A doctorate in public health is the highest degree one can earn in the field. The degree is designed for students who have earned a master’s in public health or its equivalent and want to become a leader in the public health field. They have the analytical skills, program management experience and communication skills to drive change and make a difference anywhere across the globe.
Online Doctorate Degrees in Public Health
Any doctorate program is demanding, and even more so if that program is online. Students complete coursework remotely, taking intensive classes on leadership and management in the public health field. Because they don’t have daily face-to-face interaction with professors and peers, students are often expected to participate in class discussions via an online system, such as Blackboard. These interactions help to broaden the students’ knowledge base and also get feedback from others with very different belief systems and perspectives.
Students are expected to approach the requirements from an individual outlook, taking their unique professional background and interests into account as they complete the coursework. A residency is required for a doctorate in public health, which the student completes through a series of field experience segments and a written culminating project.
An online doctorate program in public health requires a great deal of dedication from the student. Self-motivated, driven individuals do well in an online program.
UNC's Gillings School, the No. 1-ranked public school of public health, offers an online Master of Public Health program, MPH@UNC. Earn your MPH in as few as 24 months. Part- and full-time options available. GRE, GMAT or MCAT required.
MPH@Simmons, the online Master of Public Health program from Simmons University, prepares students to become public health practitioners and address health inequity at a local, national, and global level. The program can be completed in 21 months. No GRE required to apply.
Capella University offers online BS, MHA, MPH, DHA and DrPH programs with specializations in health leadership, informatics, operations, information management and more. Scholarships are available. Request more information.
Can I earn my doctorate in public health completely online?
In most cases, a doctorate program cannot be completed 100 percent online. A dissertation must be presented to a panel of experts and peers, and a residency also typically accompanies a doctorate in public health. However, many post-graduate programs are specialized to the individual student’s needs so check with your program advisor for more information.
How long will it take to earn my degree?
A doctorate in public health generally takes a minimum of two to three years to complete. Those attending school part time should expect to complete the program requirements in five to six years. Program requirements often vary by university, however, so check with your enrollment advisor for more information.
What is the difference between a DrPH and a PhD in public health?
A DrPH is designed for individuals who wish to become leaders in the health sector, rather than enter a career in academia. A PhD is for students who wish to enter academia or a research setting after graduation.
Can I earn a specialization with my doctorate?
Typically, no. Doctorate programs are specialized by nature, so as you take the coursework necessary for your dissertation and residency, you will take classes that are of interest to you. So while you won’t earn a specific specialization, your dissertation will ultimately define it for you.
Doctorate Degree in Public Health Scholarships
At the doctorate level, scholarships often come in the form of dissertation funding and fellowships. These opportunities are invaluable in experience for both the funding agency and the student. Students are able to take their time researching specific public health needs or working in the field while learning more about their future career. The funding agency benefits in the form of manpower and research that will ultimately help benefit its cause.
C. Sylvia and Eddie C. Brown Community Health Scholarship Program – This program is intended to train future public health leaders who are committed to eliminating health disparities in Baltimore.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Research Training and Education – The AHRQ provides numerous opportunities for pre-doctoral and postdoctoral educational and career development grants and opportunities in health services research.
HUD Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant Program – HUD awards this competitive grant of $15,000 per student each year to about 15 doctoral candidates currently enrolled in accredited programs. It is designed to help students complete dissertations on housing and urban development issues.
IFER Graduate Fellowship Program – Fellowships are awarded to candidates who are looking to develop alternatives to using animals in research, testing and education and are open to students enrolled in a master’s or Ph.D. program in the sciences and human or veterinary medicine.
Gilbert S. Omenn Anniversary Fellowship – This two-year fellowship allows the fellow to continue his or her academic work while serving on a board of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). A $25,000 stipend is administered through the appropriate department at the fellow’s home institution.
HSHPS/Department of Veterans Affairs Graduate Fellowship Training Program – This program involves a 10-week paid fellowship to increase the overall knowledge of public health, provide necessary tools to enhance the fellow’s career in the health field, and to increase the overall understanding of the VA as a federal agency.
AfyaBora Fellowship in Global Health Leadership – This 12-month fellowship prepares African and U.S. health professionals to lead and manage major health programs in African countries.
Professional Associations for Public Health
Professional associations, especially at the post-graduate level, are an avenue for students to network and make professional connections that will carry over to their careers. There are many associations from which to choose, from those that focus on general public health to those that focus on one specialty. Many associations offer discounted membership fees for students.
International Association for Food Protection – An organization dedicated to advancing food safety across the globe, the IAFP is made up of about 4,000 food safety professionals.
Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs – AEHAP supports environmental health education to help provide a quality environment for optimal health.
American Society of Safety Engineers – With more than 35,000 members worldwide, ASSE’s occupational safety professionals enjoy the professional development, advocacy and standards development provided by ASSE.
American College of Healthcare Executives – This international professional society is for health care executives who lead and manage hospitals, health care systems and other health-related organizations.
Medical Group Management Association – The premier membership association for professional administrators and leaders at medical group practices, the MGMA helps members navigate changes in the health care system.
American Health Information Management Association – The AHIMA serves more than 71,000 health information management members worldwide and provides rigorous professional education and training.
International Foundation for Ethical Research – The IFER supports the development of methodologies to advance research, product testing and education without harming animals.
National Academy of Sciences – This private, non-profit society was established by an Act of Congress in 1863 and provides independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.