Public Health (DrPH)
Degree Program Overview
The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree program at the University of Georgia College of Public Health is designed to prepare graduates for senior level public health practice careers. Options are also available for students with interests in academia or applied research careers in public health.
The program, administrated by the College’s Department of Health Policy and Management, is based on the UGA Gwinnett Campus.
The degree is designed for students with either a Master of Public Health or equivalent degree, or a professional doctorate in areas such as medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy or law. A minimum of three years (post master’s or professional degree) of relevant public health practice experience is required. Our enrollment is diverse, and students include current and former employees of state and local health agencies, non-profit organizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Review the 2022-2023 DrPH Student Handbook (PDF) (PDF) for additional information.
All applicants to the Doctor of Public Health degree must have:
- A master’s-level degree in public health (MPH or MSPH). Students with other master’s degrees may be considered and accepted provisionally, but will need to complete the five MPH core courses (15 hours) prior to acceptance into the DrPH program. These courses will not apply to the DrPH degree. All master’s degrees must be from an accredited institution.
- At least three years of experience in the public health area after having completed a master’s degree.
- Applicants are expected to have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
DrPH Prerequisite Courses (15 hours)
BIOS 7010 – Introduction to Biostatistics I (3 hours)
EHSC 7010 – Fundamentals of Environmental Health (3 hours)
EPID 7010 – Introduction to Epidemiology I (3 hours)
HPAM 7010 – Introduction to Health Policy and Management (3 hours)
HPRB 7010 – Social and Behavioral Foundations of Public Health (3 hours)
*Students with only a bachelor’s degree will NOT be accepted into the program. No exceptions will be given.*
Curriculum and Courses
The curricular focus of the DrPH program at the UGA College of Public Health is management, leadership and health policy and development. The degree requires 57 credit hours beyond master’s level. The program operates in an executive-style format requiring two courses per semester and operate on a Fall, Spring and Summer schedule that allows for completion in four years. A minimum letter grade of “B” is required in all course work.
HPAM 8840- Managerial Epidemiology (3 hours)
HPAM 8760 – Law and Ethics for Public Health Practitioners (3 hours)
HPAM 8850 – Economic Evaluation Methods in Health (3 hours)
HPAM 8700 – Management of Healthcare Organizations (3 hours)
HPAM 9100 – Doctor of Public Health Seminar I (3 hours)
HPAM 8450 – Policy Evaluation in Public Health (3 hours)
HPAM 8410 – Informatics and Analytics in Health (3 hours)
HPAM 9200 – Doctor of Public Health Seminar II (3 hours)
HPAM 8300 – Research Methods (3 hours)
HPAM 8800 – Leadership in Public Health (3 hours)
PBHL 9560– Public Health Residency (1-6 hours)
*Optional Electives (3 hours)
Elective* and/or HPAM 9300 - Doctoral Research
Elective* (3 hours) and/or HPAM 9300- Doctoral Research
HPAM 9300 – Doctoral Research(1-12 hrs)
*Total credit hours for electives: 12 (up to 9 credit hours can be transferred). Students can choose to take elective courses starting from the spring semester of Year 1 or later but the total number of credits must satisfy program requirements. A minimum of four electives are required.
DrPH Foundational Competencies
The DrPH is the professional doctoral degree in public health, designed to produce transformative academic and practice leaders with expertise in evidence-based public health practice and research. These individuals are able to convene diverse partners; communicate to effect change across a range of sectors and settings; synthesize and translate findings; and generate practice-based evidence that advance programs, policies, services and/or systems addressing population health. The DrPH competencies defined by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) are:
Data & Analysis
- Explain qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods and policy analysis research and evaluation methods to address health issues at multiple (individual, group, organization, community and population) levels
- Design a qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, policy analysis or evaluation project to address a public health issue
- Explain the use and limitations of surveillance systems and national surveys in assessing, monitoring and evaluating policies and programs and to address a population’s health
Leadership, Management & Governance
- Propose strategies for health improvement and elimination of health inequities by organizing stakeholders, including researchers, practitioners, community leaders and other partners
- Communicate public health science to diverse stakeholders, including individuals at all levels of health literacy, for purposes of influencing behavior and policies
- Integrate knowledge, approaches, methods, values and potential contributions from multiple professions and systems in addressing public health problems
- Create a strategic plan
- Facilitate shared decision making through negotiation and consensus-building methods
- Create organizational change strategies
- Propose strategies to promote inclusion and equity within public health programs, policies and systems
- Assess one’s own strengths and weaknesses in leadership capacities, including cultural proficiency
- Propose human, fiscal and other resources to achieve a strategic goal
- Cultivate new resources and revenue streams to achieve a strategic goal
Policy & Programs
- Design a system-level intervention to address a public health issue
- Integrate knowledge of cultural values and practices in the design of public health policies and programs
- Integrate scientific information, legal and regulatory approaches, ethical frameworks and varied stakeholder interests in policy development and analysis
- Propose interpersonal team approaches to improving public health
Education & Workforce Development
- Assess an audience’s knowledge and learning needs
- Deliver training or educational experiences that promote learning in academic, organizational or community settings
- Use best practice modalities in pedagogical practices
Applied Practice Experience
As a DrPH student, you will be required to complete an Applied Practice Experience (APE). The office of the Practice Coordinator at the College of Public Health has agreements with many exciting sites. These sites reflect the current Public Health job market and include agencies such as Georgia Department of Public Health and District Health offices, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, American Red Cross, local hospitals and non-profits. New agreements can be coordinated upon request.
The following is a timeline and checklist for field placement along with links to all of the forms you will need. For more detailed information on the Residency process, please refer to your DrPH Applied Practice Experience Student Manual (PDF) (PDF). Read everything carefully; you are responsible for all submissions and deadlines. If you have any questions, please contact CPH Field Placement & Practice Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pre-Field Experience (Begins 2 Semester Before)
- Schedule advisement with Academic Advisor to approve/discuss Field Placement timing.
- Schedule advisement with Practice Coordinator regarding site and MOU information and approval. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with your placement site is required for it to count toward your degree. The Practice Coordinator will be able to tell you if the site you are interested in has a current MOU. New MOUs can be initiated, but it can take up to 8 weeks to have one fully executed. (No new MOUs will be initiated after the mid point of the semester before you are to enter into the field placement.)
- Contact and schedule Interview with site and acceptance into placement.
- Discuss projects and activities with Site Supervisor/Preceptor. Check with site supervisor about any IRB approval needed.
- DrPH Applied Practice Experience Approval and Proposal Form completed with all signatures and sent to Practice coordinator (as PDF by email) DUE BY MID-TERM OF SEMESTER BEFORE GOING INTO INTERNSHIP.
- Applied Practice Agreement and the Records Release forms signed and witnessed and sent to Practice Coordinator as a PDF via email along with proposal documents.
- Obtain liability Insurance if applicable. (Refer to the current DrPH Applied Practice Experience Handbook (PDF) (PDF).)
- Communicate with site about HR requirements. (e.g. background checks, paperwork, orientations, badges, parking)
- Register for the 3-hour Residency course (PBHL 9560) in Athena. (You will not be cleared to register unless you have your approval paperwork in and a MOU is in place. NO EXCEPTIONS!)
Field Experience Mid-Term (By Mid-Term Date)
- Check the UGA Registrar Office’s Academic Calendars for important dates (e.g. – Mid-term, last day of class, etc.) Respond to “First of the Semester” check-in email’
- Respond to Mid-term email. Make Mid-term evaluation document availble to Site Supervisor/Preceptor.
- DrPH Mid-term Applied Practice Experience Evaluation completed with Site supervisor and sent to Practice Coordinator and Academic Advisor. (Refer to the current DrPH Applied Practice Experience Handbook (PDF) (PDF).)
End of Semester (Due Last Day of Class)
- Complete DrPH Preceptor Final Evaluation (PDF) (PDF) with Site Supervisor and email to Practice Coordinator AND Academic Advisor.
- DrPH Final Applied Practice Experience Report completed using template and sent electronically to Practice Coordinator AND Academic Advisor MPH Final Report DrPH Final Report
- Field Placement Experience Survey completed. This will be sent to you via Qualtrics Link.
Click here for tuition rates per program.
Fall Admission Deadline: January 31st
Applicants who submit all applications and supporting materials by this deadline will be notified in February of their status in the program. *This notification will follow scheduled interviews to occur late February and the month of March. An invitation and completion of an interview is mandatory for continued consideration of admission.
*Prior to the deadlines, you must have both applications completed, VERIFIED, and all supporting materials must be received by the College.
**Admissions offices recommend submitting all materials as soon as possible since applications can take 3 to 4 weeks to be processed.
- Completed SOPHAS application and fee
- Official academic transcripts from every institution attended sent directly to SOPHAS.
- International applicants: Only World Education Services (WES) evaluations of international coursework are accepted for inclusion in your SOPHAS application. Any WES-evaluated coursework cleared through SOPHAS will be reviewed once both application steps are fully completed. For specific details, please refer to www.wes.org/sophas.
- Statement of purpose and degree objectives
- Three letters of recommendation are required from individuals familiar with the applicant’s
academic achievements, aspirations, personal qualities, and professional attributes.
- Persons writing letters should typically be current or former supervisors or professors.
- Recommendations must be specific to the University of Georgia application, written in English, placed on official letterhead, signed and dated within six months prior to date submitted.
- GRE scores are no longer required. (If you wish to submit, ETS Code is 5813)
- Supplemental Fee to UGA Graduate School (This fee can be processed HERE)
- Personal interview
International Applicants only – additional information needed by the UGA Graduate
(please click here for more detailed information)
- Official TOEFL or IELTS scores sent by testing agency to “University of Georgia”
- World Education Services (WES): You must provide any WES evaluations as part of your SOPHAS application.
- Certificate of Finances (COF) form
- Visa Information
Invitations are extended to selected applicants to an in-person Interview Day following initial review of applications. This series of Interview Days are scheduled in late February and the month of March.
NOTE: In order to proceed with admissions consideration for the Doctor of Public Health, an invitation MUST be extended by the program and the invited candidate must fully participate in the events during Interview Day. Appropriate accommodations can be made when the selected candidate has extenuating circumstances which may prevent their attendance.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is a Dr.P.H. different from a Ph.D.?
It is important to differentiate a Ph.D. from a Dr.P.H. program.
The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is an advanced degree in research training, theory and methodology. The program stresses knowledge and competency in statistical methods and research design. Recipients of this degree have a comprehensive understanding of research methods and the application of these methods. Usually PhD programs emphasize the utilization of experimental and quasi-experimental research designs. Such training prepares Ph.D. graduates for academic and related professions that involve teaching and research. Universities, other academic institutions, or organizations conducting research generally employ these graduates.
This program focuses on a “professional” Dr.P.H. degree targeted toward administrators and practitioners who have three or more years of professional experience beyond the M.P.H. degree. As an advanced professional degree emphasizing methods, applications, and applied research, the Dr.P.H. links theory to practice. Its graduates solve significant public health issues using innovative methods and new knowledge. Prospective careers include high-level administration, teaching, policy-making, applied research, or program evaluation positions in which graduates will utilize the advanced analysis, critical evaluation, and problem-solving skills at the core of the Dr.P.H. program.
Where are courses taught?
All required courses are taught on University of Georgia Gwinnet Campus in Lawrenceville, GA.
How long will it take to complete the program?
The Dr.P.H. program operates on a Fall, Spring and Summer schedule that allows for completion of the degree in four years. The program may be accelerated with the addition of one elective to Fall and Spring semester schedules of Year 1 and 2, but electives will be limited.
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