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University of Pittsburgh    
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Apr 20, 2024
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, DrPH

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The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Program trains individuals for positions of senior responsibility and leadership in public health practice settings. Students develop skill in the seven core areas identified by the Association of Schools of Public Health for DrPH degree programs. This includes coursework and practical experience in the following areas: 1) theory and research methods that facilitate-critical analysis, 2) community orientation, 3) communication, 4) management, 5) leadership, 6) advocacy and 7) professionalism and ethics. These skills position students to assume leadership positions in public health agencies, health departments, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and agencies in the human services sector.

The minimum-credit requirement for the DrPH Program is 72 credits of completed course work and independent research. Twenty-four credits may be awarded for a previously earned master’s degree. Twelve (transfer or advance standing) credits may be allowed for graduate work taken after earning the master’s degree. All students must complete a common core of courses in the following categories:

  1. Community/Cultural Orientation in Public Health (6 credits)
  2. Critical Analysis (24 credits)
  3. Communication (3 credits)
  4. Management (3 credits)
  5. Integration of Research and Public Health Practice (3-8 credits)
  6. Competency area elective
  7. A minimum of 1 dissertation credit must be earned.

An important element of the DrPH degree is the Executive Management Practicum, which requires that students work in a setting where they will have an opportunity to develop and refine skills in leadership, advocacy and ethics. While doing so, students will also have opportunities to apply content from coursework in the other competency areas: community/cultural orientation, critical analysis, communication and management. The DrPH Program is designed to be completed in 2 years full-time coursework in addition to 2 years for completion of dissertation research.

BCHS DrPH Requirements

Competency Area Elective (choose one out of three courses below)


Additional Requirements

Both DrPH and PhD students take a preliminary (qualifying) examination at the end of the first year of full-time course work and a comprehensive examination when the student has completed all of the required course work. Following successful completion of the dissertation overview, the student is admitted into candidacy and begins dissertation study under the direction of a dissertation committee. The dissertation and oral defense of the dissertation must be completed within five years of the comprehensive examination. See General Requirements for Doctoral Degrees for further information.

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