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Graduate Catalog 2016/2017

Public Health (DPH)

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Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)
CIP Code: 51.2201
College of Public Health (PH)
Total Minimum Program Hours Required (Post Bachelor's Degree): 90
Total Minimum Program Hours Required (Post Masters Degree): 48

Contact Information:
College of Public Health
Public Health Department (DEA)
4202 E. Fowler Avenue MDC56
Tampa FL  33620

Program Director or Coordinator:
Kamala Dontamsetti
Phone: 813-974-6505


Faculty Search: Public Health Faculty List

Program Information

The Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) emphasizes advanced public health education and training designed to prepare individuals for leadership roles in practice-based settings such as health department, non-profit organizations, health service. International agencies, and community-based organizations. Accordingly, the emphasis of the Dr.P.H. is placed on fostering advanced expertise in developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-informed public health practice as compared to the Ph.D. whereby the emphasis is on research.

Dr.P.H. training comprises the following curricular domains: Advocacy and Leadership, Communication, Community and Cultural Orientation, Critical Analysis, Management, and Professional and Ethics. Subsequently, the Dr.P.H. student is expected to collaborate with senior public health practitioners through a practice-based specialized study. Furthermore, it is required the Dr.P.H. Students complete a dissertation that addresses, generates, interprets and/or evaluates knowledge applicable to public health practice. Additional descriptions of department specific details are available on departmental websites.

The Dr.P.H. Will require 90 semester hours beyond the baccalaureate degree. Candidates MUST have an MPH or MSPH degree prior to admission, therefore the actual additional requires required for the Dr.P.H. beyond the master's level will average 45-50 semester hours, depending upon the program designed by the student and his or her committee. Per University guidelines, all requirements for the doctoral degree must be completed within seven calendar years from the student's date of admission for doctoral study. Students have four years to complete all required coursework, pass the qualifying examination, and be admitted to doctoral candidacy. Students then have three years from the date of doctoral candidacy to complete degree requirements.

The mission of the Doctor of Public Health is to prepare practitioners for leadership and advocacy in public health practice through a scientific, interdisciplinary approach to understanding and solving public health problems in the public and private sectors, the United States, and worldwide. This mission relates directly to the University of South Florida's mission which includes creating a community of learners together with significant and sustainable university-community partnerships and collaborations; and designing, strengthening and building sustainable healthy communities and improving quality of life.

Areas of Study
The DrPh degree has no concentrations, but students may focus on the following areas:

  • Community and Family Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Epidemiology/Biostatistics
  • Global Health
  • Health Policy and Administration

Mode of Delivery
The USF College of Public Health Dr.P.H. degree is completed through distance-learning (fall and spring semesters) in addition to on-campus learning via the 1-week Dr.P.H. Summer Institute. The combination of program delivery formats allow the working professionals to broaden their grasp of public health management, practice, and research without interrupting careers.


Accreditation Information:

Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools. The College is fully accredited by the Council on Education in Public Health and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.


Admissions Information

Admission Deadlines

There is an established University deadline for the submission of admission application materials. Programs may have earlier deadlines than the University deadline. The deadlines reflected below are the earliest of the two deadlines. Graduate Programs may continue to accept and process applications after the published deadline if space exists within the program. Check with the Program for availability.

Application Deadline (domestic application)

Fall: November 15
Spring: ---
Summer: ---

International Students

Foreign applicants who are outside the U.S. are required to apply for a visa. Depending on the country of origin, this may take a few months. So the deadlines for these international applicants may be earlier than the Program deadline and these applicants must apply prior to both deadlines. They are strongly encouraged to apply as early as possible. Foreign applicants who are in the U.S. and are currently on a visa may use the domestic application deadline dates. In addition to meeting the published application deadline for the Program of interest, all immigration documents should be submitted as soon as possible, but must be on file at USF no later than the following processing deadlines:

Fall: February 15
Spring: ---
Summer: ---

Admission Requirements

You must comply with general University policies and meet general University Admission requirements in addition to those listed below.

Must meet University requirements (see Graduate Admissions) as well as requirements listed below.

Program Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the University requirements for admissions (see section 4 of the Graduate Catalog), applications to the DrPh program must meet the following minimum criteria in order to be considered for admission. However, the meeting of these criteria per se, shall not be the only basis for admission.

  • Applicants must have an M.P.H., M.H.A. and a minimum of two years work experience in public health, a closely related field or as a health professional. Those who hold other graduate degrees will be considered, but as a pre-requisite to the DrPh program of study, they must complete all five public health core courses.
  • Eligibility requirements regarding GPA and standardized test scores will be identical to the college's Ph.D. program which is 3.0 GPA AND at least 53rd percentile on the verbal section of the GRE and 39th percentile on the quantitative section.
  • Minimum MCAT scores required is a mean of 8
  • Basic computer competency is expected.

Applicants must identify a discipline-specific interest area and have a faculty sponsor from the discipline who agrees to serve as the major professor. The admissions decision is made by the faculty sponsor's department.

Required Application Documentation
Aplicants to the DrPh degree are required to complete both a SOPHAS application and a USF Graduate School application. Required Documentation (all items are required regardless of GPA or GRE scores):

  • Completed USF Graduate School application, and
  • Completed SOPHAS application (requires the following):
    • Transcripts
    • GRE taken within five years preceding application or equivalent scores
    • Minimum of three letters of Recommendation
    • Detailed personal statement of less than five pages that descirbes why you wish to obtain a DrPh degree in Public Health
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
    • Applicants whose native language is not English or who have not earned a degree in the United States must also submit TOEFL scores earned within two (2) years of the desired term of entry. A minimum total of 79 on the internet-based test, 213 on the computer-based test, or 550 on the paper-based test are requried. Applications submitted with TOEFL scores that do not meet the minimum requirements will be denied with no exceptions. (Section 6.2 Admissions Tests Information for more information)

Admission Procedures:
All Dr.Ph. applications are reviewed by the College of Public Health Inter-departmental Dr.Ph. Admissions and Advisory Committee. The Dr.Ph. Admissions and Advisory Committee will review the entire application package and consider the overall balance of each applicant's qualifications and the fit between the applicant's career goals and the academic program.

Admissions Status: Apply


Program Degree Requirements




Prerequisite Public Health Courses


Biostatistics I
Principles of Health Policy and Management
Environmental and Occupational Health
Social and Behavioral Sciences Applied to Health



CORE REQUIREMENTS (43 Hours Minimum)


Cluster 1: Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Engagement (22 credit hours)
Domain: Advocacy
PHC 6120 Community Partnerships and Advocacy
PHC 7932 Practical Applications I: policy and Public Health
Domain: Leadership
PHC 7103 Transforming Public Health Practice
PHC 7149 Practical Applicants II: Public Health Leadership
Domain: Communication
PHC 7934 Writing for Scholarly Publication
PHC 7937 Advanced Seminar in Grant Writing
PHC 7317 Risk Communication in Public Health
Domain: Community/Cultural Orientation
PHC 6462 Cultural Competency in Public Health Practice
PHC 6411 Introduction to Social Marketing

Cluster 2: Management and Ethics(12 credit hours)
Domain: Management
PHC 6104 Management of Public Health Programs (or)
PHC 6146 Health Services Planning and Evaluation (or)
PHC 6148 Strategic Planning and Healthcare Marketing

PHC 6181 Organizational Behavior in Health Services

Domain: Professionalism and Ethics
PHC 6412 Health Disparities, Diversity and Cultural Competence (or)
PHC 6442 Global Health Applications in the Field

PHC 6421 Public Health Ethics

Cluster 3: Evidence-informed Public Health(9 credit hours)
Domain: Critical Analysis
PHC 6063 Public Health Information and Decision Making (or)
PHC 6761 Global Health Assessment Strategies
PHC 7154 Evidence-Informed Public Health: Part 1
PHC 7156 Evidence-informed Public Health II

Culminating Requirements (18 credit hours)

  • Practice-based field study (9 credit hours, see description below);
  • Written qualifying exam
  • Practice-Based Dissertation 9 credit hours of PHC 7980 Dissertation)

Practice-based field study: All Dr.Ph. students will engage in a practice-based specialized study for a total of 9 credit hours. This provides an opportunity for in-depth study in a particular area of public health. The practice-based study Is designed to focus on developing and demonstrating strategic policy-making skills and advanced leadership skills in the identified public health discipline. It will be jointly planned by the student, faculty advisor and Field Placement Coordinator. A qualified community-based professional preceptor will mentor the student in the practice setting.

Qualifying Exam:
When all required coursework is satisfactorily completed (including tools of research and prerequisites), the student must pass a written comprehensive qualifying examination covering the subject matter in the major and related fields. Exam questions will be generated by the Dr.Ph. Inter-departmental Admissions and Advisory Committee. The exam will be administered and evaluated by the student's Dr.Ph. Pre-dissertation Committee. Results fo the written exam will be communicated in writing to the student within 15 working days of the examination. If all or part of the exam is failed, the student will have one more opportunity to retake the exam. After successful completion fo the qualifying exam and appropriate paperwork is submitted to and approved by the Graduate School, the student is admitted to candidacy and may register for dissertation hours in the semester following Graduate School approval.

Advising and Mentorship

Faculty Advisor and Practice-based Mentor
Upon admission the Dr.Ph. program of study, the Dr.Ph. Admissions Committee will appoint a Dr.Ph. Faculty Advisor and Dr.Ph. Practice-based mentor to each student. Typically the faculty advisor also serves as the Chair of the dissertation committee. The advisor and the practice-based mentor facilitate the student's doctoral studies by:

  • Meeting with the student to develop a plan of study for doctoral committee approval by the end of the second semester.
  • Monitoring and informing the Pre-dissertation committee of the student's progress.
  • Meeting with the student on a regular basis about academic and research progress and professional and career goals.
  • Coordinating the development, administration, and grading of the qualifying exam.
  • Guiding the student in development and implementation of a quality practice-based study experience.

Pre-Dissertation Committee
All Dr.Ph. students are admitted into the College of Public Health Dr.Ph. will be assigned a faculty advisor (see above) and a Dr.PH. practice-based Mentor who will work with the student in forming a pre-dissertation committee. The roles of the pre-dissertation committee are as follows:

  • Meet with the student to discuss plan of study, practice-base specialized study, and academic progress. The Program of Study should include proposed time schedule to complete each course, and copies shall be given to each committee member and to the Office of Academic and Student Affairs.
  • Facilitate opportunities for strengthening leadership and management skills, applied research skills and scholarly growth.
  • Administer and evaluate the qualifying exam.

Dissertation Committee
Successful completion of the preliminary examination advances the doctoral student to a doctoral candidate. At that time, the student will convene a Dr.Ph. Dissertation Committee. The Pre-Dissertation Committee may continue to serve as the Dissertation Committee, although this not necessary. At this time, the student may desire to change Faculty Advisor and/or committee members. This may occur when practice, professional or research interests are more closely matched with another faculty member, the student and faculty member mutually agree that another person is more appropriate, or a faculty member is leaving the University. This action is to be approved by the Department Chair, the Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, and the Graduate School.

The Dissertation Committee must have a minimum of four members, which includes at least two faculty members from the College of Public Health and a public health professional or practitioner. Refer to Graduate School guidelines for information on the chair appointed for the dissertation defense. A minimum of 9 dissertation credits is required.

The roles of the dissertation committee are as follows:

  • Guide student throughout practice-based dissertation.
  • Approve written dissertation proposal through a formal oral presentation process.
  • Provide guidance and support during dissertation
  • Evaluate dissertation through dissertation defense process.
  • Recommend an appropriate chair for the dissertation defense.

Use of "c" in Degree Acronyms for Degree Candidates
The College of Public Health does not permit students who are pursuing masters or doctoral degrees to use the degree acronym after their names and a small "c" for candidate. In order words students are not permitted to use MPHc, MSPHc, MHA, PhDc, or DrPHc. If students, after successfully completing all comprehensive exams (core and concentration) for the master degrees or the qualifying exam for the doctoral degree wish to put after their name the words "master degree candidate" or "doctoral degree candidate*" we allow this The use of the degree acronym and small "c" creates confusion for faculty, employers, and other individuals who are reviewing students' CVS and other materials. It creates a situation wherein a student appears to have earned a degree when such is not the case. As a degree-granting College, we do not allow this.




Dissertation: Doctoral


All students must follow the University's Guidelines for Dissertations and Theses.



Tools of Research
Departmental Guidelines will address whether tools of research are required for doctoral students within that department (consistency within the department required). The student must complete a minimum of two of the "Tools of Research" options designated by the department, and approved by the doctoral committee before the student is eligible to take the doctoral qualifying examination.

Written qualifying exam and Practice-Based Dissertation (requires 9 credit hours of PHC 7908 Specialized Study, which encompasses a field placement, and 9 credit hours of PHC7980 Dissertation).

All doctoral students will demonstrate or document proficiency in teaching academic courses at the university level.

Qualifying Exam
When all required coursework is satisfactorily completed (including tools of research and prerequisites), the student must pass a written comprehensive qualifying examination covering the subject matter in the major and related fields.

Doctoral Committee
A student's doctoral committee must have a minimum of four members, which includes at least two faculty members from the sponsoring department and a public health professional or practitioner.

All students must follow the University's “Guidelines for Dissertations and Theses.”

Graduation Requirements
Students must be in good academic standing to graduate (minimum of an overall 3.00 GPA) and have completed all required and elective coursework, including successful defense of their doctoral dissertation and completion of the teaching requirement.






College Degree Requirements

Refer to the College Section of theGraduate Catalog for College requirements and information.


USF Degree Requirements

See USF Degree Requirements —


Financial Assistance

Financial Aid

Fellowships & Scholarships

Graduate Assistantships


Registration Process

First, contact your graduate program advisor for guidance courses to register for. Obtain any electronic course permit if necessary. Register for the new student orientation online at Then go to the link to OASIS, USF's on-line registration system to register for your classes. Follow the directions given on-line.

To access online course materials, students must have a USF NetID (e-mail account). Please visit: to obtain your NetID.

New students, including those studying online, may obtain a USFCard. Please visit: to obtain your USFCard.

Tuition and fees: Fees are determined by the level of the course. Please visit Cash Accounting, Controller's Office, for information on tuition and fees.


Graduate Course Information

Use the list below to lookup graduate courses related to this program in the USF Course Inventory:

PHC6000, PHC6050, PHC6102, PHC6357, PHC6410, PHC6051, PHC6010, PHC6011, PHC7001, PHC7980,