Doctor of Public Health
The Doctor of Public Health (abbr. DrPH or DPH; Latin Publica Sanitas Doctor) is a doctoral degree awarded in the field of Public Health. DrPH is the highest, and terminal, professional degree in the field of public health. It prepares its recipients for a leadership career in advanced public health practice and administration. Some of the DrPH holders also pursue academia including teaching and research. DrPH holders often occupy executive leadership roles in private and public sectors along with, non-profit and international health entities such as the WHO.
Comparison with Ph.D.
A DrPH is a leadership-centered, interdisciplinary degree that equips its holders with the skill set necessary for public health practice as opposed to a Ph.D. which is purely a research-based degree only focusing on one topic within a certain field. The DrPH degree is categorized as a terminal professional degree on a par with, a Ph.D., doctor of education, doctor of social work, doctor of medicine, doctor of business administration, and doctor of psychology degrees.
Admission Requirements Difference
Admission into a DrPH program requires a master of public health degree as a prerequisite. Furthermore, a DrPH requires several years of public health leadership and practice experience (generally, 5 years or more) for an admission. One may enter a Ph.D. or ScD program after completing a bachelor (undergrad) degree with no experience or advanced academic training.
Career Outcomes Training Difference
DrPH: Leadership and public health practice, applied research, and academia to a lesser extent. Ph.D.: Research and academia.
Typical Program Structure
Advanced Integrative Coursework
A typical accredited DrPH program requires roughly a two-year long intensive multidisciplinary coursework in advanced research methodology - similar to a Ph.D. Additionally, as a distinction and addition to a Ph.D., DrPH students also take advanced courses to gain analytical skills in leadership, management, systems thinking, communications, and health policy.
Public Health Residency (Public Health Leadership Practice Experience)
DrPH students are also required to complete a public health practice experience as a critical part of their DrPH program. Students apply the skills learned in public health practice to gain leadership experience and hone their skills through hands-on experience.
Exams: Comprehensive and Qualifying Exams
Most universities require a rigorous comprehensive exam at the end of first two-years of coursework and public health residency before a candidate may be advanced to the dissertation phase. Some DrPH programs, such as the Tufts University, require a Qualifying Exam - taken at the end of the first year -, along with the comprehensive exam, taken at the end of the second year.
DrPH students are required to complete and defend an applied public health practice-related dissertation during their candidacy phase, usually after the comprehensive exams, in order to complete the program.
DrPH Completion Time
The average time to complete a DrPH is roughly 4-7 years.
Universities Offering DrPH Degrees
Some of the universities offering DrPH in the USA are listed below.
- Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
- Tufts University School of Medicine (Tufts Public Health)
- Boston University School of Public Health
- Drexel University School of Public Health
- Florida A & M University Institute of Public Health
- The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services
- University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
- City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center
- Claremont Graduate University School of Community & Global Health
- Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
- Harvard School of Public Health
- University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center School of Public Health
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
- University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Los Angeles School of Public Health
- University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Public Health
- New York Medical College School of Public Health
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health
- University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, School of Public Health
- University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health
- University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
- University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health
- University of Georgia College of Public Health
- University of South Florida College of Public Health
- Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
- University at Albany, SUNY School of Public Health
- Loma Linda University School of Public Health
- University of Kentucky's College of Public Health
- University of Iowa College of Public Health
- East Tennessee State University College of Public Health
- University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health
- Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health
- SUNY Downstate Medical Center
- Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy
- Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health
- Georgia State University School of Public Health
- Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya
- School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Center
- College of Public Health, University of the Philippines Manila
- Department of Public Health Nursing, Faculty of Public health, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand
- Department of Public Health, Faculty of Public health, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand
- James Cook University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
- LaTrobe University School of Public Health.
- University of Wollongong School of Health Science.
- University of New South Wales School of Public Health and Medicine (Future Health Leaders Program).
- Monash University School of Public Health.
- Flinders University School of Public Health.
- Curtin University.
Notable Holders of the DrPH Degree
Sara Josephine Baker - American physician notable for making contributions to public health, especially in the immigrant communities of New York City.
Cheryl Healton - Dean of the College of Global Public Health at New York University.
Mary Pittman - President and chief executive officer of the Public Health Institute in Oakland, California.
Barbara Rimer - Dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health.
- "A REVIEW OF THE STATUS OF THE DOCTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH DEGREE AND IDENTIFICATION OF FUTURE ISSUES". Public Health Rep. 2009. PMC 2602921