DrPH Program Details

DrPH Doctor of Public Health Landing Hero with Page Title

The Penn State Nittany Lion statue is seen in the courtyard at Penn State College of Medicine.

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Program

Navigation Menu

DrPH Program Details Header H2 Code

DrPH Program Details

DrPH Program Details Page Intro with CTA

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.

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

DrPH Program Details Basic Article

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.

Penn State DrPH student Nirmal Ahuja, right, is greeted by Robin Taylor Wilson, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Doctor of Public Health Program, left, during the annual Graduate Student Oath Ceremony at the University Conference Center in Hershey. At center is Dr. Tom Spratt.
New students recite an oath during the Graduate Student Oath Ceremony held at the University Conference Center in Hershey.

Example Courses for Each Track

Track Electives: Health Systems Organization and Policy

  • H ADM 551: Health Care Law
  • HPA 503: Health Services Organization Behavior
  • HPA 524: Management of Health Services Organizations
  • 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 571: Seminar in Organizational Theory
  • P ADM 573: Research and Theory in Public Policy and Governance
  • PHS 540: Decision Analysis
  • PHS 573: Advanced Public Health Policy Analysis
  • 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 531: Public Health Perspectives of Women’s Health
  • PHS 574: Advanced Methods in Clinical and Public Health Intervention Design
  • PHS 578: Advanced Integrative Seminar in Public Health Leadership
  • 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
  • HPA 854: Population Health and Quality Management in Health Services Organization (Managerial Epidemiology)
  • NURS 808: Perspectives on Population-Based Health
  • PHS 503: Nutritional Epidemiology
  • PHS 507: Public Health Surveillance
  • PHS 524: Longitudinal Data Analysis
  • PHS 527: Survival Analysis
  • PHS 535: Quality of Care Measurement
  • PHS 552: Molecular Epidemiology of Chronic Disease
  • PHS 553: Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • PHS 556: Cancer Epidemiology
  • PHS 558: Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology
  • PHS 562: Environmental Epidemiology
  • PHS 563: Advanced Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • PHS 582: Biostatistical Methods in Clinical Trials
  • PHS 896: Individual Studies
  • SOC 575: Statistical Modeling for Nonexperimental Research

Sample Four-Year Curriculum Progression


Nested Applications

DrPH Program Details Year 1 Tab Basic Content

Year 1


  • PHS 575 Integrative Public Health Leadership
  • PHS 577 Integrative Seminar in Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health
  • PHS 554 Statistical Methods in Public Health I


  • PHS 576 Integrative Seminar in Public Health Policy
  • PHS 555 Statistical Methods in Public Health II
  • ADTED 550 Qualitative Research Methods
  • Qualifying Examination (timing and number of credits may change)