Doctor of Public Health

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) is designed for individuals who have already been working in a public health setting for several years and who are ready to be leaders in public health practice. DrPH students take upper level coursework in epidemiology, health policy and management, health behavior, or environmental health, while concentrating in one of those areas. In addition, the program provides focused leadership training to prepare residents for high-level positions in the field.

Academic course work and practicum experiences integrate learning objectives that demonstrate mastery of core DrPH competencies: advocacy, communication, community/cultural orientation, critical analysis, leadership, management, professionalism, and ethics.

Cornerstones of the program are two required practicum placements to demonstrate mastery of evidence-based public health decision-making. Students develop leadership skills and demonstrated independence by executing an original project with significant public health impact.

Students must also complete a doctoral project, a substantial body of work, that proposes an evidence-based intervention or policy solution for a significant public health problem. The dissertation demonstrates competency in translating empirical knowledge into public health practice. The doctoral project and dissertation are culminating experiences that prepare graduates to assume leadership roles in both academia and public health practice.

Program Overview

The DrPH program of study involves the following 75 credits:

  • 15 MPH core credits, which may be transferred from previous graduate study
  • 12 DrPH core credits, common to all concentrations
  • 18 concentration specific credits
  • 9 research tool and seminar credits
  • 12 practicum credits
  • Comprehensive Examination
  • 9 Doctoral Project and Dissertation credits

Areas of Study Concentration

Graduates completing the Health Policy, Management, and Behavior concentration will be prepared to manage public health programs and understand the influence of individual, group and cultural factors on the health of populations as well as on the ways in which these factors influence the development and organization of public health programs and service delivery in communities. They will learn to articulate alternative models of management/organizational functioning, how these might bear on defining and resolving problems, and understand the uses of organizational research methods in existing organizations. Students will learn to distinguish the relative effectiveness of different public health interventions, utilizing appropriate principles and methods from social and behavioral sciences that address behavior of individuals, groups and communities, and how to design a strategy for developing and/or improving a community-based public health program to reduce the prevalence of a particular risk behavior. They will be able to develop a data management plan for assessing the need for a program, relate the relevance of evaluation or research findings for implementing a program, and develop mechanisms to monitor and evaluate community intervention programs for their effectiveness and quality. Graduates will be able to utilize communication as a tool for developing participation and motivation among organizational members, as well as performing such core leadership tasks as directing, mentoring, facilitating and brokering. They will be able to state options for change and their supporting theoretical rationale and identify barriers to change, and to develop mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating programs for their effectiveness and quality.

Health Policy, Management & Behavior Department

Plan of Study

Degree Requirements

Graduates completing the Epidemiology and Biostatistics concentration will be prepared to serve as collaborators in public health projects, providing expert advice on the use of statistics in analysis of public health data. They will understand the design, application and interpretation of epidemiological studies of public health problems in the community. Students will become familiar with the range of epidemiologic practice, including surveillance, etiologic investigation, and the evaluation of preventive interventions, and they will acquire a foundation of knowledge in the core areas of statistical science, develop skills in defining a problem and determining the variables that are relevant to solving a public health problem, understand the appropriate use of data, the integrity of data sets, and how data might be used in public health issues, and acquire specialized knowledge in two areas of statistical science. They will be able to define, compute and interpret fundamental epidemiologic measures, explain the principles and the strengths and weaknesses of epidemiologic study designs, know how to apply the fundamental techniques for selection of study populations, have experience with techniques for collecting data and evaluating quality of data, demonstrate basic skills for managing computer-based data, and demonstrate the ability to interpret and present the results of epidemiological research.

Epidemiology & Biostatistics Department

Plan of Study

Degree Requirements

Graduates completing the Environmental Health Sciences concentration will be prepared to assess environmental quality and risk and to apply scientific knowledge to solving environmental health problems. Students will acquire knowledge of environmental health, including two of three sciences relevant to environmental health: chemistry, toxicology, and environmental and occupational health. They will acquire skills in collecting and analyzing environmental data, dose-response assessment and risk assessment, and they will understand the strengths and limitations of various laboratory methodologies so as to make valid use of scientific data and their application to environmental health problems.

Environmental Health Sciences Department

Plan of Study

Degree Requirements