PhD in Public Health Sciences

Welcome to the PhD in Public Health Sciences, where you can launch your career into advanced inquiry and expert analysis of challenges facing the public health field. The PhD is the final step toward a career in research and higher academics, with the goal to grow future research faculty in the field of Public Health.

You see the power of research. Well-structured and insightful studies can open the door to new possibilities. Research has the potential to change minds and the world, but it requires individuals with the right skills to bring it to realization.

Specialize in Epidemiology to bring your logic and analysis skills to bear on research opportunities. Through advanced epidemiological studies, gain intensive research, writing and publishing experience, securing your position in this critical field within Public Health. Epidemiology Degree Plan

Focus on Health Behavior Research to achieve insights into the psychological, social and cultural factors that affect human health and health behavior. Develop research that advances policy, improves program planning and delivers improved outcomes. Health Behavior Research Degree Plan

This highly selective program offers tuition and fees funding to select candidates. View Current Student Profiles.


students collaborating at a desk


About The Program

Research Faculty Career Goals. UNTHSC is committed to nurturing PhD students whose career goals are positions as research faculty members at Tier I institutions. Our program includes intensive expectations in contributing to ongoing research projects, the establishment of publications, and academic conference presenting.

Full-time. Students take 9 hours each semester. The program carries a heavy research and publication expectation as well as professional development hours. Therefore, employment outside the university is prohibited.

On-campus. UNTHSC is located in Fort Worth, Texas. A vibrant location within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Take advantage of our excellent city centers and low cost of living.

3-5 Year Program. Students are expected to complete the program in 3 to 5 years depending on their standing upon entrance. Students with completed MS degrees aligning with PhD concentration will have the quickest path to completion, MPH student will have some additional Master's level work to complete and students entering following a Bachelor's degree will require 5 years to complete the program.

Fall Entrance. New students begin the program each Fall semester. There are no Spring or Summer start options.

Small PhD cohort. Current admission trends indicate a small admitted class of just 2-4 students in each discipline, allowing for an intense and personalized experience.

Faculty Research Areas

When considering your PhD institution, it's important to ensure a strong match with a faculty members' research. Below are brief descriptions of current faculty research areas. We encourage you to review the full biographies of those most likely to serve as matches for your field.

Biostatistical Application

  • Dr. R. Nandy : Methods for neuroimaging data analysis, independent component analysis
  • Dr. Suzuki : Application of statistical methods to public health surveillance, sequential analysis
  • Dr. Zhou : Statistical genetics, meta-analysis, alcohol outcome evaluation

Chronic Disease Epidemiology & Health Disparities

  • Dr. Nguyen : Women’s health, chronic diseases, aging, health disparities, epidemiological methods

Environmental Epidemiology

  • Dr. Haque : Arbovirus, climate change, heat waves, landslides, and spatial epidemiology

Health Behavior Research

  • Dr. Barnett: Health risk behaviors surrounding tobacco, smoking cessation and electronic cigarettes
  • Dr. Litt: Health risk behaviors, including substance use and social media use, among adolescents and young adults
  • Dr. Lewis: Alcohol use and risky sexual behaviors among adolescents and young adults
  • Dr. Mun : Prevention & intervention of alcohol misuse/use disorders among young adults
  • Dr. Spears : the role of intersectional stressors in health behaviors and health disparities observed in historically marginalized communities
  • Dr. Walters : Motivational interviewing & technology in behavioral health interventions

Health Services Research

  • Dr. Miller : Resource allocation and burden of disease, tuberculosis

Maternal & Child Health

  • Dr. Griner: Sexual & reproductive health, oral health, implementation science
  • Dr. Thompson: Sexual & reproductive health, maternal & child health, HPV vaccination & prevention

Admission Requirements

UNTHSC conducts holistic application reviews. A completed bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is required. No specific degree or prerequisite coursework is required. PhD candidates must have a minimum 3.25 GPA in their prior studies.

Applications are reviewed once they have been completed and verified by SOPHAS. UNTHSC does not offer conditional or provisional admission. All items must be received in order for an application to be reviewed and a decision rendered. 

Well qualified candidates with strong research match potential will be invited to interview between December and February.

To Apply:

  • Create an account in SOPHAS online application portal.sophas pic

In addition to the SOPHAS required documentation of official U.S./Canadian transcripts and C.V./Resume, please provide the following additional documentation with your application.

  • Statement of Purpose and Objectives (personal statement)

    Your statement is intended to give you the opportunity to submit a tailored narrative which will describe your education, experience and professional career objectives. It should include:

      • Why are you interested in pursuing your chosen degree and concentration?
      • What are your career goals and how will this program prepare you for your career?
      • Highlight your relevant experience in prior coursework, professional or volunteer work.
      • Reasons for interest in UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth.
      • Address any areas of weakness in your application.


There are no formal word count or page limitations; however, we recommend that you limit your statement to two pages or less.

Your statement should be original and unique to each program you are applying to. Furnishing false or incomplete information, including plagiarism on any part of your statement or in any related application materials, will result in an automatic rejection of your application. (Brief quotes are permissible if accompanied by quotation marks and a reference to the source of the quote.) 

  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation. Ideal sources include academic professors, advisors and professional supervisors. 
  • Writing Sample or Publication (optional)
  • World Education Service (WES). ICAP Course-by-Course evaluation of academic records from institutions outside the U.S. and English-speaking Canada (if applicable). 
  • Standardized Graduate Test Scores are waived for applicants to Fall 2021.

Program Candidate Profile

Well Qualified Candidate Profile:

  • Master's degree in strongly aligned field
    • Most often includes public health, mathematics, psychology and medical sciences
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher
    • Minimum GPA of 3.25 is required; average GPA of 2020 Admit = 3.8
  • 120 Hours in Academic Research experience
    • 1 Letter of Recommendation from Research Supervisor/PI

Application Deadline and Timeline

Priority Deadline: December 1st.

Admissions Application Deadline: January 15th. Application closes at 11:00 CST.

Review Process: PhD applicants are reviewed primarily in the months of December, January and February. Review will continue until all seats are filled. Applicants will be reviewed for best fit with concentrations and faculty mentors. If invited for an interview, applicants are expected to participate in either an on-campus interview or a technology-assisted interview.

Funding & Expectations

Students admitted to this highly selective program are offered a generous package from the university. This package includes:

  • Four fully funded years of tuition & fees
  • A living stipend currently valued at $24,000 annually
  • Health insurance
  • A laptop computer

PhD candidates are expected to spend 20 hours a week providing research support for SPH Faculty and complete at least 1 teaching assistant assignment. PhD candidates are also expected to complete 7 publications and 1 dissertation over the course of study. PhD candidates should be pursuing a career as a research faculty member at a Tier 1 University. 

Early application is recommended for this competitive program. Priority deadline is December 1st. Final deadline is January 15th. Offers will be made until seats are filled. Seat count changes year to year based on currently active students.

Financial Aid is available to support additional living expenses. Contact Financial Aid for specific questions and counseling

International Students

Applicants who have degree coursework from institutions outside the U.S. must submit a credential evaluation from World Education Services (WES). We require the iCAP WES This will be submitted to the SOPHAS system for your final application.

International applicants must demonstrate satisfactory proficiency in oral and written English before being considered for admission. TOEFL or IELTS are accepted. Minimum requirements: TOEFL internet based = 85 or IELTS = 6.5. Meeting minimum scores does not guarantee admission.

International applicants should submit their application 6 weeks prior to the international applicant deadline. This will allow sufficient time for WES to process the transcript evaluation report and adequate time for visa processing.

Visit our International Student Office site to learn more about the I-20 process, estimated Cost of Attendance and other key factors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

We’re glad you have questions. Graduate school is a big step and requires careful consideration. You’re always welcome to email or call us for answers, but for your convenience, we’ve curated our responses to the most common questions from our applicants. You may view our "Frequently Asked Questions" page by following this link:





This page was last modified on October 19, 2020