Dennis Thombs, PhD, FAAHB
DrPH Program Director
Comparison of the DrPH and PhD Programs
The School of Public Health offers two doctoral degrees. Both advanced degree programs are designed to prepare leaders to advance the field of public health.
The DrPH degree program emphasizes the scholarship of application. DrPH students focus on optimizing public health practice through the application of existing research. During the program, students develop skills in translating research findings into evidence–based practice in real-world community and health system settings. Courses focus on theory, research methods, organizational management, policy, advocacy, implementation science, program planning and evaluation, and community engagement. Employment opportunities include positions in academic public health (teaching/community practice), foundations, state and national government agencies, nonprofit agencies, and local health departments.
The PhD degree program emphasizes the scholarship of discovery and integration. PhD students focus on the creation of new knowledge through the testing of hypotheses. During the program, students develop skills in generating research questions to advance knowledge, research design, grant proposal development, collection and analysis of data, and communication of scientific findings. Courses focus on theory, research methods, statistics, and scientific writing. Employment opportunities include academic public health (research/teaching), state and national government agencies, and private research organizations.
The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree is an indication of distinguished scholarly accomplishment in the professional field. The goal of the DrPH program is to provide rigorous, advanced training in public health leadership for individuals who will serve in a variety of roles within government, private and not-for-profit organizations, and academia. The DrPH degree program emphasizes the scholarship of application, i.e., the optimization of public health practice through the application of existing research findings. During the program, students develop skills in translating research findings into evidence–based practice in real-world community and health system settings. Courses focus on theory, research methods, organizational management, policy, advocacy, implementation science, program planning and evaluation, and community engagement. To develop leadership skills, students interact and collaborate with senior public health practitioners in the field, in the Professional and academic Development Co-Curriculum, and in the DrPH Residency. The DrPH program requires a minimum of 60 semester credit hours (SCH) beyond the 15 SCH of the MPH core courses. Program content and co-curricular learning experiences address the public health competencies identified by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). Overall, upon completion of the DrPH program, the graduate will be able to demonstrate the ability to:
Advocacy – Use scientific knowledge and ethical considerations to create and sustain active support for a cause or position with the intent of influencing decision-making regarding policies, practices and beliefs that advance public health at local, tribal, state, national, and international levels.
Communication – Study and use communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that enhance health.
Community/ Cultural Orientation – Interact and communicate effectively with people of different cultures. This includes having:
An awareness of one’s own cultural worldview;
Mature attitudes toward cultural differences;
Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews; and
Possession of cross-cultural skills.
Critical Analysis – Develop, synthesize, interpret, and apply evidence-based research and theory from a broad range of disciplines and health-related data sources to facilitate studies, interventions and policies for promoting population health.
Leadership – Inspire trust and motivate individuals and teams to use evidence based strategies to envision and communicate a positive future that enhances essential public health services for all populations.
Management – Provide fiscally responsible strategic and operational guidance for a variety of health -related organizations, both public and private, for the purpose of achieving individual and community health wellness.
Professionalism and Ethics – Identify ethical issues, balance the claims of personal liberty against concerns about population health, consider the full spectrum of the determinants of health, identify the range of options for interventions, demonstrate the values and professional practices which form the basis of public health practice; understand and act upon the ethical concepts of social justice, virtue, and human rights; model accountability; and formulate and commit to personal and institutional development plans.
Prerequisites (15 SCH)
BACH 5300 Theoretical Foundations of Individual and Community Health
BIOS 5300 Principles of Biostatistics
EOHS 5300 Environmental Determinants of Health
EPID 5300 Principles of Epidemiology
HMAP 5300 Introduction to Health Management & Policy
Core Courses (39 SCH)
BACH 6300 Advances Theories of Individual and Community Health
EPID 6311 Applied Epidemiology for Public Health
HMAP 5328 Human Resources Management
HMAP 5330 Health Finance 1
HMAP 5340 Public Health Law
HMAP 6310 Advanced Health Policy
HMAP 6320 Leadership for Public Health
HMAP 6322 Organizational Management
HMAP 6360 Ethical Issues in Public Health
PHED 6050 DrPH Portfolio
PHED 6118 Methods for Public Health Studies 2
PHED 6122 Professional Development in Public Health Practice 1
PHED 6124 Professional Development in Public Health Practice 2
PHED 6314 Methods for Public Health Studies 1
PHED 6316 Advanced Program Design and Evaluation for Public Health Practice
PHED 6325 Evidence Based Public Health
Elective Courses (12 SCH)*only 6 SCH at 5000 level Examinations (0 SCH)
PHED 5000 MPH Professional Option CPH Comprehensive Examination
PHED 6000 Preliminary Examination
PHED 6002 Integrated Competency Examination (ICE)
Culminating Experience (9 SCH)
PHED 6397 Doctor of Public Health Residency