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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Health Sciences

Department of Public Health Education (PHED)

Christine A. Moranetz, PhD, FAWHP
Department Chair
PhD Program Director
UNT Health Science Center
School of Public Health
Education and Administration Building 747

The PhD program in Public Health Sciences prepares professionals for research, teaching, and service with the overall objective of improving the health of populations.  To meet this objective, all students in the program pursue excellence in conducting research and disseminating knowledge.  The primary focus is on research that advances knowledge and facilitates discovery regarding etiology, interventions, and policies that promote health at the individual, population, societal, and/or global levels.  The PhD curriculum will provide a strong foundation in research methodology and biostatistics necessary for the public health sciences. Advanced training with the specialized fields will be addressed within the five concentrations:

  •  Behavioral and Community Health focuses on advancing knowledge about etiology, interventions, and policies that promote healthy lifestyles and prevent risk behavior, injury, and disease in communities. The concentration in Behavioral and Community Health provides a rigorous scientific approach to the multi-level study of the biological, behavioral, social, and community factors that impact human health. Students will be prepared to research, to effectively teach university courses in a community health curriculum, and to serve and partner with communities, particularly those represented by priority populations.

•     Biostatistics focuses on the reasoning and methods for using data as evidence to address public health and biomedical questions.  It is an approach and a set of tools for designing studies, analyzing data, quantifying evidence and making decisions.  The PhD curriculum prepares students for three roles – researcher, collaborator/communicator and educator – which are commonly expected of a Biostatistician. 

•     Environmental Health Sciences prepares students to research, teach and apply knowledge on the interrelationships between the environment and human health and their regional, national and global significance.  Students will be equipped to apply their research skills and knowledge to recognize, evaluate and prevent exposures that may adversely impact human health and environmental quality, whether in the natural or human-made environment. 

•     Epidemiology is an advanced degree for students contemplating a career as scientists employed in academia, research institutions or in research units within industry or other agencies and organizations.  The program is comprehensive, with a strong emphasis on epidemiologic methodology, theory and practice.  The goal is to provide broad and rigorous training that will fully equip students with the skills they need to conduct cutting-edge epidemiologic research within the many areas of public health.

•     Health Services and Policy will prepare students for careers in research, teaching and service in the broad field of health care services and policy.  The program’s aim is to strengthen students’ knowledge and skills with respect to theories, research methodologies and analytical skills.  By developing these tools, students will be able to address a variety of issues including health care access, cost-effectiveness, and process quality and outcomes evaluation. 

The School of Public Health is a member of SOPHAS (Schools of Public Health Application Service). Students may apply online at www.sophas.org. The School of Public Health admits PhD students during the fall semester only. The admissions application deadline to SOPHAS is January 15th.  Applicants to the PhD program will fall under one of the following admissions categories:

1.  Full Admission: Accepted without reservation to the PhD program.

2.  Denied: Not admitted to the program because application was not competitive.

3.  Non-review: Not reviewed due to an incomplete application file.

PhD Admission Requirements

  • Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a recognized institution.
  • Completion of a MA, MS, MPH or a related master's degree(s) is preferred.
  • Submit an application to the School of Public Health via SOPHAS (Schools of Public Health Application Service) at www.sophas.org,
  • Submit complete, official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended,
  • Submit official scores from one of the following graduate admissions examinations: Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT), Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) or Pharmacy School Admissions Test (PCAT). The examination requirement is waived for applicants possessing a professional doctoral degree with a license to practice in the United States,
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation from professionals who are familiar with the applicant's academic and/or professional work,
  • Current resume or curriculum vita,
  • Statement of Purpose (1-2 pages) addressing the applicant's research interest and how the PhD will assist career aspirations,
  • Applicants with foreign transcripts must also include an official WES or ECE transcript evaluation report listing course-by-course U.S. grade point equivalencies,
  • International applicants must demonstrate satisfactory proficiency in oral and written English before being granted admission. Minimum TOEFL exam requirements: written = 550; computer-based = 213; internet-based = 79. The TOEFL is waived if the applicant has earned a high school diploma or a bachelor or master degree from an accredited institution within the United States or Canada,
  • A minimum graduate GPA of 3.2. Although a minimum GPA has been established, admission to the program is highly competitive,
  • Applicants will be reviewed for best fit with concentrations and faculty mentors,
  • Prior to final decisions for admission, selected applicants will be expected to participate in either an on-campus interview or a technology-assisted interview. Interviews on campus or by telephone at the student's request are always welcome.

Once an offer of admission has been extended to an applicant, official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended must be re-submitted directly to the SPH Office of Student and Academic Services, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76107-2699.

Once an offer of admission has been extended to an international applicant, the Health Science Center will not issue immigration papers for student visas until the following documents have been received and approved by the Health Science Center:

  • Proof of financial resources
  • Official transcripts from each college or university attended should be re-submitted both in English and the student's native language.

Admission Decisions and Deferments for PhD Students

Applicants will be furnished written notification regarding their admission status by the SPH Office of Student and Academic Services. Statements by other Health Science Center personnel concerning the applicant's admissibility are not valid until confirmed in writing by the Office of Student and Academic Services.

Applicants who are admitted to a degree program and plan to enroll are required to submit an Admissions Decision Form along with a non-refundable $200 assurance fee that will be used toward tuition upon arrival. Applicants admitted to a degree program that do not intend to enroll in the semester for which they applied must contact the Office of Student and Academic Services to request a deferment. Deferments must be made in writing and cannot exceed one year from the original acceptance date. There is a non-refundable deferment fee of $300; the deferment fee is due at the time the request is made.

Information submitted in the application materials must be complete and correct. Prospective and current students must notify the proper institution officials regarding any changes in the information provided on their application. Falsification or omission of any information on the application documents will void a student's admission, cancel their enrollment, and/or result in appropriate disciplinary action.

All materials submitted during the application process become the property of the Health Science Center and cannot be returned.

Financial Assistance

To be eligible for scholarships and assistantships offered by the School of Public Health, applicants must complete the admissions application by January 15, 2012. For more information, please contact the Office of Student and Academic Services 817-735-2401. 

PhD Competencies and Learning Objectives

To develop research skills, students interact and collaborate with researchers through a variety of courses and research experiences.  Six overarching competencies are addressed throughout the educational experiences within the PhD degree program:  Upon completion of the PhD program, the graduate will be able to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Synthesize historical, contemporary, and emerging theories and paradigms of significance to public health. (Research Theories)
  • Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of existing research evidence and identify significant gaps in knowledge. (Critical Analysis)
  • Comprehend, design and apply relevant and advanced research methods based on rigorous standards of evidence.  (Research Methodology)
  •  Develop professional skills in scientific and grant writing, oral communication, and teaching.  (Scientific Communications)
  •  Uphold the highest ethical standards in all professional endeavors, including the design and implementation of research and the participation of human subjects. (Ethics)
  •  Conduct investigative research, including areas that facilitate the translation and application of discovery to practice. (Discovery & Translational Research)

PhD Curriculum


Core Courses 33
BACH 5300 Theoretical Foundations of Individual and Community Health 3
BIOS 5300    Biostatistics for Public Health I 3
EOHS 5300 Environmental Health 3
EPID 5300 Principles of Epidemiology 3
HMAP 5300 Introduction to Health Management and Policy 3
BIOS 5310 Biostatistics for Public Health 2 3
BIOS 6300 Applied Statistical Methods for Data Analysis 3
HMAP 6360 Ethical Issues in Public Health 3
PHED 6118 Seminar/Grand Rounds in Public Health Research 1
PHED 6220 Scientific and Grant Writing 2
PHED 6321 Pedagogy in Public Health 3
PHED 6310 Public Health Research Methods 3
Concentration Required Courses 21-39
Concentration Specific Electives 6-24
Comprehensive Exam (BACH, BIOS, EOHS, EPID, HMAP 6000)  0
Culminative Experience  
Dissertation  12
  Total SCH 90

This page last modified April 19, 2012

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