Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Public Health represents outstanding scholarly attainment and signifies a capacity for independent study. It is primarily a research and teaching degree. In order to complete a degree with appropriate public health breadth, PhD students are required to complete a minimum of 48 semester credit hours of required coursework and one minor area of study in one of the five public health disciplines (separate from the major area) and one public health breadth area. Each doctoral student requires two minors or a minor and a breadth area. A disciplinary minor requires the successful completion of at least nine semester credit hours that address competencies as specified by the student s advisory committee (it is strongly recommended that either the breadth or minor be focused on leadership). The disciplinary minor is based on the student s degree plan and the recommended minor courses from the department. PhD candidates must complete coursework, a preliminary exam and an original research dissertation. For more information regarding a minor, please see the catalog.

Each degree program has a set of competencies explaining the content students will have learned upon completing the degree.

PhD Degree Programs and Degree Plans

Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion

The PhD in Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion focuses on the aspects of public health and the development and evaluation of health promotion interventions. The PhD program provides training in social and behavioral science theory and methods as applied to public health, and is designed to provide students with the skills necessary to succeed in academic and research positions. The emphasis in this degree program is preparation for independent research and teaching. For more information on a PhD degree in Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion, please visit the Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences Department web page.

Campus: Houston, Austin, Dallas

Fall 2018 to Summer 2019 PhD BSHP Degree Planner
Fall 2017 to Summer 2018 PhD BSHP Degree Planner
Fall 2016 to Summer 2017 PhD BSHP Degree Planner
Fall 2015 to Summer 2016 PhD BSHP Degree Planner
Fall 2014 to Summer 2015 PhD BSHP Degree Planner
Fall 2013 to Summer 2014 PhD BSHP Degree Planner
Fall 2012 to Summer 2013 PhD BSHP Degree Planner
 

Biostatistics

The PhD program is ordinarily a three-year, full-time program beyond the M.S. degree or a five-year, full-time program beyond the BA or BS degree. Graduates of the program are expected to prepare themselves to be independent investigators in the development and application of biostatistical analyses to problems of human health and disease. The curriculum is designed to provide opportunities for students to prepare themselves to assume senior statistical posts in governmental or private health research agencies, or to follow careers in teaching and research. For more information on a PhD degree in Biostatistics, please visit the Biostatistics Department web page.

Campus: Houston

Fall 2018 to Summer 2019 PhD Biostatistics Degree Planner
Fall 2017 to Summer 2018 PhD Biostatistics Degree Planner
Fall 2016 to Summer 2017 PhD Biostatistics Degree Planner
Fall 2015 to Summer 2016 PhD Biostatistics Degree Planner
Fall 2014 to Summer 2015 PhD Biostatistics Degree Planner
Fall 2013 to Summer 2014 PhD Biostatistics Degree Planner
Fall 2012 to Summer 2013 PhD Biostatistics Degree Planner
 

Environmental Sciences

Environmental Disease Prevention and Total Work Health Tracks
The PhD program in Environmental Sciences offers in-depth didactic and research training for students who wish to focus their careers in academic, governmental or other research institutions, and/or in high-level policy/regulatory positions.  Students applying to the PhD in Environmental Sciences will select one of the following two tracks: Environmental Disease Prevention or Total Worker Health. Our goal in offering these two tracks is to provide research experiences in areas that are increasingly posing public health challenges by affecting quality of life and introducing health disparities within different segments of the population. For more information on a PhD degree in Environmental Sciences, please visit the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences program web page.

Environmental Disease Prevention

Campuses: Houston, El Paso, San Antonio

Fall 2018 to Summer 2019 PhD EOHS EDP Track Degree Planner

Total Worker Health 

Campuses: Houston, El Paso, San Antonio

Fall 2018 to Summer 2019 PhD EOHS TWH Track Degree Planner

Epidemiology

The PhD in Epidemiology represents outstanding scholarly achievement: a mastery of epidemiologic concepts, theories and methodology; and a significant capacity for independent study. Students in the program prepare themselves to become independent epidemiologic investigators, and may acquire some teaching experience. For more information on a PhD degree in Epidemiology, please visit the Epidemiology program web page.

Campuses: Houston, Austin, Brownsville, Dallas, San Antonio

Fall 2018 to Summer 2019 PhD Epidemiology Degree Planner
Fall 2017 to Summer 2018 PhD Epidemiology Degree Planner
Fall 2016 to Summer 2017 PhD Epidemiology Degree Planner
Fall 2015 to Summer 2016 PhD Epidemiology Degree Planner
Fall 2014 to Summer 2015 PhD Epidemiology Degree Planner
Fall 2013 to Summer 2014 PhD Epidemiology Degree Planner
Fall 2012 to Summer 2013 PhD Epidemiology Degree Planner

Management, Policy and Community Health (MPACH)

Health Economics/Health Services Research and Healthcare Management/Health Policy
The PhD program in the Department of Management, Policy and Community Health provides depth in two tracks: health economics/health services research and healthcare management/health policy. Depth is achieved by electing advanced specialty courses in one or more of these areas. Students interested in careers in these areas may pursue advanced study that leads to original research and culminates in the award of the PhD degree. For more information on PhD degrees in MPACH, please visit the MPACH Department web page.

Campus: Houston

For a sample degree plan of a PhD degree in MPACH, please click here:

Health Economics and Health Services Research
Fall 2018 to Summer 2019 PhD Health Economics and Health Services Research
Fall 2017 to Summer 2018 PhD Health Economics and Health Services Research
Fall 2016 to Summer 2017 PhD Health Economics and Health Services Research
Fall 2015 to Summer 2016 PhD Health Economics and Health Services Research
Fall 2014 to Summer 2015 PhD Health Economics and Health Services Research
Fall 2013 to Summer 2014 PhD Health Economics and Health Services Research
Fall 2012 to Summer 2013 PhD Health Economics and Health Services Research

**In Fall 2014 Healthcare Management and Health Policy and Law combined PhD degree planners. This PhD degree planner requires for all students to take six core courses. Students will then select a healthcare management or policy track and take an additional three courses focused in one of these areas.

Healthcare Management and Health Policy
Fall 2018 to Summer 2019 PhD Healthcare Management and Health Policy
Fall 2017 to Summer 2018 PhD Healthcare Management and Health Policy
Fall 2016 to Summer 2017 PhD Healthcare Management and Health Policy
Fall 2015 to Summer 2016 PhD Healthcare Management and Health Policy
Fall 2014 to Summer 2015 PhD Healthcare Management and Health Policy

Healthcare Management
Fall 2013 to Summer 2014 PhD Healthcare Management
Fall 2012 to Summer 2013 PhD Healthcare Management

Health Policy and Law
Fall 2013 to Summer 2014 PhD Health Policy and Law
Fall 2012 to Summer 2013 PhD Health Policy and Law

 

Please note: The full range of courses to support a minor or breadth area may not be available at all regional campuses.

 Degree Requirements

For the student with a master’s degree, satisfactory completion of a prescribed course of study of at least one academic year and a minimum of at least 48 semester credit hours (a maximum of nine combined credit hours of practicum, thesis or dissertation count toward the minimum of 48 credit hours, therefore at least 39 credit hours of courses must be taken other than practicum, thesis or dissertation); for the student with a bachelor s degree, satisfactory completion of a prescribed course of study of at least one academic year and a minimum of at least 72 semester credit hours. Two minors or a minor and a breadth area are required; Satisfactory completion of one Epidemiology course, if not already covered in the major, minor or breadth area; Satisfactory performance on a preliminary examination as described by the degree program. The preliminary examination may be taken after the courses prescribed by the degree program have been successfully completed; Satisfactory defense of the dissertation proposal; and Satisfactory completion of an original research dissertation, written in English, that makes a substantial contribution to knowledge in the public health sciences.

For more information on the written research dissertation, please see the Student Research webpage.

All doctoral students must present their dissertation research in a public forum at the school prior to graduation. All completed dissertations will be made available to the public. If the student is unable to successfully complete the preliminary examination after two attempts, the student will be dismissed from the PhD program. For students with a bachelor’s degree, the opportunity to complete an MS degree program is not automatic, and acceptance into the MS program is decided collectively by departmental faculty. All courses taken by students count toward their degree, but students with a masters degree, no more than a total of nine semester credit hours of the 48 semester credit hour minimum may be earned for dissertation research. For students with a bachelor’s degree, no more than a total of nine semester credit hours of the 72 credit hour minimum may be earned for dissertation research. Enrollment is required during the semester in which the preliminary examination is taken. Candidates for a degree must also be enrolled during the semester in which the research proposal is submitted and continuously through the semester in which degree requirements are completed.

Click here for details about the Steps for Doctoral Students Electing a Major, Minor and Breadth.

Mentorship and Advising

Academic Advisor

All students will be assigned an academic advisor at admission who will guide them through the course prerequisite to the preliminary exam. Upon successful completion of the preliminary examination, students will constitute a Dissertation Committee.

Dissertation Committee

Upon successful completion of the preliminary exam, students will constitute a dissertation committee composed of a dissertation advisor (who may or may not be the academic advisor) and two other members representing the breadth and minor areas of interest. The dissertation committee will help develop curriculum that supports the student s research and career goals. This committee can be changed as research interests become more focused. The dissertation committee will also be responsible for evaluating the oral defense of the dissertation research proposal and the oral defense of the completed dissertation.

Committee membership must be approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The dissertation requirement will be fulfilled when the document has been approved and signed by all members of the Dissertation Committee, a copy has been filed in the Dean’s office, and an oral presentation of the work has taken place.

PRE-EXAM Committee
* Advisor (same department required)

ADDITIONAL MEMBERS NOT REQUIRED PRIOR TO PRELIMINARY EXAM, BUT MAY BE ADDED
* 2nd member (“minor” department/discipline)
* 3rd member (“breadth” department/discipline) - 2nd and 3rd members must represent different departments
* 4th member (optional)

POST EXAM Committee

 PhD – Dissertation Committee
*Chair (major department/discipline required)
* 2nd member (“minor” department/discipline)
*3rd member (“breadth” (or "second minor") department/discipline) - 2nd and 3rd members must represent different departments
* 4th member (optional/may be dissertation supervisor)

For further information, please see the Doctoral Student Dissertation Committee Composition Guideline

NOTES:
*UTHealth SPH Faculty
Any Committee Member may serve as the supervisor for the project, but must have training in the student's major area
ALL COMMITTEE MEMBERS CANNOT BE PRIMARY FACULTY IN ONE DEPARTMENT
Concentration(s) – if applicable, must be represented on committee
Minor = 9 credit hours and at least 3 courses beyond the core

Checking Your Progress

Required Review and Degree Time Limits

Any student who has been admitted to candidacy for a PhD degree (i.e., successful completion of the preliminary examination and dissertation proposal defense to proceed to candidacy) is expected to complete the degree within four years from the date of successful completion of the dissertation proposal, not to exceed seven years total time in the degree program. Otherwise, the Committee will review the case at the end of the four-year period following admission to candidacy and will consider such recommendations as (1) a one-year extension of the degree program or (2) dismissal. Recommendations of the dissertation committee are forwarded to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Practicing Your Skills

PhD students are encouraged to include a practice experience in their education plan as well, but it is not required. A practicum consists of an organized internship at an agency or organization located outside the UTHealth SPH engaged in work related to public health, or located in a UTHealth SPH Center or project that interacts with practice agencies.