PhD in Public Health Sciences Curriculum

The curriculum at the Brown School emphasizes substantive, theoretical and methodological preparation and requires 74 units of credit, 21 of which can be transferred from your MPH or other master’s program. (Graduates of allied fields will have their transcripts evaluated on an individual basis for transfer credits.)

The remaining 53 units of coursework are typically spread over four semesters, or two academic years, leaving approximately two years for work related to your dissertation. See the student handbook for more information.

The first year of study includes basic principles in research, statistics and measurement, as well as theoretical coursework and content fortifying your public health knowledge base.

The second year offers a more individualized program of study. A curriculum plan is developed by each student and advisor(s), focusing on an area of specialization. Advanced courses in research methodology, as well as research and teaching practica help build expertise as a public health scholar. Professional competence is assessed through a qualifying examination and successful completion of a research dissertation that follows either a traditional or a three-paper thesis model. In addition, the curriculum includes opportunities to get training in a variety of professional and research skills (e.g., data management, analytic software, grant writing and research ethics).

Graduation Requirements

  • Previously obtained master’s degree
  • 74 credit hours (can include 21 master’s-level credits from relevant degree)
  • Two years of full-time doctoral coursework
  • Three teaching practica for course credit
  • Three research practica for course credit
  • Completion of an area of specialization statement and qualifying exam
  • Dissertation and oral defense

Course Requirements

Core doctoral seminar series

  • Introduction to advanced research
  • Conceptual foundations of social science research
  • Theoretical orientations in public health sciences

Core data analysis sequence

  • Applied linear regression analysis
  • Generalized linear models

Other courses available to public health sciences doctoral students

  • Network analysis
  • System dynamics
  • Multilevel and longitudinal modeling
  • Survival analysis
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Propensity score analysis
  • Qualitative research methods
  • Introduction to social measurement
  • Social policy research and analysis
  • Health economics
  • Advanced health policy methods
  • Issues and directions in intervention research
  • Translational research methods in public health
  • Data management
  • Statistical software: R
  • Statistical software: Stata
  • Statistical software: SAS
  • GIS and spatial mapping
  • Manuscript development
  • Conducting systematic reviews
  • Grantwriting
  • Substantive and methodological electives taken from other schools and departments at Washington University