.

Admissions Information

Applications Deadline: January 1

All prospective students must hold a DDS, DMD or equivalent degree from a dental school or a clinical degree in a dentally-related field (RDH, BOH or equivalent), and a master’s degree or equivalent in public health.

Applicants should complete the UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School application for acceptance into the graduate program.

Admission criteria are applied equally to all applicants regardless of race, gender, national origin or religion. Minority students are encouraged to apply.

The application fee must be paid in U.S. funds or through an international money order. This fee cannot be waived. Applications that arrive without the required fee will remain unprocessed, pending receipt of the fee. The UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School will send a notification of receipt of the application only after the fee has been paid and the application has been processed.

Tuition, Stipend Support and Benefits

The cost of attending graduate school includes tuition, fees, and health insurance, for which the student is billed directly. Tuition and fees for the master’s programs in the Adams School of Dentistry are available through the University Cashier.

Graduate students must pay tuition and fees during all years of study and training. These charges are subject to change at any meeting of the NC Board of Trustees and a yearly increase of 5-10 percent should be anticipated each year. Estimates for living expenses are available through the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.

Out-of-state students and international students with permanent resident status (“green card”) are encouraged to establish legal residence in North Carolina and to apply for classification as a state resident for tuition purposes. Guidelines and application forms for establishing residency are available from the UNC-Chapel Hill Graduate School.

Regardless of the availability of stipend support, teaching responsibilities are required as a part of the program.

Individuals enrolled in this track also are eligible to apply for the NIH Loan Repayment Program.


Click here to view the curriculum. If the page does not automatically direct you, select “OCBM” from the top.

Didactic Component

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.

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.

Research Component

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. 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 UNC Gillings School of Public Health, Adams School of Dentistry, in allied University departments, or among the many research firms in the Research Triangle Park (located 10 miles east of Chapel Hill).

Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy is the only doctoral degree offered by the Department of Epidemiology. On average, the doctoral program requires around three to five years for completion following the master’s or other advanced degree.

After all credit requirements have been completed, the student may maintain student status by registering for three credits of EPID 394. The program is research-oriented and centers around a major research project.

The PhD dissertation involves innovative research and a sophisticated command of epidemiologic skills.

North Carolina Licensure/Intern Permit

Students who are not graduates of an ADA-accredited dental school must complete a simulation exam as part of their NC intern permit process. Such candidates must pass and complete the simulation exam within two months of their formal matriculation in the program. If a candidate does not pass the simulation exam within the two-month interval, they cannot advance in the clinical program and will be subject to dismissal from the program.

Contact Us


Program Director, Gary Slade, BDS, DPH, PhD
Phone:  (919) 537-3273