The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree program at the University of Georgia College of Public Health is designed to prepare graduates for senior level public health practice careers.

Options are also available for students with interests in academia or applied research careers in public health. The program, administrated by the College’s Department of Health Policy and Management, is based on the UGA Gwinnett Campus.

The degree is designed for students with either a Master of Public Health or equivalent degree, or a professional doctorate in areas such as medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy or law.  A minimum of three years of relevant public health practice experience is required.  Our enrollment is diverse, and students include current and former employees of state and local health agencies, non-profit organizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

More Information

  • Prerequisites

    All applicants to the Doctor of Public Health degree must have:

    • A master’s-level degree in public health (MPH or MSPH). Students with other master’s degrees may be considered and accepted provisionally, but will need to complete the five MPH core courses (15 hours) prior to acceptance into the DrPH program. These courses will not apply to the DrPH degree. All master’s degrees must be from an accredited institution.
    • At least three years of experience in the public health area after having completed a master degree.
    • Applicants are expected to have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

    DrPH Prerequisite Courses (15 hours)
    BIOS 7010 – Introduction to Biostatistics I (3 hours)
    EHSC 7010 – Fundamentals of Environmental Health (3 hours)
    EPID 7010 – Introduction to Epidemiology I (3 hours)
    HPAM 7010 – Introduction to Health Policy and Management (3 hours)
    HPRB 7010 – Social and Behavioral Foundations of Public Health (3 hours)

    *Students with only a bachelor’s degree will NOT be accepted into the program. No exceptions will be given.*

  • Curriculum

    The curricular focus of the DrPH program at the UGA College of Public Health is management, leadership and health policy and development.  The degree requires 57 credit hours beyond master’s level. The program operates in an executive-style format requiring two courses per semester and operate on a Fall, Spring and Summer schedule that allows for completion in four years. A minimum letter grade of “B” is required in all course work.

    Year One

    PBHL 9100 – Doctor of Public Health Seminar I (3 hours)
    HPAM 7700 – Ethics of Public Health (3 hours)

    HPAM 8800 – Leadership in Public Health (3 hours)
    HPAM 8700 – Management of Healthcare Organizations (3 hours)

    BIOS 7020 – Biostatistics II (3 hours)
    EPID 7020 – Epidemiology II (3 hours)

    Year Two

    PBHL 9200 – Doctor of Public Health Seminar II (3 hours)
    HPRB 9310 – Health Communications (3 hours)

    HPAM 8400 – Policy Analysis in Public Health (3 hours)
    HPAM 8410 – Informatics and Analytics in Health (3 hours)

    Elective 1
    Elective 2

    Year Three

    Elective 3
    Elective 4

    PBHL 9560 – Residency (1-9 hrs)
    Comprehensive Doctoral Exams

    PBHL 9000 – Doctoral Research (1-12 hrs)
    PBHL 9300 – Doctoral Dissertation (1-12 hrs)

    List of DrPH Electives

    Coming soon…

  • Core Competencies

    After completing the DrPH program, the DrPH student will be able to:

    Competency 1 (Critical / Analytical Thinking – oriented) : Demonstrate in-depth understanding of the core areas of public health practice, research, and theory.

    • Analyze and critique public health as a system, including specific functions and roles of government and governmental public health agencies and other partners, assessing the system’s ability to respond to public health problems and its limitations, and identifying ways to improve it.
    • Integrate and apply multidisciplinary theories and research findings to solve a public health problem(s).
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the ecological model and how it guides the assessment of, and solutions to, public health issues.

    Competency 2 (Research – oriented) : Analyze issues and problems in public health using critical evaluation, applied research methodology, and statistical methods.

    • Obtain, interpret and apply appropriate quantitative, qualitative and economic measures to address public health problems.
    • Demonstrate in-depth understanding through use of an applied research methodology of interest (quantitative, qualitative or economic research methods) of a public health problem or issue.

    Competency 3 (Public Health Practice / Application – oriented) : Access and synthesize information from a variety of sources to assess significance, identify relationships and develop strategies for addressing public health problems/issues in an area of interest or specialization in public health practice.

    • Identify and apply foundation theories in area of specialization to explain and predict public health problems and solutions.
    • Apply measures of population health and illness, including risk factors, in the development of community health improvement initiatives, taking into account appropriate cultural, social, behavioral, and biological factors.
    • Develop and apply a logic model, or other systems applications, demonstrating interrelationships among risk and protective factors, as well as between process and outcome objectives, and targets/standards for population health.
    • Apply research, evaluation and strategic planning designs to address a public health issue in an area of specialization.

    Competency 4 (Management / policy – oriented) : Demonstrate leadership in designing and implementing interventions aimed at a public health problem/issue.

    • Demonstrate an ability to strategically plan, implement and evaluate agency or organization improvements.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the political, cultural, social and economic factors influencing the development of, and changes in, public health programs, agencies, or interventions or policies as well as strategies to positively affect those factors.
    • Apply principles and tools of human and financial resource management to public health programs.
    • Apply principles and tools of human resource management to public health programs.
    • Access and synthesize information from a variety of sources to make evidenced-based program decisions.

    Competency 5 (Communication – oriented) : Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing.

    • Organize and present qualitative, quantitative or economic data cogently and persuasively at scientific sessions and to lay audiences.
    • Design oral and written communications for varied audiences (community and business leaders, the public, policy makers, public health professionals, the media, and other stakeholders).

    Competency 6 (Leadership – oriented) : Demonstrate a vision and philosophy for professional leadership in public health.

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the legal and ethical foundations of public health.
    • Apply principles of effective leadership in order to create a shared vision within a public health organization and foster partnerships that maximize achievement of public health goals.

    Competency 7 (Education – oriented) : Teach academic and professional audiences.

    • Teach broad overview courses in public health, as well as specialized courses in areas of expertise, in an academic institution.

    NOTE: The DrPH Planning Committee at the UGA College of Public Health reviewed DrPH competency drafts from the following CEPH-accredited Schools of Public Health: University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Texas – Houston, and University of Kentucky.  These seven competencies were then developed via adapting and modifying from drafts reviewed.  The competencies were approved by the DrPH Planning Committee, as well as all faculty at UGA College of Public Health.

  • Residency

    As a DrPH student, you will be required to complete a Residency. The office of the Practice Coordinator at the College of Public Health has agreements with many exciting sites.  These sites reflect the current Public Health job market and include agencies such as Georgia Department of Public Health and District Health offices, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, American Red Cross, local hospitals and non-profits. New agreements can be coordinated upon request.

    The following is a timeline and checklist for field placement along with links to all of the forms you will need. For more detailed information on the Residency process, please refer to your DrPH Residency Manual. Read everything carefully; you are responsible for all submissions and deadlines.  If you have any questions, please contact CPH Field Placement & Practice Coordinator Nina Cleveland at

    Pre-Field Experience (Begins 2 Semester Before)

    1. Schedule advisement with Academic Advisor to approve/discuss Field Placement timing.
    2. Schedule advisement with Practice Coordinator regarding site and MOU information and approval. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with your placement site is required for it to count toward your degree. The Practice Coordinator will be able to tell you if the site you are interested in has a current MOU. New MOUs can be initiated, but it can take up to 8 weeks to have one fully executed. (No new MOUs will be initiated after the mid point of the semester before you are to enter into the field placement.)
    3. Contact and schedule Interview with site and acceptance into placement.
    4. Discuss projects and activities with Site Supervisor/Preceptor. Check with site supervisor about any IRB approval needed.
    5. DrPH Residency Approval and Proposal Form completed with all signatures and sent to Practice coordinator (as PDF by email) DUE BY MID-TERM OF SEMESTER BEFORE GOING INTO INTERNSHIP.
    6. Applied Learning Agreement and the Records Release forms signed and witnessed and sent to Practice Coordinator as a PDF via email along with proposal documents.
    7. Obtain liability Insurance if applicable. (Refer to the DrPH Residency Manual 2016-2017.)
    8. Communicate with site about HR requirements. (e.g. background checks, paperwork, orientations, badges, parking)
    9. Register for the 3-hour Residency course (PBHL 9560) in Athena. (You will not be cleared to register unless you have your approval paperwork in and a MOU is in place. NO EXCEPTIONS!)
    10. Field Placement Briefing – You are required to attend the Internship/Residency placement Briefing scheduled at the end of the semester before you start your placement. The dates will be on the master calendar and will also be sent out via email. (Refer to Field Placement Briefing – PowerPoint Slides.)

    Field Experience Mid-Term (By Mid-Term Date)

    1. Check the UGA Registrar Office’s Academic Calendars for important dates (e.g. – Mid-term, last day of class, etc.)  Respond to “First of the Semester” check-in email’
    2. Respond to Mid-term email. Make Mid-term evaluation document availble to Site Supervisor/Preceptor.
    3. DrPH Mid-term Residency Evaluation completed with Site supervisor and sent to Practice Coordinator and Academic Advisor.

    End of Semester (1 Week Before Last Day of Class)

    1. Complete DrPH Final Residency Evaluation with Site Supervisor and email to Practice Coordinator AND Academic Advisor MPH Final Evaluation DrPH Final Evaluation
    2. DrPH Final Residency Report completed using template and sent electronically to Practice Coordinator AND Academic Advisor MPH Final Report DrPH Final Report
    3.  Complete the Time Sheet and have it signed by your Site Supervisor using template. Email it to the Practice Coordinator AND Academic Advisor
    4.  Field Placement Experience Survey completed. This will be sent to you via Survey Monkey Link.
  • How to Apply

    Fall Admission Deadline:  February 1

    Applicants who submit all applications and supporting materials by this deadline will be notified in February of their status in the program. *This notification will follow scheduled interviews to occur late February and the month of March.  An invitation and completion of an interview is mandatory for continued consideration of admission.

    *Prior to the deadlines, you must have both applications completed, VERIFIED, and all supporting materials must be received by the College.  

    **Admissions offices recommend submitting all materials as soon as possible since applications can take 3 to 4 weeks to be processed.

    Application Requirements

    • Completed SOPHAS application and fee
    • Official academic transcripts from every institution attended sent directly to SOPHAS.
    • International applicants: Only World Education Services (WES) evaluations of international coursework are accepted for inclusion in your SOPHAS application. Any WES-evaluated coursework cleared through SOPHAS will be reviewed once both application steps are fully completed. For specific details, please refer to
    • Statement of purpose and degree objectives
    • At least three letters of recommendation
    • GRE scores are no longer required. (If you wish to submit, ETS Code is 5813)
    • Resume/CV
    • Supplemental Fee to UGA Graduate School (This fee can be processed HERE)
    • Personal interview

    International Applicants only – additional information needed by the UGA Graduate School
    (please click here for more detailed information)

    • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores sent by testing agency to “University of Georgia”
    • World Education Services (WES): You must provide any WES evaluations as part of your SOPHAS application. You may refer to this link for further information about sending your WES report.
    • Certificate of Finances (COF) form
    • Visa Information

    Applicant Interviews

    Invitations are extended to selected applicants to an in-person Interview Day following initial review of applications. This series of Interview Days are scheduled in late February and the month of March.

    NOTE: In order to proceed with admissions consideration for the Doctor of Public Health, an invitation MUST be extended by the program and the invited candidate must fully participate in the events during Interview Day.  Appropriate accommodations can be made when the selected candidate has extenuating circumstances which may prevent their attendance.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    How is a Dr.P.H. different from a Ph.D.?

    It is important to differentiate a Ph.D. from a Dr.P.H. program.

    The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is an advanced degree in research training, theory and methodology. The program stresses knowledge and competency in statistical methods and research design. Recipients of this degree have a comprehensive understanding of research methods and the application of these methods. Usually PhD programs emphasize the utilization of experimental and quasi-experimental research designs. Such training prepares Ph.D. graduates for academic and related professions that involve teaching and research. Universities, other academic institutions, or organizations conducting research generally employ these graduates.

    This program focuses on a “professional” Dr.P.H. degree targeted toward administrators and practitioners who have three or more years of professional experience beyond the M.P.H. degree. As an advanced professional degree emphasizing methods, applications, and applied research, the Dr.P.H. links theory to practice. Its graduates solve significant public health issues using innovative methods and new knowledge. Prospective careers include high-level administration, teaching, policy-making, applied research, or program evaluation positions in which graduates will utilize the advanced analysis, critical evaluation, and problem-solving skills at the core of the Dr.P.H. program.

    Where are courses taught?

    All required courses are taught on University of Georgia Gwinnet Campus in Lawrenceville, Ga.

    How long will it take to complete the program?

    The Dr.P.H. program operates on a Fall, Spring and Summer schedule that allows for completion of the degree in four years. The program may be accelerated with the addition of one elective to Fall and Spring semester schedules of Year 1 and 2, but electives will be limited.

  • Contact Us

    If you have any questions or would like more information about the program, you can contact the DrPH Program office at or by calling 678-377-3656.