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Graduate Catalog 2016/2017

Public Health (PPH)

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
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 base of knowledge for public health comes from a variety of disciplines, ranging from social sciences to biological sciences and business, brought together by a commitment to improve the public's health. Thus, the field of public health is broad and is open to students from diverse academic disciplines including Health Sciences, Education, Engineering, Business, Communications, Mathematics, Social and Natural Sciences. Graduates are prepared for interdisciplinary focused public health professional careers as administrators, managers, educators, researchers, and direct service providers.

The Colleges five departments are: Community and Family Health, Environmental and Occupational Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Global Health, and Health Policy and Management. Core content is directly related to addressing and meeting public health issues.

The College accommodates the working professional as well as the full-time student by offering late afternoon and evening classes, online course delivery, partnerships with international schools to expand options, a variety of graduate certificate programs, and a professional M.P.H. for experienced Health Care professionals.

Major Research Areas:
Faculty major research areas are listed at:

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: February 15
Spring: July 15
Summer: November 15

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: July 15
Summer: November 15

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

Applicants to the doctoral program in Public Health 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.

  • A preferred minimum verbal Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test percentile rank of 53 and quantitative GRE test percentile rank of 39 taken within 5 years preceding the application and a grade point average of 3.0 are needed to be considered. Note: some concentration may prefer higher GRE scores (e.g. Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Health Services Research)
  • A score of 600 or higher on the GMAT for applicants to only the Health Policy and Management Department will be considered.
  • Each applicant must submit evidence of written/analytical skills to the College of Public Health which will take two-forms:
    • A graduate level term paper, thesis, or research paper of which the student is the sole author, publication on which the student is the first author; and
    • A detailed personal statement of less than five pages that describes why the applicant wishes to obtain a Ph.D. degree in Public Health.
  • Applicants seeking consideration to the doctoral program must possess the M.P.H., M.S.P.H., or equivalent. Those who hold other graduate degrees will be considered, but as a prerequisite, they may be required to complete courses as required and approved by their advisory committee.
  • Each applicant must submit at least two formal Letters of Recommendation. The Department of Community and Family Health requires three Letters of Recommendation.
  • In order to be considered for admission to the Ph.D. Program in Public Health, applicants must be fully prepared to register as full-time students for at least one full academic year (consecutive Fall and Spring semesters).

Admissions Status: Apply


Program Degree Requirements

Total Minimum Program Hours:90 hours post-bachelors

The doctoral committee or the department may require prerequisites. These courses are not included in the minimum number of hours a student needs to complete the Ph.D. and are expected to be completed early in the course of study.

Public Health Core Courses - 9 credit hours
PHC 6000 Epidemiology
PHC 6050 Biostatistics I
One (1) of the following*:
PHC 6410 Social and Behavioral Sciences applied to health
PHC 6357 Environmental and Occupational Health
PHC 6102 Principles of Health Policy and Management

*Students should check with their advisor to determine which of these should be taken.

Seminar - 3 credit hours
PHC 7931 (1) Advanced Interdisciplinary Seminar in Public Health
A minimum of three semesters (one credit each semester).

Students select one of the concentrations listed on the following pages and must complete requirements as listed in addition to the general program requirements.

Concentration Coursework 12 credit hours minimum
See individual concentrations for specific requirements.

Additional Coursework - 13 credit hours
A minimum of 13 credits at the 7000 level. The courses and number of credit hours required are defined by the department and the doctoral committee and include coursework from another department or college. Generally, the doctoral degree requires a minimum of 90 credits beyond the bachelor's degree. Departments determine the number of credits accepted from previous master(s) degree. There is a mandatory doctoral student orientation that all new doctoral students must attend in the fall semester of their first academic year.

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.

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 comprehensive qualifying examination covering the subject matter in the major and related fields. The Department will set the specific criteria.

The qualifying exam will comprise of a written portion and may include an oral component. The exam will cover at least three major areas including: a) Broad area of public health; b) Focus area of study; c) Research methods. The student may have no longer than 10 weeks to complete the exam upon receipt of the exam from the Doctoral Supervisory Committee. The format and duration of the qualifying exam is the responsibility of the Doctoral Supervisory Committee following consultation with the student and consistent with departmental, college and university guidelines. The Doctoral Supervisory Committee will have up to three weeks to review the exam and determine the outcome of either Pass or Fail. No more than two attempts will be allowed for the student to take the qualifying exam and earn a Pass. If the student reeives a Fail on the qualifying exam on the first attempt and the Doctoral Supervisory Committee recommends that the student complete remedial work, the second attempt at the qualifying exam must be initation within three- months of completion of remedial work. If the student earns a Fail on the first attempt, and the Commttee dtermines that no remedial work is needed, the student will have a second attempt to pass which must be initiated within three-months. If the student does not earn a Pass on the qualifying exam on his/her second attempt, the student will not be admitted into doctoral candidacy. After successful completion of the qualfying exam and appropraite paperwork is submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies, the student is admitted to candidacy and may register for dissertation hours.

All students must follow the University's "Guidelines for Dissertations and Theses" found at The Dissertation must conform to one of the following two available options per USF degree requirements. For details, consult the USF Graduate Catalog Degree Requirements Section.

Option 1: Traditional format inclusive of Part 1 Perliminary Pages, Part II Text, Part III References/Appendices, Part IV About the Author.

Option 2: Collection of articles/papers instead of chapters inclusive of Part I Preliminary Pages, Part II Collection of Articles/Papers, Part III References/Appendices.

After the Doctoral Dissertation Committee has determined that the final draft of the Dissertation is suitable for presentation, the Committee will request the scheduling and announcement of the Dissertation Defense. Consistent with USF Graduate Degree Requirements, a copy of the announcement should be sent to the USF Office of Graduate Studies and posted in a public forum preferably two weeks in advance of the defense date.

In addition, the Concentration in Biostatistics and the Concentration in Epidemiology have additional format requirements. Consult the Department for information on the format options and requirements for these two concentrations.

Guidelines for student progress:
Each Ph.D. student will undergo an annual review consistent with departmental guidelines. A summary of the annual review will be provided to the student and placed in the students advising file.

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

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