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Columbia Campus    
2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
  Jul 16, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Dr.P.H.

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Learning Outcomes

  • Students will demonstrate the ability to lead the process of creating an organization’s vision, mission and goal-setting for the organization, guide decision-making, influence and advise others in a way that benefits the organization, and build capacity to successfully carry out the mission of the organization.
  • Students will use effective communication strategies and be able to persuasively argue for policies that improve the health of the public.
  • Students will demonstrate the ability to develop and implement formative, process, impact and outcome evaluations for the performance of a specific program or of the organization in relation to its vision and mission.
  • Conduct various types of research studies, interpret and communicate study results, synthesize information from multiple studies, assess the merits of research done elsewhere, and determine how research results can be applied to the organization.
  • Students will demonstrate integration of the DrPH core competencies and expertise in their specific specialization through the Doctoral Public Health Practicum.
  • Identify and understand individual, organizational, community and socio-cultural influences on health and health behavior.
  • Exhibit professional skills including scientific writing, oral communication, grant-writing, professional service, and collaboration.


Admissions requirements follow those of The Graduate School and include:

  • a completed application
  • official transcripts from all post-secondary schools and colleges previously attended, including non-degree courses taken
  • evidence of academic performance at a B or better level on academic transcripts
  • satisfactory GRE scores. For the Dr.P.H. program, a minimum of 300 (combined verbal and quantitative) is required.
  • three letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional sources.
  • a letter of intent which describes research interests and professional goals.
  • satisfactory score on the TOEFL or the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam for applicants whose native language is not English. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 80 (Internet-based) or 570 (paper-based). The minimum acceptable overall band score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam is 6.5.
  • current resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Doctoral applicants should be supported by at least two HPEB faculty members willing to serve as mentors in order to be admitted into the program.

Admissions process information and links can be found at the Arnold School of Public Health webpage:

Applications for the Dr.P.H program in HPEB are made through the Schools of Public Health Application System (SOPHAS). Please go to for further details.

Only single program applications are accepted, so you may only apply to one program at a time (unless you are applying to a certificate program). Once received, your application and credentials are sent for review by the HPEB faculty. After reviewing your credentials, the department makes a recommendation to The Graduate School which officially grants admission. We will inform you of the department’s recommendation regarding admission, but official notice of admission comes from the USC Graduate School.

You are encouraged to review carefully the information provided on the above websites before beginning the application process. If you have further questions, you may contact:

Ken Watkins
HPEB Graduate Director
phone: 803-777-7603

Casey Goldston Giraudy
HPEB Academic Programs Coordinator
phone: 803-777-2966

Office of Student and Alumni Services
phone: 803-777-5031 

Degree Requirements (60 Post Baccalaureate Hours)

The DrPH program trains graduates for professional careers as applied behavioral health scientists and practitioners. It also prepares graduates for leadership and skills in public health practice, research (with an emphasis on applied research) and professional service. The DrPH grooms graduates to assume leadership roles that emphasize management and advocacy activities within organizations or other systems; these positions are often located in agency or practice settings. The degree requires 54 hours of post-masters course work (60 hours of post-baccalaureate course work), including 12 hours of dissertation preparation. Students may request transfer of a limited number of graduate courses not part of a completed degree program into the doctoral program of study. All doctoral students’ programs of study must meet the university and departmental requirements and are subject to approval by the student’s program advisory committee and the department’s Graduate Director. In addition, the following are required: a written qualifying examination, a written and oral comprehensive examination, and an oral defense of the dissertation. Experience as a member of a research team is also part of the program requirements. A structured, practice-based practicum is also part of the program requirements.

Research Methods (minimum of 12 hours, with at least one course from each of the following areas)

  • Qualitative Methods (e.g., HPEB 715  or equivalent)
  • Quantitative Methods (e.g. BIOS 757 , EDRM 711 , advanced BIOS or equivalent)
  • Epidemiology (e.g., EPID 700  or equivalent, or advanced)
  • Measurement (Required: HPEB 810 )

Cognate (no required minimum)

Classes reflecting defined content or topical areas.

Public Health Core (3 hours)

Note: This requirement is met if student has previous MPH or similar graduate-level core PH coursework, in which case, hours may be taken in research methods or cognate areas.

PUBH 700 - Perspectives in Public Health  

Dissertation (12 Hours or more)

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