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The Penn State College of Medicine Crescent is seen at 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA. The building is framed by grass below and a bright blue sky with white clouds above. Flagpoles with the American and Pennsylvania flags are visible toward the right.

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Program

DrPH Program Details

The Penn State College of Medicine DrPH curriculum is designed to provide advanced public health education and training.

DrPH students must complete a minimum of 45 credits of coursework plus 15 credits of doctoral research
 and advanced field experience beyond a master’s degree.

  • 24 credits in prescribed, core classroom-based courses
  • 21 credits in elective courses
    • 9 credits of track elective courses
    • 12 credits of general elective courses
  • 15 additional credits
    • 6 credits of advanced field experience
    • 9 credits of integrative doctoral research

Program of Study

DrPH students must meet Penn State doctoral degree requirements, including candidacy examination and English competencies. DrPH students must also meet the following additional DrPH-specific requirements:

  • Advanced Field Experience: Advanced Field Experience bridges professional academic preparation and advanced public health practice. It will incorporate higher-level skills (policy development, epidemiologic analyses, etc.) compared with the MPH practicum experiences. Although not required, students will be encouraged to link their advanced field experiences to their integrative doctoral research project.
  • Comprehensive Examination: Upon completing all core and track elective courses, DrPH students will take their comprehensive exam, which is overseen by faculty in the DrPH program.
  • Integrative Doctoral Research: Students will complete two major components for their DrPH integrative experience: two publishable-quality manuscripts and a doctoral portfolio. Among other requirements, the doctoral portfolio will include a student’s CV and leadership philosophy.

In addition to these topics, each student in the DrPH program works with a DrPH faculty advisor to develop an individualized area of focus, in areas such as, but not limited to, the following:

  • Advanced Leadership
  • Aging Research
  • Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention & Control
  • Economics of Public Health Interventions
  • Evidence-Based Public Health Interventions
  • Global Health
  • Public Health Policy & Law
  • Public Health Preparedness & Emergency Response
  • Regulatory Science
  • Social Marketing and Behavior
  • Women’s Health

DrPH students also complete work in the aforementioned track electives, with 9 credits required within a chosen track.

Track Electives: Health Systems Organization and Policy

  • H ADM 551: Health Care Law
  • HPA 503: Health Services Organization Behavior
  • HPA 545: Introduction to Health Economics
  • P ADM 535: Policy Analysis and Planning
  • P ADM 550: Policy and Program Evaluation
  • P ADM 558: Legislative Processes
  • P ADM 573: Research and Theory in Public Policy and Governance
  • PHS 896: Individual Studies

Track Electives: Community and Behavioral Health

  • CMPSY 500: Theories and Issues in Community Psychology
  • CMPSY 510: Change Processes
  • CN ED 843 (S PSY 843): Prevention Strategies and Programming
  • HLHED 553: Multicultural Health Issues
  • HLHED 552: Current Health Education Issues
  • HLHED 501: World Health Promotion
  • HPA 526: Health Disparities
  • PHP 558: Disaster Psychology
  • PHS 896: Individual Studies

Track Electives: Epidemiology and Biostatistics

  • HPA 523: Managerial Epidemiology
  • HPA 528: Health Data Analysis for Research
  • HPA 540: Epidemiological Applications in Health Services Research
  • PHS 524: Longitudinal Data Analysis
  • PHS 527: Survival Analysis
  • PHS 552: Molecular Epidemiology of Chronic Disease
  • PHS 553: Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • PHS 535: Quality of Care Measurement
  • PHS 582: Biostatistical Methods in Clinical Trials
  • SOC 575: Statistical Modeling for Nonexperimental Research
  • PHS 896: Individual Studies

Sample 4-Year Curriculum Progression

Year 1

Fall

  • PHS 575 Integrative Public Health Leadership
  • PHS 554 Statistical Methods in Public Health I
  • Ethics (Choice) or Track Elective/Focused Plan of Study Elective

Spring

  • PHS 577 Integrative Seminar in Social & Behavioral Determinants of Health
  • PHS 555 Statistical Methods in Public Health II
  • PHS 576 Integrative Seminar in Public Health Policy

Year 2

Fall

  • Track Elective 1 of 3
  • PHS 892 Directed Studies in Public Health
  • ADTED 550 Qualitative Research Methods

Spring

  • Track Elective 2 of 3
  • Advanced Field Experience 1 of 2
  • Candidacy Exam (timing or number of credits may change)

Year 3

Fall

  • Track Elective 3 of 3
  • Focused Study Plan Elective 1 of 4
  • Focused Study Plan Elective 2 of 4

Spring

  • Focused Study Plan Elective 3 of 4
  • Focused Study Plan Elective 4 of 4
  • Advanced Field Experience 2 of 2

Year 4

Fall

  • PHS 896A Integrative Doctoral Research 1 of 2
  • Integrative Doctoral Research Proposal Defense

Spring

  • PHS 896B Integrative Doctoral Research 2 of 2
  • Final Integrative Doctoral Research Defense *

* Degree completion dependent on credits taken and timing of program milestones

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