Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in a public health discipline represents outstanding scholarly achievement and signifies a capacity for independent study. This degree is available to those who plan to pursue careers in academia and research. Most full-time students take approximately three to five years to complete the degree program. Curricula for this degree are offered in the fields of Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion; Biostatistics; Environmental Sciences, with tracks in Total Worker Health and Environmental Disease Prevention; Epidemiology; Health Economics/Health Services Research and Healthcare Management/Health Policy. The PhD degree requires successful completion of a minimum of 48 semester credit hours.

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 2019 to Summer 2020 PhD BSHP Degree Planner
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 2019 to Summer 2020 PhD Biostatistics Degree Planner
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

Direct Admit

The course of study for direct admission to the PhD requires the completion of 72 credit hours.

Campus: Houston

Fall 2019 to Summer 2020 PhD Biostatistics -Direct Admit 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 2019 to Summer 2020 PhD EOHS EDP Track Degree Planner
Fall 2018 to Summer 2019 PhD EOHS EDP Track Degree Planner

Total Worker Health 

Campuses: Houston, El Paso, San Antonio

Fall 2019 to Summer 2020 PhD EOHS TWH Track Degree Planner
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 2019 to Summer 2020 PhD Epidemiology Degree Planner
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

Direct Admit

The course of study for direct admission to the PhD requires the completion of 72 credit hours.

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

Fall 2019 to Summer 2020 PhD Epidemiology -Direct Admit 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 2019 to Summer 2020 PhD 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 2019 to Summer 2020 PhD 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

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. The PhD degree is a minimum of 48 semester credit hours. In order to complete a degree with appropriate public health breadth, PhD students are required to complete two disciplinary minor areas of study (each in one of the five public health disciplines separate from their major area) or a disciplinary minor and a breadth area (a 9-credit hour course of study around a topical or methodological theme). A disciplinary minor requires the successful completion of at least nine (9) semester credit hours that address competencies as specified by the student’s advisory committee. The disciplinary minor is based on the student’s degree plan and the recommended minor courses from the department. The full range of courses to support a minor or breadth area may not be available at all campuses.

PhD Degree Requirements

  • For students with a master’s degree, satisfactory completion of a defined course of study of at least one (1) academic year and a minimum of at least 48 semester credit hours (only three (3) credit hours of practicum, if taken), and six (6) credit hours of dissertation count toward the minimum of 48 credit hours; therefore, at least 39 credit hours of courses other than practicum, thesis, or dissertation); for students with a bachelor’s degree, satisfactory completion of a defined course of study of at least one (1) 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 PH 101 Foundations in Public Health (online, not-for-credit course that covers the Foundational Knowledge Competencies set forth by CEPH) within the first year of the student’s program;
  • Satisfactory completion of one epidemiology course, if one is not already covered in the major, minor, or breadth areas;
  • Satisfactory performance (i.e., demonstrated competency) on a preliminary examination as described by the degree program. The preliminary examination may be taken after the courses defined by the degree program have been successfully completed;
  • Satisfactory defense of the dissertation proposal; and
  • Satisfactory completion of an original research dissertation that makes a substantial contribution to knowledge in the public health sciences. The dissertation requirement will be fulfilled when an oral defense of the dissertation research proposal and of the completed dissertation have been successfully completed, the document has been approved and signed by all members of the dissertation committee, and a copy has been filed in the Dean’s Office. All completed dissertations will be made available to the general public. For more information on the written research dissertation, please see the Student Research webpage.

Mentorship and Advising

Preliminary Committee

All admitted PhD students are assigned a Faculty Advisor who will assist the student in preparing for the preliminary examination. After successful completion of the preliminary examination, the student will constitute a Dissertation Committee.

For additional information on doctoral committees, please refer to SPH Policy 102, Doctoral Committees Structure and the Doctoral Student (PhD/DrPH) Dissertation Committee Composition Guideline.

Before Preliminary Examination Committee
* Faculty Advisor (faculty member from within student’s discipline)

Dissertation Committee

Upon successful completion of the preliminary exam, students will constitute a Dissertation Committee composed of a Committee Chair (who is the student's Faculty Advisor) and at least two other UTHealth School of Public Health faculty members representing the minor(s) and/or breadth areas of interest. A Dissertation Supervisor may be added, and may come from an outside institution. The Dissertation Committee will help develop curriculum that supports the student’s research and career goals. Committee membership can be changed as research interests become more focused. The Dissertation Committee is responsible for evaluating the oral defense of the dissertation research proposal and completed dissertation. Committee membership must be approved by the Director of 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 is filed in the Dean’s office, and an oral presentation of the work has taken place.

Dissertation Committee
* Faculty Advisor (serves as Chair)                 
* 2nd member (Minor discipline)                                   
* 3rd member (second Minor/Breadth discipline)
  4th member –not required
       -This may be an Optional Member or Dissertation Supervisor if not filled by Faculty Advisor    

Please submit the completed forms to the Office of Academic Affairs and Student Services for final approval. PhD student forms can be found on the PhD Student Forms webpage.

*UTHealth School of Public Health Faculty = an appointed assistant, associate or full professor; with a primary appointment at the school