Doctor of Public Health in Public Health Sciences

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) is an advanced professional degree for those whose career goals are in areas of professional practice in public health, including high-level administration, teaching, or research. The program develops leaders for public health organizations, academia, research institutes, government, or industry, where advanced analytical and conceptual capabilities are requisite. Students are prepared as research-grounded practitioners; the course of study emphasizes competencies to conduct and supervise research of an applied nature. Graduates may work at the local, state, national, or international level and are skilled in multidisciplinary approaches to community and public health practice.

Students will enroll in one of three concentration areas:

The DrPH program has several major academic components:

  1. Coursework for exposure to foundational public health knowledge and core doctoral competencies, and for depth in the chosen concentration;
  2. Qualifying and Preliminary examinations;
  3. A practicum that provides an applied practical experience with a field-based preceptor, for students to demonstrate overall public health, leadership, and concentration focused problem-solving skills;
  4. Integrative learning experiences resulting in field-based products consistent with advanced practice designed to influence programs, policies or systems addressing public health (e.g., dissertation proposal development; scientific grant writing);
  5. Evaluations (self and faculty)

Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences Concentration

The Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences concentration prepares students to plan, implement, and evaluate interventions designed to improve community and population health status and to conduct high-quality research addressing important public health issues, as well as to lead efforts and organizations conducting these activities. Building upon a social ecological framework, the program emphasizes capacity building as a health outcome, and recognizes a multi-determinants health perspective in framing interventions and research. 

In the Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences concentration, students will:

  • Analyze critical themes in public health history in order to argue how these relate to the evolution of public health, public health problems, and the future of public health.
  • Develop appropriate conceptual models for addressing community health issues that integrate behavioral theories, concepts, and tools.
  • Design an evaluation plan appropriate for a multi-level community health/health promotion program.
  • Formulate a multi-level health promotion/community health-focused intervention, utilizing at least 2 of the 5 socio-ecological levels, and which integrates evidence-based theories and strategies.
  • Critically assess and analyze peer reviewed articles related to health promotion or community health interventions, with focus on components (i.e., strength and validity of the hypothesis, study design and methods, results, conclusions) and public health significance of findings.

Epidemiology Concentration

The Epidemiology concentration is designed to develop public health leaders who apply advanced epidemiologic methods and public health concepts to identify and understand the factors driving the occurrence and distribution of diseases and health conditions in human populations. The curriculum prepares students to design, conduct, supervise, and evaluate observational or experimental studies in population or clinical settings, ultimately to develop the evidence base for controlling health problems and improving health status. Graduates will be prepared to hold leadership roles in public health practice-based settings such as health departments, community-based organizations, non-profit organizations, international agencies, and academic institutions. 

In the Epidemiology concentration, students will:

  • Use epidemiologic evidence to make inferences about the scope and magnitude of threats to public health.
  • Plan, implement, and evaluate a public health study to assess a threat to population health.
  • Utilize theoretical foundations to address critical public health issues.
  • Connect epidemiology to interdisciplinary research.
  • Prepare reports and scholarly presentations and participate in conference presentations in order to appropriately influence relevant state-of-the-art practice.

The Environmental Health Concentration

The Environmental Health concentration prepares students to address health issues linked to exposures to natural and human generated hazards. The curriculum is designed to prepare professionals with advanced-level training with the ability to draw from a multidisciplinary knowledge-base (e.g., toxicology, microbiology, safety engineering, industrial hygiene, medicine, nursing, ergonomics, human factors, well-being, aging, and occupational health) that contribute to recognizing, assessing, and controlling public health risks. Students will learn to work in communities including rural, urban and occupational settings to measure and monitor risk as they learn to plan, prepare and execute multi-level interventions.

In the Environmental Health concentration, students will:

  • Evaluate the influence of susceptibility based on a hazards’ biological mode of action. Assess the impact of major environmental determinants of human disease on the likelihood of adverse effects.
  • Interpret concentrations or doses of health hazards compared with risk based and non-risk based criteria and guidelines.
  • Develop intervention and prevention strategies to help vulnerable communities improve their health by reducing exposures to environmental hazards.
  • Analyze environmental data and articulate the characteristics of major physical, radiological, chemical, and biological hazards.
  • Critically assess peer-reviewed published articles related to environmental impacts on health. Analyze the strength and validity of the hypothesis, study design and methods, results, conclusions, and the public health significance.

See the Department of Health BehaviorDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Department of Environmental and Occupational Health for the degree curriculum for each concentration.

Applicants to the DrPH will hold a master’s degree. For further information regarding admission, please visit the School of Public Health's Admissions website.