Aug 15, 2022  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog

Public Health, Ph.D.


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Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health


Approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents in March 2011, the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Health academic degree in the School of Public Health was the first Georgia Board of Regent’s approved public health Doctor of Philosophy degree based in the metropolitan Atlanta area. The degree requirements will serve to educate the next generation of prevention scientists conducting public health research in academia, governmental public health, health care organizations and the private sector. Within the doctoral degree, students choose between distinct doctoral concentrations, or programs of study, offered by the School. They include: Epidemiology (EPID), Environmental Health (EVHT), Health Promotion and Behavior (HPMB), or Health Services and Policy Research (HSRP). While the Georgia State University School of Public Health offers four distinct Ph.D. programs in four different concentrations-EPID, EVHT, HPMB, and HSRP-this catalog will occasionally refer to a singular Ph.D. degree when discussing requirements that pertain to all School of Public Health Ph.D. programs of study and students.

Degree Requirements


The Ph.D. degree requires completion of a minimum of sixty-two (62) credit hours of coursework and a declared concentration in a public health core area. Students are also required to complete a dissertation. The candidates must satisfy the course requirements and credit hours in the following areas:

Required Prerequisites - MPH Core Courses (3 - 13 Credit Hours)


All Ph.D. graduates are grounded in the following foundational public health knowledge learning objectives (and the course where the learning objective is assessed is noted in parenthesis):

Profession & Science of Public Health

  1. Explain public health history, philosophy and values. (PHPH 7010 )
  2. Identify the core functions of public health and the 10 Essential Services. (PHPH 7010 )
  3. Explain the role of quantitative and qualitative methods and sciences in describing and assessing a population’s health. (PHPH 7010 )
  4. List major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in the US or other community relevant to the school or program. (PHPH 7010 )
  5. Discuss the science of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in population health, including health promotion, screening, etc. (PHPH 7010 )
  6. Explain the critical importance of evidence in advancing public health knowledge. (PHPH 7010 )

Factors Related to Human Health

  1. Explain effects of environmental factors on a population’s health. (PHPH 7010 )
  2. Explain biological and genetic factors that affect a population’s health. (PHPH 7010 )
  3. Explain behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population’s health. (PHPH 7010 )
  4. Explain the social, political and economic determinants of health and how they contribute to population health and health inequities. (PHPH 7010 )
  5. Explain how globalization affects global burdens of disease. (PHPH 7010 )
  6. Explain an ecological perspective on the connections among human health, animal health and ecosystem health (eg, One Health). (PHPH 7010 )

For students admitted to the PhD program who have not completed a CEPH-accredited bachelor’s degree in public health or MPH degree, the following course will be required as prerequisite to the PhD program:

Two additional courses may be required upon review of the student’s completed graduate coursework by the PhD Director and Faculty Advisor.

Based upon the PhD program concentration area declared by the incoming student, the following courses will be required:

Doctoral students may waive these prerequisite MPH Core Courses if they:

  • enter the Ph.D. program with a CEPH accredited MPH degree that included “B” grades or better in their MPH courses related to the MPH Foundational Public Health Knowledge learning objectives and MPH Foundational Competencies, as documented by an official university transcript. Syllabi for courses may also be requested.
  • and/or have completed employment or other training(s) that enable them to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities acquired in the MPH core courses listed above. Note: PHPH 7010 - Foundations of Public Health  cannot be waived by employment or other training(s). PHPH 7010 - Foundations of Public Health  is only waived after the School verifies a students’ previous completion of a CEPH-accredited bachelor’s degree in public health or MPH degree.

Students meeting the above criteria should provide a petitions for waiver for each of the five courses being requested for waiver. The Petition for Waiver is a written statement, along with any evidentiary documentation, that assures the School that the doctoral student has mastered one (or more) of the MPH Foundational Public Health Knowledge learning objectives and/or MPH Foundational Competencies through another manner (i.e. MPH degree, career experience, etc.). This Petition must be approved by the Doctoral Program Director. The Doctoral Program Director may defer to the Department Chair in which the petitioned course is offered. Upon approval by the Doctoral Program or Department Chair, the Petition is then forwarded to the Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services (OAA) for their approval. OAA may request the input of the Senior Associate Dean for Academic and Strategic Initiatives and/or the Academic Affairs Committee Chair and/or members, but that is not required. Once the Director of OAA notes OAA’s approval, the student’s file and PAWS electronic program of study is updated to note satisfaction of the required prerequisite(s).

Doctoral Degree Requirements (62 Credit Hours)


Required Ph.D. Concentration Courses (27 Credit Hours)

Twenty seven (27) hours of required coursework and electives have been established to ensure that students achieve proficiency in the competencies and skills related to each Ph.D. program of study: Environmental Health (EVHT), Epidemiology (EPID), Health Promotion and Behavior (HPMB), or Health Services and Policy Research (HSRP). Each student selects a program concentration upon application to the Ph.D. degree. To meet the individualized, in-depth training needs of doctoral students, many concentration research methods and/or elective areas have multiple course options that doctoral students may choose from to satisfy their unique learning needs and future career paths. All choices should be made in consultation with the student’s Faculty Advisor, and Faculty Advisor agreement with the course choices is noted on the Faculty Advisor and Doctoral Advisory Committee approved Doctoral Program of Study form and signed by the PhD Program Director (see Section 8060.60 Doctoral Program of Study Form for more information). Students should seek Faculty Advisor consultation and PhD Program Director approval on the form well before concentration research methods and/or elective course registration.

Required Comprehensive Ph.D. Examination

Students will be expected to pass a doctoral comprehensive exam where the student demonstrates mastery of the program competencies and proficiency in the doctoral program body of knowledge. Students will have two opportunities to pass this exam, which is graded Pass/Fail by at least two faculty members in the School of Public Health. Please see the doctoral student handbook for more details about the doctoral comprehensive exam.

Required Ph.D. Teaching Practicum (3 Credit Hours)

Required Ph.D. Culminating Experience (9 Credit Hours)

The dissertation will provide the student with an educational experience that enables the student to make a significant contribution to the field of public health and to apply the doctoral program knowledge and skills that allow him or her to contribute to the theoretical, conceptual, empirical, or practice base in the field of public health. Enrollment for dissertation credit is permitted only after successful completion of the comprehensive examination. Students must register for a minimum of nine (9) credit hours of PH 9990. Please see the doctoral student handbook for more details about the doctoral dissertation.

Faculty Advisor and Ph.D. Advisory Committee Requirements


Upon admission to the Ph.D. degree in Public Health programs, a student is assigned a Faculty Advisor from the SPH faculty. The Faculty Advisor serves as the primary advisor, and mentors the student throughout the program and assists the student in choosing courses, signing off on official documents, and chairing the student’s doctoral advisory committee (and dissertation).

Annual Review of Ph.D. Students

Ph.D. students will be given feedback from their Faculty Advisor on an annual basis. Students are required to:

  1. Set up an appointment with the Faculty Advisor by June 1st each year.
  2. One week prior to the scheduled appointment students must submit:
    • summary of the courses and grades taken since beginning the program,
    • a summary of professional scholarship in the last year,
    • a course paper/assignment or another product that demonstrates scientific writing skills, and proficiency with statistics.
    • a self-assessment of mastery of the doctoral competencies to date.

Faculty Advisors will use this portfolio to evaluate student progress in several areas: coursework progress and demonstrated mastery of doctoral competencies, professional scholarship, scientific writing including dissertation writing, statistical proficiency, and overall professionalism. Ph.D. milestones and goals for the next academic year should also be discussed.

If progress is unsatisfactory, the student will plan a course of action with their advisor and the Ph.D. Program Director to improve his/her progress. If the student demonstrates unsatisfactory progress on the plan, or during more than one annual review, the student may be scholastically excluded from the doctoral program.

Continuous Enrollment Policy and Degree Completion for PhD


Students in all graduate programs, including doctoral programs, must maintain enrollment totaling six hours (or more) over three consecutive semesters, including summers. In other words, the total enrollment of the current term plus the two terms preceding it must add up to six hours or more. The status of all students will be checked by the midpoint of each term for compliance with the continuous enrollment requirement. Any student whose enrollment is noncompliant will receive a hold on their registration, which would prevent registering for all current and future classes.  Those students will be notified by an e-mail message sent to their official Georgia State University e-mail account. To resume their programs, students with continuous holds on their enrollment must file for re-entry by the published deadline and must enroll at a level sufficient to satisfy the continuous enrollment criterion. That is, their enrollment in the re-entry term plus the two terms preceding it must total six hours or more. The maximum required enrollment level for the re-entry term is six hours.  For more information on the re-entry process, contact the Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services.

Grade Point Average and Course Grade Requirements for PhD Students


PhD students must maintain a 3.2 or better overall institutional grade point average (GPA) to progress from one semester to the next, and must receive a grade of “B” (3.0) or better for each School of Public Health based course (courses with prefix “PH” in front of the course number). Any PhD student earning a grade of B- or below must repeat the public health course or not count the course towards their PhD program of study. PhD students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.2 at the end of a semester will receive a scholastic warning from the School. If at the end of the following six semester hours of enrollment, the student has not achieved a 3.2 cumulative GPA, the student will be scholastically excluded from the doctoral program. Any student who is scholastically excluded from the program may apply for readmission after a period of one year. Time Limitations for PhD Students (see section 8060.50) will still apply.

Residency Requirements and Time Limitations for PhD Students


The purpose of requiring completion of all degree requirements within a fixed period is to ensure currency, continuity, and coherence in the academic experiences leading to the degree. Within nine (9) years of the student’s term of first matriculation, it is required that the student complete all degree requirements. Moreover, all requirements for doctoral candidacy (coursework, comprehensive examination, prospectus approval) must be completed within seven years (7) of the student’s first term of matriculation. No coursework completed more than seven years before admission to candidacy may be used to meet any doctoral degree requirement. Enrollment for a minimum of three semester hours of credit is required during at least two out of each three-term period following successful completion of the comprehensive examination until graduation. This enrollment must include a minimum of nine semester hours of dissertation (PH 9990) credit but may also include other coursework. The student must be enrolled in and successfully complete three semester hours of graduate credit (typically dissertation hours) during the final academic term in which all degree requirements are completed and the student graduates. Additional information about time limits and expected doctoral program completion milestones may be distributed by the Doctoral Program Coordinator, Department Chairs, or a designated faculty member to doctoral students in the School of Public Health Doctoral Student Handbooks. Doctoral students will be subject to all the doctoral program completion milestone requirements, details and policies distributed in the School of Public Health Doctoral Student Handbooks. Failure to meet any of these doctoral program completion milestones may result in scholastic dismissal from the doctoral program.

Doctoral Program of Study Form for PhD


The Doctoral Program of Study form must be submitted to OAA following successful completion of the comprehensive exam. The Program of Study must be approved by the Faculty Advisor (who will serve as the dissertation chair), and the Doctoral Program Director in order for the student to be successfully admitted to candidacy. OAA will use this form for degree-audit and final approval of the student’s academic evaluation before placing in the student’s file. The Doctoral Program of Study form must show all courses relevant to the doctoral program (including master-level prerequisite courses and any courses approved from other universities), in addition to Georgia State University courses satisfying the minimum doctoral degree requirements.

Transfer credits from another institution: A student may apply a maximum of nine (9) semester hours of approved course credit transferred from another sufficiently accredited institution toward fulfilling Ph.D. degree requirements. Transfer credits are processed by the School and must be approved by petition. Students requesting to petition for transfer of credits must work with the MPH Curriculum and Advisement Coordinator in the Office of Academic Assistance. Approval is at the discretion of the PhD Program Coordinator-approval is not guaranteed. The PhD Program Director may defer to the Department Chair in which the petitioned course is offered. All credits, including transfer credits, presented for the PhD degree must have been earned within nine calendar years of the date of degree conferral from a program or school accredited by CEPH at the time of completion. No previously taken course with a grade of “B-” or below may be transferred into the doctoral program. Courses transferred-in for the doctoral degree may not be used in fulfilling the PhD Public Health Core Courses requirements or the doctoral credit-hour residency requirement. OAA will update the student’s electronic PAWS program of study form at that time. With the exception of university-approved dual degree programs, if the course to be transferred in was used to satisfy another degree program either at Georgia State University or elsewhere, the PhD Program Director or department chair reserves the right to require the student to complete a different graduate-level course prescribed by the department chair. That course will be substituted into the student’s PhD program, so that the student completes the sixty-two (62) unique total credit hours for their PhD degree.

Credits earned at Georgia State University in either transient, non-degree, or other-Georgia State University-degree status: A student may apply a maximum of nine (9) semester hours of applicable Georgia State University course credit earned prior to PhD program admission (while taking public health courses as either transient, non-degree, or other-Georgia State University-degree or program status) toward fulfilling PhD degree requirements. Credits are processed by the School-petition is not required, but students should confirm their previously completed Georgia State University courses are applicable. Students may work with the PhD Program Director and the SPH Graduate Advisor in the Office of Academic Assistance to confirm applicability. Approval is at the discretion of the PhD Program Coordinator approval is not guaranteed. The PhD Program Director may defer to the Department Chair in which the course is offered. All Georgia State University credits presented for the PhD degree must have been earned within nine calendar years of the date of public health doctoral degree conferral. Courses taken at Georgia State University that were applied to another Georgia State University graduate certificate degree or degree program may not be applied to the PhD degree; instead, a student should seek a doctoral course waiver for these courses already applied to another Georgia State University degree program.

Doctoral Course Waivers: Doctoral students may receive a course waiver for any doctoral course already completed as part of another Georgia State University graduate certificate or degree program (including the MPH degree program), or if the course content was already learned at another institution or training area, but was not eligible for transfer credit. Students are still expected to take the minimum number of credit hours expected for the Ph.D. degree at Georgia State University (sixty-two (62) credit hours), but when granted a course waiver, the student may complete a different graduate level course, substituted into their doctoral program in order to complete the total sixty-two (62) credit hour requirement of their doctoral degree.

No previously taken course with a grade of “B-” or below may be used for course waiver. Courses waived for the doctoral degree may not be used in fulfilling the PhD Public Health Core Course requirements or the doctoral credit-hour residency requirement.

Students hoping to waive a course and substitute it with another should provide a Petition for Waiver noting each doctoral course they hope to waive, and which course they would like to substitute in its place. The Petition for Waiver is a written statement, along with any evidentiary documentation, that assures the School that the doctoral student has mastered the course material in the course to be waived through another manner (i.e. MPH degree, another Georgia State University degree, etc.).

This Petition must be approved by the student’s Faculty Advisor and the PhD Program Director. The PhD Program Director may defer to the Department Chair in which the petitioned course is typically offered.

Upon approval by the student’s Faculty Advisor and the PhD Program Director (or Department Chair), the Petition is then forwarded to the Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services (OAA) for their approval. OAA may request the input of the Senior Associate Dean for for Academic and Strategic Initiatives and/or the Academic Affairs Committee Chair and/or members, but that is not required. Once the Director of OAA notes OAA’s approval, the student’s file and program of study is updated to note a waiver of the required course(s) and the substitution of another course taking its place. (MPH-Level Core Course prerequisite requirements for the doctoral program are exempt from this rule, since these prerequisite course do not count toward the sixty-two (62) credit hour minimum requirement for PhD programs).

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination for PhD


Doctoral students must pass a comprehensive examination before being admitted to candidacy. The purpose of the comprehensive examination is to assess each student’s mastery of the doctoral program core curriculum and to determine the student’s readiness to proceed to the dissertation. To be eligible to take the comprehensive examination, the student must have completed all doctoral program prerequisites (MPH Core/Foundational Courses), all Ph.D. core courses (18 credit hours), and achieved a B (3.0) or better in all courses and 3.2 or greater cumulative grade-point average in the Ph.D. program of study. Any doctoral student earning a grade of B- or below must repeat the public health course or not count the course towards their doctoral program of study. Once approved to take the exam, the Ph.D. Director will provide a study guide for the exam.

Examination content and structure varies between concentrations, between students, and from year-to-year to ensure relevance to the student’s training and integrity in the testing procedure. Information about the comprehensive exam structure and requirements, evaluation and scoring, and the polices governing the testing procedures are in the PhD Handbook and distributed by the PhD Program Director or designated SPH faculty member to comprehensive exam eligible students immediately prior to their comprehensive examination date. Ph.D. students are subject to the comprehensive exam requirements and policies distributed at that time.

Admission to Candidacy for PhD


Admission to candidacy for a PhD student is requested immediately after the successful completion of the comprehensive examination. The following is a complete list of requirements for admission to candidacy:

  1. All prerequisites set as a condition to admission to candidacy have been satisfactorily completed.
  2. The Doctoral Advisory Committee, the PhD Program Director, and OAA have approved the final program of study.
  3. A GPA of 3.2 has been maintained for all graduate courses taken and for all completed courses on the program of study. A grade of “B” (3.0) or better for each School of Public Health based course (courses with prefix “PH” in front of the course number) must be earned, and no course with a grade below B- may be placed on the final program of study.
  4. Written and oral comprehensive examinations have been passed and reported to the School.
  5. The Doctoral Advisory Committee, including any necessary changes in the membership, is confirmed and all its members have been notified of their appointment.
  6. The residency requirement has been met.

Application for Admission to Candidacy for PhD

This form must be submitted to OAA as soon as possible following the completion of the Admission to Candidacy requirements. Candidacy begins on the date the form is received by the School. After admission to candidacy, a student must register for at least nine (9) hours of dissertation credit during the completion of the degree program. Students planning to graduate the same semester they enter candidacy must be admitted by the published deadline for candidacy during that semester and register for nine (9) hours of dissertation credit. The student must also meet all other deadlines for graduation in that semester. A student must register for a minimum of three (3) dissertation credit hours in any semester when using University facilities, and/or faculty or staff time. The School shall not accept a dissertation if the student has not been admitted to candidacy for the degree.

Time Limit on Candidacy

All doctoral program degree requirements must be successfully completed within nine (9) years of a student’s first term of matriculation. The dissertation must be completed within four (4) years following admission to candidacy to qualify for graduation. If a doctoral student’s candidacy expires after the first week of classes in the final semester, the student is granted the remainder of the semester to complete degree requirements without special permission of the School. Additional information about time limits and expected dissertation completion milestones may be distributed by the Doctoral Program Coordinator, Department Chairs, or a designated faculty member to candidacy eligible students immediately prior to their admission to candidacy. Doctoral students will be subject to all the dissertation completion milestone requirements, policies and procedures distributed at that time. Failure to meet any of these dissertation completion milestones may result in scholastic dismissal from the doctoral program.

Dissertation for PhD


Enrollment for dissertation credit (PHPB 9990 /PHPH 9990 ) is permitted only after successful completion of the comprehensive examination.

Doctoral Advisory Committee

It is most important that the persons who serve on the Doctoral Advisory Committee (occasionally referred to as the Doctoral Dissertation Committee), at the time the dissertation research is undertaken, be those faculty members most knowledgeable in the areas of the student’s research. Within the guidelines for committee membership, they should be selected regardless of their concentration affiliation. The Doctoral Advisory Committee consists of a minimum of three members: Two members must be within the School of Public Health and hold graduate faculty status. The third member may be from the School of Public Health or outside the School/Georgia State University, but he/she must have a Ph.D., MD, or other terminal degree and must have expertise in the content area or methodology used in the proposal that can be demonstrated upon review of a curriculum vita by the Doctoral Program Director or student’s Faculty Advisor.

Dissertation Planning

Students pursuing a Ph.D. must complete a dissertation on a subject connected with their major field of study/concentration. The dissertation must present original research, independent thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of a field of study. Its conclusions must be logical, its literary form must be acceptable, and its contribution to the field of public health should merit publication.

The dissertation must provide the student with an educational experience that enables the student to make a significant contribution to the field of public health and to apply the doctoral program knowledge and skills that allow him or her to contribute to the theoretical, conceptual, empirical, or practice base in the field of public health. At a minimum, the dissertation should contribute to at least one of these knowledge bases, as related to the student’s concentration. These activities must take place under the direction of the student’s dissertation committee. The study must include all of the following:

  • Identifying an appropriate theory to inform the study.
  • Conceptualizing the research questions and hypotheses.
  • Developing the research design.
  • Applying the appropriate methodology.
  • Interpreting the study results.

Note: These guidelines do allow for secondary data analysis.

The School of Public Health accepts either the traditional dissertation form or the European (manuscript) dissertation format. The European (manuscript) dissertation format contains a first chapter that consists of a thorough synthetic review of the literature for the content area of the student dissertation. The next chapters consist of copies of three (a) published papers, (b) manuscripts in press, (c) manuscripts submitted. Because the manuscripts may have been published, submitted, or targeted for different journals with different journal styles, the chapters may not all be formatted in the same style. As is found in published papers, each chapter would have an Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion section, unless one paper is a review paper, which may be approved as an option by the Doctoral Advisory Committee (dissertation committee). The final chapter should include a global perspective summary that ties together the findings in the three papers and concludes with the future directions for the student’s line of research. This final chapter is not a recapitulation of the middle chapters. This chapter offers the author the unique opportunity to speculate without the fetters that constrain typical research papers.

The School of Public Health requires that the student submitting the dissertation must be listed as the first author of each article used as a chapter. One first-author manuscript that is submitted prior to the dissertation proposal meeting (no more than 1 year in advance) and is linked to the overall theme of the dissertation can be included as one of the three chapters upon approval of the major advisor. The inclusion of any articles that are previously published or accepted for publication requires permission from the copyright holder. Articles not yet copyrighted by another party will be covered under the copyright of the dissertation.

Student dissertation progress will be reviewed as part of the annual evaluation procedures, beginning in the student’s third year of the doctoral program. If a student is not making expected progress on the dissertation, this will be noted on the faculty rated student annual evaluation form as not meeting expectations. Failure to make adequate progress on the dissertation in two consecutive annual evaluations will result in scholastic dismissal from the doctoral program.

Dissertation Proposal/Prospectus and Meeting

Prior to beginning the dissertation, the student must present a dissertation proposal (prospectus) to his/her Faculty Advisor. When the Faculty Advisor certifies that the written proposal for the dissertation is satisfactory, the student should schedule a meeting with the Doctoral Advisory committee to present the proposal (prospectus meeting and defense) and receive approval from the committee before moving forward with dissertation development. Specifically:

  1. The student will provide a complete copy of the proposal (printed hard-copy and electronic) to all members of the Doctoral Advisory committee at least two weeks before the prospectus meeting. The proposal must be formatted according to the APA Manual of Style (latest edition).
  2. The proposal will include all elements of either the Traditional proposal or European (manuscript) Proposal (Note: Deviations from the chapter approach may be approved by the student’s Faculty Advisor and Doctoral Program Director):

Traditional proposal:

Chapter 1: Introduction and Statement of Purpose
Chapter 2: Review of the Literature
Chapter 3: Methods
Reference Section
Appendices Section

European (manuscript) proposal must include:

Chapter 1: Introduction and Statement of purpose
Chapter 2: Description and Outline of three studies that will be developed and submitted during the dissertation process. NOTE: if one study has already been developed and submitted, please include a copy of that study and describe how the next two studies will build on this work
Reference Section
Appendices Section

  1. Approval of the proposal signifies that members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee believe that the student has proposed a satisfactory dissertation plan. Approval of the proposal requires the agreement of all members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee except one, as endorsed by their signatures on the appropriate form that, together with this approved prospectus, is filed with the MPH Curriculum and Advisement Coordinator in the Office of Academic Assistance and Career Services (OAA).
  2. Before starting the data collection for the dissertation, the student must request approval from the Georgia State University Institutional Review Board (IRB) if human subjects are involved in the research project.

The Faculty Advisor has the primary responsibility for guiding research, but the student should consult all members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee to draw upon their expertise in relevant areas.

Note: Each concentration may have specific, additional requirements for the student during the dissertation process, including at the time of the dissertation proposal/prospectus meeting. This may include a Ph.D. core and concentration exam, such as faculty posing questions to the student at the dissertation proposal meeting that extend beyond the dissertation proposal itself and include assessing the students’ knowledge and skills related to Ph.D. core and concentration competencies, based on student Ph.D. core and concentration coursework and learning experiences. Please meet with your Faculty Advisor and/or Department Chair to discuss the specific expectations for your concentration’s proposal meeting, as well as the full dissertation process. This is simply to ensure that faculty are able to assess student mastery on all introductory public health learning objectives and concentration competencies, regardless of dissertation topic.

Dissertation Approval and Defense

When the Faculty Advisor is satisfied with the completed dissertation, the Faculty Advisor will certify that it has approval and is ready to be read by the other members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The Faculty Advisor will then distribute copies of the dissertation to the other members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee and will schedule a final oral defense and notify the SPH.

Subsequently, the SPH will announce the time and place of the defense of the dissertation to the University community. The committee members will have three weeks to read and evaluate the completed dissertation. Written assent of all committee members except one is required before a dissertation is approved as ready for a final defense. If the Doctoral Advisory Committee declines to approve the dissertation as ready for the final defense, the Faculty Advisor will notify the student and the School in writing and the defense date will be cancelled.

The Faculty Advisor will chair the dissertation defense. All members of the Doctoral Advisory Committee, except one, must approve the dissertation and the defense, and must certify their approval in writing. The SPH will only recommend the award of a doctoral degree when the student has demonstrated mastery of necessary theories, concepts and content, and demonstrated competence in the knowledge and skills defined in the competencies for the student’s chosen doctoral program concentration. The results of the defense of the dissertation must be reported to the School of Public Health at least two weeks prior to graduation-students should consult the SPH Graduate Advisor for the absolute deadline in a given semester. The date (year) on the title page of the dissertation shall be the same as the date (year) on which the dissertation is approved by the School, following approval by the Doctoral Advisory Committee. The final dissertation document must conform to all format and content requirements specified by the School of Public Health.

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