Sep 29, 2023  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 

Doctor of Philosophy - Public Health

Plan Description

The School of Public Health (SPH) is pleased to offer a doctoral program (Ph.D.) in Public Health.

Students with an MPH must complete 54 credits beyond the Master of Public Health (MPH). Students with a master’s degree in a related field must complete 54 credits beyond the master’s degree and up to an additional 15 credits of deficiency.

Educational Objectives

The Ph.D. – Public Health is designed to prepare students for careers in which advanced analytical and conceptual capabilities are required, such as university teaching, research, consulting, policy development or other high-level positions.

This program is competitive and space is limited. More students will apply than will be admitted. The most competitive students will have a strong academic record and a clear plan for their proposed research.

Completion of the Ph.D. demonstrates that the graduate has the advanced research skills and competencies necessary to succeed in high-level research careers.

Upon admission, each student will be assigned an academic (not dissertation) advisor who will help the student begin planning a program of study. Students are expected to identify a dissertation committee before the end of their second semester in the program.

For more information about your program, including your graduate program handbook and learning outcomes, please visit the Degree Directory.

Plan Admission Requirements

Application deadlines

Applications available on the UNLV Graduate College website.

Admission into the Public Health Ph.D. Program at UNLV will require applicants to meet the standard criteria of the UNLV Graduate College, applicable to all graduate students, both domestic and international, and contingent upon the qualifications of the applicant and the availability of openings for new students. Doctoral students are admitted as a cohort, once a year, for the fall semester. Applicants must have submitted all required materials by the deadline for admission in the following fall semester. Students will be admitted directly into the doctoral program, and all admissions will require the final approval of the Dean of the UNLV Graduate College. In addition to the generic requirements of the UNLV Graduate College, applicants will be expected to meet the following criteria:

  1. Earned a bachelor’s and Master’s of Public Health (MPH) or a master’s degree in an appropriate field from an accredited university. Applicants educated outside of the United States will need to demonstrate proof of equivalent education and advanced degrees.
  2. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (4.0=A) earned in a masters’ program of study. The most competitive students will have a master’s level GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  3. Applicants must present competitive Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores on verbal, quantitative and analytical measures. GRE scores will be assessed relative to other applicants in the pool, as well as relative to other graduate programs at UNLV. The exam must have been taken with the institutions’ graduate school/college requirements. The most competitive students will have a combined verbal/quantitative GRE score of 1200 (old test) /300 (new test) or higher. The GRE is required for all applicants. 
  4. Letters of Recommendation- Three (3) letters of recommendation are required from faculty and other individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s motivation, academic capability, scholarship potential, and personal goals for doctoral study.
  5. Written Self-Presentation- Applicants must submit for review a written statement of personal career, educational and scholarship goals including identification of research interests. The most competitive students will clearly identify their plan for dissertation research and its contribution to the field of public health.
  6. A current CV or resume must be submitted.
  7. Interview-Applicants may be asked to participate in an interview with member(s) of the Admissions Committee, either in person or by telephone. Applicants may also be asked to submit a writing sample.
  8. Applicants must identify an Area of Emphasis (subplan) at the time of application.
  9. All students are required to take or have taken at the Master’s level the following 15 credit hours or their approved equivalent:
  • EOH 740 - Fundamentals of Environmental Health or HED 705 - Theoretical Foundations in Health Promotion 
  • EAB 703 - Biostatistical Methods for the Health Sciences 
  • EAB 705 - Epidemiology and Public Health 
  • HCA 701 - U.S. Health Care System: Programs and Policies 
  • HED 720 - Program Planning and Grant Writing in Health Promotion    

All domestic and international applicants must review and follow the Graduate College Admission and Registration Requirements.

Students are accepted into a degree program as described in the Graduate Catalog. The faculty and corresponding sub-disciplines and sub-plans within the described programs are subject to change at any time.

Subplan 1 Requirements: Global and Environmental Health Track

Total Credits Required: 54

Course Requirements

Prospectus/Dissertation – Credits: 15

Prior to advancing to candidacy, students will take 3 credits of dissertation prospectus. Once advanced to candidacy, students will enroll in 12 dissertation credits.

Subplan 2 Requirements: Social Behavioral Health Track

Total Credits Required: 54

Course Requirements

Subplan 3 Requirements: Epidemiology and Biostatistics Track

Total Credits Required: 54

Course Requirements

Elective Courses – Credits: 9

Complete an additional 9 credits of advisor-approved coursework from either the Epidemiology or the Biostatistics courses above.

Prospectus/Dissertation – Credits: 15

Prior to advancing to candidacy, students will take 3 credits of dissertation prospectus. Once advanced to candidacy, students will enroll in 12 dissertation credits.

Subplan 4 Requirements: Health Service Management and Policy Track

Total Credits Required: 54

Plan Degree Requirements

  1. A grade point average of at least a 3.0 must be maintained in all courses required for the degree; no grade less than a B in any course is acceptable for curricular completion of the program.
  2. All students are required to complete a written Comprehensive Examination upon completion of the core courses of the program. The examination is designed to assess the student’s ability to synthesize knowledge, as demonstrated by the selection and integration of information from several doctoral courses and is evaluated by written discussion in response to examination questions. The Comprehensive Examination may only be repeated once, and must be repeated within one semester of the initial attempt. Students unable to pass the Comprehensive Examination after a second attempt may be separated from the program.
  3. After successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam the student must establish a Dissertation committee. The committee will include at minimum a Chairperson with expertise in the student’s Area of Emphasis, two additional committee members from the School of Public Health Sciences, and a Graduate College Representative. Students may also elect to add approved, external committee member with expertise in the student’s selected area of emphasis.
  4. Upon completion of all required course work other than dissertation, each student must take the Oral Qualifying Examination that will focus on those areas of knowledge most relevant to the student’s dissertation topic. The Oral Qualifying examination may only be repeated once, and must be repeated within one semester of the initial attempt. If a student fails a second attempt, the student may be separated from the program.
  5. Upon successful completion of both the Written Comprehensive and Oral Qualifying examinations, the student will present a dissertation prospectus to his/her committee and an oral presentation to peers and faculty. The prospectus is a written presentation of the student’s dissertation research plan. The oral presentation is a public presentation of the research plan. The prospectus becomes the agreement for the student’s dissertation research. Upon approval of the prospectus, the student advances to candidacy, can register for dissertation credits, and begin their independent research.
  6. Upon completion of the dissertation, the student must pass a final oral examination that involves the public presentation and successful defense of their dissertation study. All advisory committee members must be present for the final defense and may question the student following presentation of the study. The defense will be scheduled and conducted in accordance with the Graduate College/ School’s policies for dissertation completion. It is the student’s responsibility to file all required forms and written materials with the Graduate College in a timely manner.

Plan Graduation Requirements

  1. The student must submit all required forms to the Graduate College and then apply for graduation up to two semesters prior to completing his/her degree requirements.
  2. The student must submit and successfully defend his/her dissertation by the posted deadline. The defense must be advertised and is open to the public.
  3. Student must submit his/her approved, properly formatted dissertation to the Graduate College, and submit the approved electronic version to ProQuest by the posted deadline.