Degree Programs

Degree Programs - Degree Programs

The Path to a Graduate Degree

UTHealth School of Public Health offers four degree programs leading to the skills necessary for public health careers. Professional degrees can be used for practicing public health outside of higher education the Master of Public Health (MPH) and the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH). Academic degrees are primarily used for teaching and research the Master of Science in Public Health (MS) and the Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health (PhD).

Students learn to conduct research on important public health concerns at the UTHealth School of Public Health while working with teams of faculty uncovering answers to urgent public health issues.

Professional Degrees

Academic Degrees

Choosing a Minor or Breadth Area

MS, DrPH and PhD students must choose a minor in a public health discipline outside of their major. The following minor requirements are listed for each public health discipline. Doctoral students are required to complete one minor area of study and one breadth area of study OR two minor areas of study. For further discussion about how your minor or breadth area can help you meet your career goals, please contact your faculty advisor.

For 2012-2014 Entering Students
For 2014-2016 Entering Students
For 2016-2018 Entering Students
For 2017-2018 Entering Students

MINOR AREAS OF STUDY
MS, DrPH and PhD students must choose a minor in a public health discipline outside of their major. The following minor requirements are listed for each public health discipline. Doctoral students are required to complete one minor area of study and one breadth area of study OR two minor areas of study. For further discussion about how your minor or breadth area can help you meet your career goals, please contact your faculty advisor.

Department of Biostatistics and Data Science
BIOSTATISTICS MINOR
Course of study – required:

  • At least nine (9) semester credit hours for MS, DrPH and PhD students majoring in other public health disciplines
  • For MS students, courses required for the minor are:
    • PH 1690 Foundations of Biostatistics
    • PH 1700 Intermediate Biostatistics
    • Two biostatistics courses above PH 1700
  • For doctoral students, courses required for the minor are:
    • PH 1700 Intermediate Biostatistics (or the equivalent)
    • Three biostatistics courses above PH 1700 or listed below
  • For MPACH doctoral students, PHD 3931 Advanced Econometrics has been approved as a course for a minor in Biostatistics
  • PH 1820 Regression Techniques (formerly Applied Statistical Analysis I) is strongly recommended for the biostatistics minor for all degree programs

Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences
EPIDEMIOLOGY MINOR
Course of study – required:

  • Nine (9) semester credit hours for MS, DrPH, and PhD students majoring in other public health disciplines
  • For MS students, minor requirements are:
    • PHM 2612 Epidemiology I (3 credits)
    • Two electives in Epidemiology (6 credits). PH 2615 and PH 2710 are recommended.
  • For doctoral students, minor requirements are:
    • PH 2615 Epidemiology II (3 credits)
    • PH 2710 Epidemiology III (3 credits)
    • At least one additional course in Epidemiology. PHD 2711 Epidemiology IV (3 credits) recommended. 

Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences
Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Program
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES MINOR
Course of study – required:

  • Minimum nine (9) semester credit hours for MS, DrPH and PhD students majoring in other public health disciplines. The prerequisite science background for these courses is required to take the minor in Environmental Sciences.
  • For MS students, minor requirements are:
    • PHWM 2100 Foundations of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences (required)
    • PHM 2130 Recognition of Environmental and Occupational Hazards (recommended)
    • PH 2175 Toxicology I (recommended)
  • For doctoral students, minor requirements are:
    • PHD 2135 Risk Analysis: Principles and Practice
    • One of the following courses:
      • PHWD 2106 Introduction to Doctoral Research Methods in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
      • PHWD 2108 Applied Epidemiological Analyses in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
      • PHWD 2760 Occupational Epidemiology
    • Any other EOHS course, at master’s or doctoral level, may be used to fulfill the remaining credit hour obligations

Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences
BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES MINOR
Course of study – required:

  • Nine (9) semester credit hours for MS, DrPH and PhD students majoring in other public health disciplines. The requirements for a minor in behavioral sciences include three courses from the department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences. Courses should cover primary theory and methods in health promotion and behavioral sciences and/or program evaluation and intervention development (especially for the DrPH student).
  • The following courses, though not required, are offered as suggestions for the minor:

Theory Courses

  • PHD 1113 Advanced Methods for Planning and Implementing Health Promotion Programs
  • PHD 1122 Health Promotion Theory and Methods: A Teaching and Learning Experience for Doctoral Students
  • PHD 1123 Health Promotion Theory and Methods II
  • PHD 1227 Advanced and Emerging Theories in Health Promotion

Methods Courses

  • PHM 1118 Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
  • PHD 1130 Applied Measurement Theory
  • PHD 1132 Latent Variable Models and Factor Analysis
  • PH 1324 Applied Discrete Data Analysis using Stata
  • PHD 1420 and PHD 1421 Research Design and Analysis in Behavioral Sciences I and II
  • PHD 1430 Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Evidence-Based Public Health
  • PHD 1431 Tools and Methods for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis 

Department of Management, Policy and Community Health
MANAGEMENT, POLICY AND COMMUNITY HEALTH MINOR
Course of study – required:

  • Nine (9) semester credit hours for MS, DrPH, and PhD students majoring in other public health disciplines
  • Students are expected to take courses focusing in one of the following areas: Health Economics; Health Services Research; Health Policy; Healthcare Management; or Community Health Practice.
  • Specific courses can be changed to meet the individual needs of the student with the approval of the MPACH member of the student committee. If the committee does not have a MPACH member, the student is expected to seek guidance from a MPACH faculty member in their desired minor area in choosing minor courses as described below.
  • In general, the courses in each topic area should be chosen from the following sets of courses:

Health Economics (select 3 courses)

  • PHD 3910 Health Economics
  • PH 3915 Methods for Economic Evaluation of Health Programs
  • PHD 3930 Econometrics in Public Health
  • PHD 3931 Advanced Econometrics
  • PHD 3935 Advanced Health Economics

Health Services Research (select 3 courses)

  • PH 3920 Health Services Delivery and Performance
  • PHD 3926 Health Survey Research Design
  • PH 3940 Healthcare Outcomes and Quality Research
  • PHD 3945 Advanced Health Services Research Methods
  • PH 3998 Decision Analysis 

Health Policy (select 3 courses)

  • PH 3736 U.S. Healthcare Payment Systems and Policy
  • PH 3738 Legal Issues in Healthcare
  • PHD 3810 Health Policy in the United States
  • PHD 3812 Comparative Healthcare Systems: Policy Challenges and Economic Perspectives
  • PH 3815 Health Policy Analysis
  • PHD 3830 Ethics and Policy

Healthcare Management

  • MS minor requirements (Select 3 or more courses totaling a minimum of 9 credit hours, in addition to Healthcare Management Practicum)
  • PHM 3998 Accounting for Healthcare Management and PHM 3720 Healthcare Finance
  • PHM 3720 Healthcare Finance
  • PH 3735 Healthcare Strategic Management
  • PHM 3744 Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management in Health Services Organizations
  • PHM 3746 Evaluation and Improvement of Healthcare Quality
  • PH 3747 Healthcare Operations Management
  • PH 9997 Practicum (must be in Healthcare Management and approved by HCM faculty member)
  • PhD minor requirements (select 3 courses)
  • PHD 3721 Healthcare Finance
  • PHD 3743 Organizational and Management Theory
  • PHD 3846 Quality Management and Improvement in Healthcare
  • PHD 3946 Strategy, Governance, and Leadership
  • PHD 3998 Operations, Technology & Decision Management

Community Health Practice

  • MS minor requirements (select 3 courses)
  • PHM 3630 Health Program Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation
  • PH 3998 Community Assessment Principles, Methods, and Technologies
  • PHM 3922 Economic and Social Determinants of Health
  • PH 3620 Principles and Practice of Public Health
  • DrPH minor requirements (select 3 courses)
  • PHD 3998 Working with Diverse Communities (2 credits) or PH 3800 Working with Diverse Communities (3 credits)
  • PHD 3998 Community Engagement and Community-Based Participatory Research
  • PHD 3998 Practice-Based Methods and Design

BREADTH AREAS OF STUDY
Doctoral students are required to complete one major area of study and two additional areas of study. The additional focus areas can be one minor area of study and one breadth area of study OR two minor areas of study. The following are some examples of Breadth topic areas, however a breadth area is not limited to the following. Specific courses can be changed to meet the individual needs of the student with the approval of the committee members.

Department of Biostatistics and Data Science
BIOINFORMATICS BREADTH
Courses required for the bioinformatics breadth includes three courses (9 credit hours) selected from:

Courses (Choose three courses selected from the list below)

  • PH 1980 Introduction to Genomics and Bioinformatics (3 credits)
  • PH 1982 Evolution of DNA and Protein Sequences (3 credits)
  • PH 1984 Population Genetics (3 credits)
  • PH 1985 Data Mining and Statistical Learning (3 credits)
  • PH 1986 Introduction to Statistical Genetics (3 credits)
  • PH 1998 Advanced Multivariate Analysis with Applications to Genomic Science (3 credits)
  • PH 2782 Practical Computational Genetics and Bioinformatics (3 credits)
  • PH 2998 Computational Genomics and NGS Data Analysis (3 credits) 

Department of Management, Policy and Community Health
LEADERSHIP BREADTH
DrPH students are highly recommended to select a breadth in Leadership.

Courses (Choose any of the courses listed or others as defined by your committee for a total of 9 credits)

  • PH 5200 Foundations of Leadership (3 credits)             
  • PH 3815 Health Policy Analysis (3 credits)
  • PH 3825 Public Health Law (3 credits)
  • PH 3830 Ethics and Policy (3 credits)
  • PHD 3946 Strategy, Governance, and Leadership (3 credits)
  • PHD 3950 Advanced Leadership Studies in Public Health (3 credits)
  • PHD 5210 Selected Readings in Leadership Studies (2 credits)
  • PH 5220 Gender and Leadership (3 credits) 

Department of Management, Policy and Community Health
QUANTITATIVE METHODS BREADTH
DrPH students in Community Health Practice are recommended to select a breadth area in Leadership or Methods. Substitutions in either recommended breadth may be made with approval of the student’s committee.

Courses (Choose any of the courses listed or others as defined by your committee for a total of 9 credits)

  • PH 2710 Epidemiology III (3 credits)
  • PHD 2711 Epidemiology IV (3 credits)
  • PH 2998 Applied Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • PH 1820 Regression Techniques (3 credits)
  • PH 1119 Qualitative Analysis (3 credits)
  • PHD 3918 Geographic Information Systems Science (3 credits)
  • PH 3998 Demography for Public Health (3 credits)

Department of Management, Policy and Community Health
HEALTHCARE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT (HITM) BREADTH
Selection of courses for the HITM breadth could depend on whether the student is pursuing a major or minor within the MPACH department. Students are expected to seek guidance from the HITM coordinator in selection of courses.

Courses (Choose any of the courses listed for a total of 9 credits)

  • PHD 3750 Policy Issues of Health IT - co taught by UTSPH and SBMI (3 credits), or HI 6324 Health Information Technology Policy* (3 credits)
  • PHD 3998 Health Care Delivery in EHR Enabled Environment (3 credits), or HI 6328 Health Care Delivery in EHR Enabled Environment* (3 credits)
  • PHD 3998 Operations, Technology, and Decision Management (3 credits)
  • HI 5327 Standards in Health Informatics* (3 credits)
  • HI 5381 Methods of Public Health Informatics* (3 credits)

 *These courses are offered by UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics

Interdepartmental
BREADTH AREAS
Interdepartmental concentrations offered at the school can also be considered as a breadth. The concentrations are listed below. See https://sph.uth.edu/academics/concentrations/ for required courses and electives for each area of study. 

  • Global Health
  • Health Disparities
  • Leadership Studies
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Nutrition and Public Health
  • Physical Activity and Health

How Will Your Work Count?

A student is classified full-time if enrolled in at least nine semester credit hours during the Fall or Spring semesters, at least six semester credit hours during a 12-week Summer session, or at least three semester credit hours during each six-week Summer session. Full-time students generally enroll in 12-16 credit hours per semester. A minimum of three credit hours must be taken in each semester a student is enrolled. Students are expected to enroll in culminating experience, thesis, or dissertation hours during the time that resources are being used in this endeavor. All courses taken by students accumulate semester credit hours, but no more than a combined total of six credit hours earned for culminating/thesis/dissertation research plus the practicum experience may be counted toward the total credit hour minimum of the degree.

What Classes Will You Take?

A course generally consists of a combination of lectures, discussion periods, directed reading, and individual study and inquiry. Courses may be taken in a classroom, online or via Interactive Television when offered. Courses are letter-graded or pass/fail. All courses satisfying the MPH core requirements are letter-graded. Elective courses may be letter-graded or pass/fail at the discretion of the instructor. Credits earned at other institutions prior to enrollment at the UTHealth School of Public Health shall not be applied to SPH transcripts or counted toward graduation requirements. Through reciprocal agreements, however, students enrolled at the UTHealth School of Public Health may take courses for credit at affiliated institutions.

Becoming a Student

Enrollment is required in the semester in which the research proposal is submitted and continuously through the semester in which all requirements for graduation are completed. Enrollment is also required in the semester in which the qualifying examination (doctoral programs) is taken and in the semester in which the student is involved in a practicum/internship (MPH and DrPH programs). Students must maintain enrollment in the School so that any absence from the program does not exceed one calendar year (three consecutive semesters) unless a formal leave of absence is obtained. General and specific requirements for degrees may be altered in successive catalogs. A student is bound by the requirements of the catalog in force at the time of his/her admission or readmission; however, a student must complete all degree requirements within seven years or be subject to the degree requirements of the catalog in effect at the time of graduation.

A student is classified “full-time” if enrolled in at least nine semester credit hours during the Fall or Spring semesters, at least six semester credit hours during a 12-week Summer session, or at least three semester credit hours during each six-week Summer session. Full-time students generally enroll in 12-16 credit hours per semester. A minimum of three credit hours must be taken in each semester a student is enrolled. Students are expected to enroll in culminating experience, thesis, or dissertation hours during the time that resources are being used in this endeavor. All courses taken by students accumulate semester credit hours, but no more than a combined total of six credit hours earned for culminating experience plus the practicum may be counted toward the total credit hour minimum of the masters degree. Nine combined dissertation and practicum hours may be counted for the doctoral degree.

The Clock is Ticking…

Students are expected to complete master’s degree programs (MPH and MS) within five years and doctoral degree programs (DrPH and PhD) within seven years. In case of extenuating circumstances, a student may request a one-year extension provided there is adequate justification. The possibility of a second year of extension exists for extraordinary circumstances. Students who do not graduate within the approved time limit must be readmitted to the school in order to complete the degree program in effect at the time of readmission.