Feb 06, 2023  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 

Public Health Ph.D.

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The Schools of Community Health Sciences (SCHS) at UNLV and UNR are pleased to offer a collaborative doctoral program (Ph.D.) in Public Health. The collaboration between the two schools represents a unique, statewide approach to public health training and research, drawing on complementary expertise and opportunities at both universities to create a high-quality academic program that maximizes resources and flexibility.

Educational Objectives

The Ph.D. in 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.

The curriculum was developed jointly by faculty from the Schools of Public Health at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with input from representatives of academia and the public health community. The curriculum provides a comprehensive and interdisciplinary examination of topics and experiences necessary to produce graduates who are ready to secure employment in the public health arena.

Students in the program are admitted to either UNLV or UNR and follow the course requirements from their home institution. Courses may be taken at either institution. A Chair from the admitting institution supervises and the dissertation but the doctoral committee may include members from either or both institutions.

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.

Admission Requirements-UNLV

Admission into the Public Health PhD 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 April 1 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. Demonstrated oral and written language competency-Applicants from countries where English is not the native language, or who do not receive a degree from an institution where English is the language of instruction must show competency in English, meeting the Graduate College or Graduate School requirements: “a minimum score of 550 on the written or 213 on the computerized Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or 85 on the Michigan Test”
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  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 (sub plan) at the time of application.

Degree Requirements


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


All students are required to successfully complete coursework that provides a public health foundation, and an Area of Emphasis in one of the four public health disciplines, and a minimum of 18 dissertation credits. Students with an MPH from the UNLV SCHS must complete 48 credits beyond the Master of Public Health (MPH). Students with an MPH from another institution must complete 54 credits beyond the masters. Students with a masters degree in a related field must complete 63 credits beyond the Master’s degree.

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.


Required Core Courses:

All students are required to take or have taken at the Master’s level the following 27 credit hours or their approved equivalent:

UNLV Courses


UNR Courses

PUBH 725 - Health and the Environment
  PUBH 780 - Biostatistics in Public Health
  PUBH 701 - Social and Behavioral Health
  PUBH 620 - Biological Basis of Health & Disease
  PUBH 712 - Epidemiology in Public Health
  PUBH 755 - Policy and Health Administration
EOH 704 - Ethics in Public Health PUBH 785 - Public Health Ethics

All doctoral students will take 6 hours of Seminar. Seminars are from 1 to 3 credits, offered every semester, and cover a range of topics in the field.

Areas of Emphasis

In addition to the core courses, students will select 27 credits from a list of SCHS courses in an identified emphasis area in accordance with the advising plan developed with their academic advisor. The 27-credit requirement includes 6 hours of seminar, taken over the course of the program. Seminars are from 1 to 3 credits, offered every semester, and cover a range of topics in the field.

Environmental and Occupational Health

UNLV Courses


UNR Courses

Students will select 5 courses from the below list:

ATMS 612 - Introduction to Air Pollution


CEE 617 - Intro to Env Quality and Analysis


CEE 653 - Environmental Microbiology


CEE 658 - Fundamentals of Env Chemistry

or HE 695 - Toxic Communities and Public Health
  NRES 612 - Environmental Law
  NRES 633 - Env Chemicals: Exp, Trans & Fate
EOH 737 - Public Health Microbiology NRES 672 - Environmental Health and Safety
  NUTR 723 - Food and Nutritional Toxicology
  PCS 603D - Global Environmental Policy
  PUBH 695 - Biochemical and Molec Mech of Toxicity
  PUBH 730 - Biomarkers of Human Disease
  PUBH 735 - Intro to Exposure Assessment and Control

PUBH 753 - Health Informatics

  PUBH 776 - Essentials of Occupational Health
  PUBH 777 - Fundamental of Industrial Hygiene
  PUBH 781 - Env-Occup Health Risk Assessment

Students will also have a research requirement comprised of 3 courses from the list below


AND two of the following:







Social Behavioral Health

Students are required to take the following two classes plus 12 credits of additional committee approved courses.



Student also have a research requirement comprised of 3 courses from the list below

  OR EOH 715 - Qualitative & Field Methods for Public Health 

AND two of the following:






Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Students are required to take the following classes

Epidemiology 2
Chronic Disease Epidemiology –

Students will choose two of the following

Cancer Epidemiology
Epidemiology of Obesity
Social Epidemiology

Student also have a research requirement comprised of 3 courses from the list below

  OR EOH 715 - Qualitative & Field Methods for Public Health 

AND two of the following:







Health Services Management and Policy

Students will select four courses from the list below:


HCA 652 - Health Care Politics and Policy








Student also have a research requirement comprised of 4 courses from the list below



plus two classes from the following list









Additionally, all candidates will complete a minimum of 21 dissertation credit hours or 18 dissertation credit hours plus 3 credit hours of Prospectus as specified in the student’s advising plan.

Program Completion Requirements

1. Credit Hours and Grade point Average

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. Comprehensive Examination: Test of Core Subject Matter of Program


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 will be separated from the program.


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 Community 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.


3. Qualifying Examination

Upon completion of all required course work other than dissertation, each student must take oral Qualifying Examination that will focus on those areas of knowledge most relevant to the student’s dissertation topic. Qualifying examinations 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 will be separated from the program.

4. Dissertation Prospectus

Upon successful completion of the Qualifying examination, the student will present a dissertation prospectus to his/her committee and an oral presentation to peers and faculty. The prospectus is a written and oral presentation of the students dissertation research plan. The written prospectus should be the equivalent of the first three chapters of the dissertation. 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.

5. Final Oral Examination

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.


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