Program Requirements

To earn the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Department of Public Health Sciences, students must fulfill the following requirements:

(i) Complete 19 graduate level courses, including:

  • (a) a core curriculum of up to six courses needed to prepare for the preliminary examination; and
  • (b) a major concentration program approved by the faculty consisting of at least 7 additional courses in a disciplinary domain (such as biostatistics); and
  • (c) a minor program approved by the faculty consisting of at least 3 additional courses in a second disciplinary area; and
  • (d) a course in scientific integrity and the ethical conduct of research (BSDG 55000), usually in the first year of study (divisional ethics requirement).

Students with advanced training relevant to the program may be able to waive some courses; however, in no instance may a student take fewer than 9 courses in this program. Each student's course schedule must be developed in collaboration with the Curriculum Committee.

(ii) Pass a multi-part preliminary examination demonstrating mastery of the core curriculum and of foundational knowledge in the chosen area of concentration;

(iii) Teach two quarters for credit in pre-approved teaching assistant positions in the biological sciences (divisional teaching requirement);

(iv) Establish a doctoral dissertation committee, present proposed dissertation research to members of that committee and other interested faculty, and obtain written approval from the committee for the proposed dissertation research;

(v) Prepare and defend a doctoral dissertation of independent, original, and rigorous research in the chosen area of concentration; and

(vi) Participate in the departmental seminar, in faculty/student workshops, and in research workshops that overlap with the chosen area of concentration.

For the typical student, it is expected that the majority of coursework will be completed in the first two years of the program, that preliminary examinations will be taken the summer following thefirst year in the program, and that the program will be completed in a maximum of5 years. Students unable to complete the core curriculum in one year may take the preliminary examination the summer following thesecond year in the program.

Students are required to be in residence throughout the graduate program including the summers, during which students will focus on research.