Explore Doctor of Public Health Programs (PhD & DPH)

Pursuing higher positions in public health can prove to be beneficial for individuals with leadership characteristics. Those in public health that seek the most out of their degree should consider enrolling into Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Health or Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) in Public Health programs across the country.

The Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) and the PhD in Public Health are advanced terminal degrees for public health, meant for experienced public health professionals that already have their Masters in Public Health (MPH) or similar degree. Specific degree nomenclature varies based on university and specific public health school. Some offer DPH degrees, while other universities name the terminal degree PhD in Public Health, Doctorate in Public Health, or Doctoral Public Health.

These terminal degree programs in public health can prepare learners for careers in research, education, or even management within the public health sector. Graduate level public health specialists are in great need across the country to assist with nationwide epidemic research as well as the implementation of vital government programs.

PhD in Public Health vs. Doctor of Public Health

A PhD in Public Health will be focused on developing the skills needed to become an advanced researcher. The understanding of research theories and methodologies is an important part of this degree. Even though a PhD in Public Health is more narrowly focused, it lends itself to careers in various health sectors, such as academia, governmental agencies, and pharmaceutical companies.

A DrPH is an advanced graduate-level degree that focuses on the professional and practical elements of the field, rather than the academic. It is designed for public health practitioners and is geared towards practice and fieldwork. It is multidisciplinary and will cover everything from communications and marketing to advocacy and economics. It was developed to train students and practitioners for careers in public health leadership. 

Both the DrPH and PhD have career options in academia available to them. These two degrees are suited for individuals who have received an MPH or another graduate-level degree and have worked in their field for a number of years. The DrPH is ideal for the public health practitioner looking to advance their career to positions needing additional education. The PhD may suit an individual earlier on in their career who is looking to embed themselves in a career of research.

What are the Typical Pre-Requisites of a DrPH/PhD Degree?

As mentioned above, the prerequisites for advanced degrees require a master’s degree and post-graduate work experience. For some programs, if an individual applying does not have their master’s in public health they will require master’s level classes in public health up to a certain amount of credit hours. A recent Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score is often required along with academic transcripts. An additional requirement for admittance into a Doctorate program is a personal statement or statement or purpose.

Concentration Options for a DrPH/PhD

The degree options for a DrPH or a PhD become more specialized within those concentrations. Those receiving their PhD in public health will have to pick a program by the department they wish to specialize and conduct research in. This could be Health Policy and Administration, Health Economics, Health Systems, etc. A DrPH will also specialize by department, but will often pick from the core public health concentrations (Epidemiology, Environmental Health, etc.) along with a few additional departments (i.e. International Health and Social and Behavioral Sciences).

Online Doctor of Public Health Options

Entering the right educational program is important to the success of a career. Students that are interested in obtaining their degree online should research their chosen school’s accreditation status prior to applying. Since this program is highly research-oriented, learners are expected to take part in a lot of independent learning in an online environment.

Online Doctorate programs will have the same requirements and courses as a traditional degree. Online programs allow for greater flexibility with work and family life but also require self-discipline and accountability. Some online programs will require site visits to the campus or alternate sites for orientations, leadership development, adviser meetings, etc. Classes will be taught online either through live streams or recorded video. Online discussion forums and group work are also the main parts of the online curriculum. A dissertation is still a requirement for online doctorate programs and it may be required that it is presented in person.

Typical Curriculum & Classes

DrPH

In general, the DrPH degree curriculum will consist of core courses, research courses, and a culminating project such as a capstone course, dissertation, or thesis. The core courses, much like the MPH, will cover the main concentrations in Public Health (Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Environmental Health, Health Policy, etc.) and will also include statistics and data management. Each of these classes are taught with a focus on Leadership and Organization. Additional classes may include:

  • Advocacy
  • Marketing and Public Relations
  • Community and Cultural Understanding
  • Ethics

These will guide the focus of the degree. A Dissertation or thesis is often required at the end of each semester, year or at the end of the program.

PhD in Public Health

The PhD in Public Health is much less straightforward and will vary significantly from program to program and within degrees. A PhD in Public Health is much more research-based and will cover topics ranging from disease and injury prevention to health informatics and communication. Many schools do not offer a PhD in Public Health per se, but in Health Policy, Bioethics, Environmental Health Sciences, Chronic Disease Epidemiology, etc. Each of these is rooted in public health but are much more focused in their scope. Because of this, classes and curriculum will be much more focused and centered around research.

Different Career Opportunities

After completing a DrPH or Ph.D. in Public Health, graduates may seek out positions in government agencies, healthcare facilities, or even community organizations. Professionals at this level have the capacity to become instructors of public health at universities, researchers for public health associations, and directors of nonprofit agencies.

Having a doctorate degree in this discipline gives learners the most education available for this field. With a Ph.D. in Public Health, professionals in the field may have access to careers working with government organizations in the planning, implementation, and training of important public health procedures. Organizations, such as American Public Health Association,  accept members that are in public health careers that desire to communicate their studies and policies on different platforms. Getting involved with a society such as this one can allow professionals to spread their work to educational and professional settings across the country.

Explore DrPH Programs

Boston University

Boston, MA · Traditional Format

Claremont Graduate University

Claremont, CA · Traditional Format

Columbia University

New York, NY · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology; Population and Family Health; Sociomedical Sciences

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Health Management and Policy

East Carolina University

Greenville, NC · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Environmental and Occupational Health; Health Policy, Administration, and Leadership

East Tennessee State

Johnson City, TN · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Community Health; Epidemiology; and Health Management and Policy

Florida A&M University

Tallahassee, FL · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Behavioral Science and Health Education; Epidemiology and Biostatistics

George Washington University

Washington, DC · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Environmental and Occupational Health; Health Behavior; Global Health; and Health Policy

Georgia Southern University

Savannah, GA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Community Health; Epidemiology; Health Policy and Management; and Public Health Leadership

Georgia State University

Atlanta, GA · Traditional Format

Harvard University

Boston, MA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Public Health

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Global Health Leadership

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, CA · Traditional and Online Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Health Education (Online Format); Health Policy and Leadership; and Preventative Care

Morgan State University

Baltimore, MD · Traditional Format

New York Medical College

Valhalla, NY · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Health Policy and Management

Pennsylvania State University

Hershey, PA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Community and Behavioral Health; Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Health Systems Organization and Policy

SUNY – Downstate Medical Center

Brooklyn, NY · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Community Health Sciences; Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences; and Epidemiology

Texas A&M Health Science Center

College Station, TX · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epi and Environmental Health; Health Promotion and Community Health Services

Tulane University

New Orleans, LA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences

University of Albany

Albany, NY · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Environmental Health Science; Epidemiology; Health Policy and Management; Social Behavior and Community Health

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, AL · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Health Care Organization and Policy; Maternal Child Health Policy; and Outcomes Research

University of Arizona

Tuscon, AZ · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Maternal and Child Health; Public Health Policy and Management

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Little Rock, AR · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Public Health Leadership

University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley, CA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Public Health

University of Georgia

Athens, GA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Health Policy and Management

University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicago, IL · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Leadership

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC · Traditional and Online Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Health Leadership (Online)

University of Pittsburgh

Chapel Hill, NC · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology

University of South Florida

Tampa, FL · Traditional and Online Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Advanced Practice Leadership in Public Health; Public Health & Clinical Laboratory Science & Practice

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Houston, TX · Traditional and Online Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Community Health Practice; Health Promotion and Health Education;

Explore PhD in Public Health Degree Programs

Boston University

Boston, MA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Health; Epidemiology; and Health Services Research

Brown University

Providence, RI · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Behavioral and Social Health Sciences; Biostatistics; Epidemiology; and Health Services Research

CUNY School of Public Health

New York, NY · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Community Health and Health Policy; Environmental and Planetary Health Sciences; and Epidemiology

Colorado School of Public Health

Denver, CO · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Epidemiology; and Health Services Research

Columbia University

New York, NY · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Epidemiology; Environmental Health Sciences; and Social Medical Sciences;

Drexel University

Philadelphia, PA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Epidemiology; Community Health and Prevention; Environmental and Occupational Health; and Health Services Research and Policy

Emory University

Atlanta, GA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Behavioral Sciences and Health; Biostatistics; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology; and Health Services Research and Health Policy

George Washington University

Washington, DC · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Environmental Health; Epidemiology; Health Policy; and Social and Behavioral Sciences

Georgia State University

Atlanta, GA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Environmental Health; Epidemiology; Health Promotion and Behavior; and Health Services and Policy Research

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Epidemiology; and Health Policy and Management

Indiana University at Bloomington

Bloomington, IN · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Environmental Health; Epidemiology; and Health Behavior

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Bioethics & Health Policy; Biostatistics; Cancer Epidemiology; Cardiovascular Disease & Clinical Epidemiology; Clinical Investigation; Clinical Trials & Evidence Synthesis; Epidemiology of Aging; Environmental Epidemiology; Exposure Sciences & Environmental Epidemiology; General Epidemiology & Methodology; Genetic Epidemiology; Global Disease Epidemiology & Control; Health & Public Policy; Health Economics & Policy; Health Services Research & Policy; Human Nutrition; Health Systems; Infectious Disease Epidemiology; Molecular Microbiology & Immunology; Mental Health; Population, Family & Reproductive Health; Social & Behavioral Interventions; Social & Behavioral Sciences; and Toxicology, Physiology & Molecular Mechanisms

Kent State University

Kent, OH · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology; Health Policy and Management; and Prevention Science

Loma Linda University

Loma Linda, CA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology; Nutrition; and Biostatistics

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

New Orleans, LA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Community Health Sciences; and Epidemiology

New York University

New York, NY · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology; Public Health Policy and Management; and Social and Behavioral Sciences

Ohio State University

Columbus, OH · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Public Health; Epidemiology; Health Behavior and Health Promotion; and Health Services Management and Policy

Oregon Health & Science University/Portland State University

Portland, OR · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology and Health Systems and Policy

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Environmental and Occupational Health; Epidemiology; Global Health; Health Management and Policy; and Health Promotion and Health Behavior

Rutgers University

Newark, NJ · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental and Occupational Health; Epidemiology; Health Systems and Policy; and Social and Behavioral Health Sciences

Saint Louis University

St. Louis, MO · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Behavioral Science and Health Education; Biostatistics; Epidemiology; Health Management and Policy; Health Outcomes Research

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology; Global Health; and Health Behavior

Temple University

Philadelphia, PA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Social and Behavioral Sciences; Health Policy and Health Services Research; and Epidemiology

Tulane University

New Orleans, LA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Epidemiology; Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences; Environmental Health Sciences; Health Policy and Management; International Health and Development; and Tropical Medicine

University of Buffalo – SUNY

Buffalo, NY · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Community Health and Health Behavior; and Epidemiology

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, AL · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology; and Health Education and Health Promotion

University of Arizona

Tuscon, AZ · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology; and Health Education and Health Promotion

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Little Rock, AR · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology; Health Promotion and Prevention Research; and Health Systems and Services Research

University of California at Berkeley

Berkeley, CA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology; Health Services and Policy Analysis; Infectious Diseases and Immunity

University of California at Irvine

Irvine, CA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Disease Prevention and Global Health

University of California at Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Community Health Sciences; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology; Health Policy and Management; and Molecular Toxicology

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Epidemiology; One Health; Public Health/Health Services Research; and Social and Behavioral Sciences

University of Hawaii

Honolulu, HI · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Community Based and Translational Research; Epidemiology

University of Illinois at Chicago

Chicago, IL · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Community Health Sciences; Community Health Sciences and Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Community and Behavioral Health; Epidemiology; Health Services and Policy; and Occupational and Environmental Health

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Health; Epidemiology; Health Management and Policy; and Health Promotion

University of Maryland

College Park, MD · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Behavioral and Community Health; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology; Family Science; Health Services Research; and Maternal and Child Health

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Community Health Education; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology; and Health Policy and Management

University of Memphis

Memphis, TN · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology; Social and Behavioral Sciences

University of Miami

Miami, FL · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Epidemiology; and Prevention Science and Community Health

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Health Sciences; Environmental Health Sciences: Toxicology; Epidemiology: Epidemiological Sciences; Health Behavior and Health Education; Health Services Organization and Policy; Molecular and Biochemical Nutrition; Nutritional Epidemiology; Nutritional Interventions; and Nutritional Sciences

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology; Biostatistics; Environmental Health; and Health Services Research, Policy, and Administration

University of Montana

Missoula, MT · Traditional Format

University of Nebraska Medical Center

Omaha, NE · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Health, Occupational Health, and Toxicology; Epidemiology; Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research; and Health Services Research, Administration and Policy

University of Nevada at Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NV · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Global and Environmental Health; Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Social and Behavioral Health; and Health Service Management and Policy

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Sciences & Engineering; Epidemiology; Health Behavior; Health Policy and Management; Maternal and Child Health; Nutrition; Behavioral Sciences; and Health Services Research

University of North Texas Health Science Center

Fort Worth, TX · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology; Health Behavior Research

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Oklahoma City, OK · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Epidemiology; Biostatistics; Health Promotion Sciences; Occupational and Environmental Health

University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Behavioral and Community Health Sciences; Biostatistics; Environmental and Occupational Health; Epidemiology; Health Services Research and Policy; Human Genetics; Infectious Diseases and Microbiology

University of South Carolina

Columbia, SC · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology; Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior; Health Services Policy and Management

University of South Florida

Tampa, FL · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Community and Family Health; Environmental and Occupational Health; Epidemiology; Global Communicable Disease; and Health Services Research

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Houston, TX · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Behavioral Sciences and Heath Promotion; Biostatistics; Environmental Sciences; Environmental Sciences: Environmental Disease Prevention; Environmental Sciences: Total Worker Health; Epidemiology; Healthcare Management and Health Policy; and Management & Policy Sciences (Health Economics/Health Services Research)

University of Texa Medical Branch at Galveston

Galveston, TX · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Population Health Sciences; Rehabilitation Services

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT · Traditional Format

University of Washington

Seattle, WA · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Public Health Genetics

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WI · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Community and Behavioral Health Promotion; and Environmental Health Sciences

Washington University in St. Louis

St. Louis, MO · Traditional Format

West Virginia University

Morgantown, WV · Traditional Format

Yale University

New Haven, CT · Traditional Format

Concentration(s) Offered: Biostatistics; Chronic Disease Epidemiology; Environmental Health Sciences; Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases; Health Policy and Management; Social and Behavioral Sciences

Information updated as of April 2020