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DrPH in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences

The DrPH in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences is an applied professional degree in which students develop practical, applied skills in public health program development, evaluation, and practice-oriented research for promoting community health in a global context. The DrPH program has a strong focus on the field applications of program planning, monitoring and evaluation as well as advanced study in addressing the social determinants of health, health systems, health policy, grant writing, and qualitative research methodologies. Students develop professional competencies suitable for positions in program leadership, evaluation, applied research, and teaching. Graduates are prepared for successful careers in national and international government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and state health departments, global nonprofit organizations, and public health institutes.

Program Competencies
  • Explain qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods and policy analysis research and evaluation methods to address health issues at multiple (individual, group, organization, community and population) levels
  • Design a qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods, policy analysis or evaluation project to address a public health issue
  • Explain the use and limitations of surveillance systems and national surveys in assessing, monitoring and evaluating policies and programs and to address a population’s health
  • Propose strategies for health improvement and elimination of health inequities by organizing stakeholders, including researchers, practitioners, community leaders and other partners
  • Communicate public health science to diverse stakeholders, including individuals at all levels of health literacy, for purposes of influencing behavior and policies
  • Integrate knowledge, approaches, methods, values and potential contributions from multiple professions and systems in addressing public health problems
  • Create a strategic plan
  • Facilitate shared decision making through negotiation and consensus-building methods
  • Create organizational change strategies
  • Propose strategies to promote inclusion and equity within public health programs, policies and systems
  • Assess one’s own strengths and weaknesses in leadership capacities, including cultural proficiency
  • Propose human, fiscal and other resources to achieve a strategic goal
  • Cultivate new resources and revenue streams to achieve a strategic goal
  • Design a system-level intervention to address a public health issue
  • Integrate knowledge of cultural values and practices in the design of public health policies and programs
  • Integrate scientific information, legal and regulatory approaches, ethical frameworks and varied stakeholder interests in policy development and analysis
  • Propose inter-professional team approaches to improving public health
  • Assess an audience’s knowledge and learning needs
  • Deliver training or educational experiences that promote learning in academic, organizational or community settings
  • Use best practice modalities in pedagogical practices
Admission Requirements

To be eligible for the DrPH program, students must have completed an MPH degree or equivalent with an outstanding academic record.

Applicants must meet the school’s admission requirements, submit the application through SOPHAS and include in their application three letters of reference from individuals who are familiar with their academic and/or professional performance.

Practical experience in public health is highly preferred. A post-bachelor’s degree GPA of 3.5 or higher and GREs in the upper 50th percentiles are also preferred. All applicants will be reviewed by faculty members prior to acceptance in order to assess interest and ensure that department faculty members have the expertise to mentor applicants’ chosen areas of study.

Complete applications must be received by the priority deadline of December 1 to be considered for fellowships and other student funding. To be considered for admission to GCHB doctoral programs without funding, the completed application must be received by January 15.

A complete application includes all required documentation --career statements, letters of recommendation and verified transcripts and GRE scores. We recommend applications and required documentation be submitted in sufficient time for SOPHAS to receive and verify transcripts and GRE scores to meet the respective deadlines.

For further details regarding admissions requirements to the school, see the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine “Policies and Procedures for Doctoral Programs” guide.

Degree Program Requirements

The DrPH degree requires a minimum of 72 post-baccalaureate credits, at least 36 of which must be fulfilled through advanced doctoral study at Tulane SPHTM. Up to 36 credits may be applied from a MPH or equivalent degree if those credits are public health related. If a prerequisite course or equivalent has not been fulfilled, the student must take the prerequisite course.

Additional prerequisites may be required above the 36 credits of advanced doctoral study if a student has not fulfilled requirements for the MPH degree.

Prerequisite Coursework (from prior master’s degree)

All admitted students must satisfy this prerequisite requirement. These are graduate level MPH courses or equivalents and must be completed as part of the Basic Foundations course prerequisites of the DrPH degree program. The credits for these prerequisites do not count toward the required 36 didactic hours at Tulane.

  • SPHL 6020 Foundations in Public Health (3) 
  • SPHL 6050 Biostatistics for Public Health (3)
  • SPHL 6060 Epidemiology for Public Health (3)
  • SPHL 6070 Leadership, Policy and Management for Public Health (3)
  • SPHL 6080 Planning and Evaluation of Public Health Programs (3)
  • GCHB 6110 Program Planning for Public Health (3)
  • GCHB 6120 Intro to Monitoring & Evaluation of Health Ed & Community Programs (3)

Advanced Doctoral Study (28 credits)

  • GCHB 7250 Research Methods in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (3)**

**If an entering student has exceptional research methods training and prior competency, that student could petition the instructor to challenge out of this required course. If the instructor allows the student to challenge out, he or she would be free to take any other 7000/8000 Research Methods course that meets SPHTM course requirements.

Advanced Qualitative Methods: Choose 1 of the 2 following classes

  • GCHB 7280 Qualitative Methods I : Foundations (2) or
  • GCHB 7290 Qualitative Methods II: Theory and Methods (2)
  • GCHB 8200 Evaluation Theory (3)

Advanced Monitoring and Evaluation Options: Choose 1 of the following 3 classes

  • GCHB 7070 (Social Impact of HIV/AIDS)  (3)
  • GCHB 7120 (Monitoring & Evaluation of Maternal and Child Health)  (3)
  • GCHB 7210 (Survey Data for Family Planning & Reproductive Health) (3)
  • GCHB 8820 Advanced Program Planning/Grant Writing (3)
  • Leadership Development course (in development) (3)
  • SPHL 8500 Interdisciplinary Seminar (1)
  • 7000/8000 Advanced Public Health 1 (3)
    In consultation with their advisor, students select one course from any 7000/8000 level course that focuses on social determinants of health and/or health communication.
  • 7000/8000 Advanced Public Health 2 (3)
    In consultation with an advisor, students will select one course from a variety of options. In consultation with their advisor, students select one course from any 7000/8000 level course that focuses on health policy.
  • 7000/8000 Advanced Public Health 3 (3)
    In consultation with their advisor, students will select one course In consultation with their advisor, students select one course from any 7000/8000 level course that focuses on health systems.

Elective Courses (8 credits)

Students select from courses offered within the department, school, or university in consultation with an academic advisor. Independent studies may fulfill this requirement. However, no more than 12 credits of independent study may be applied toward the doctoral degree. Elective courses may also be needed to fulfill the total of 72 credits required for the degree.

Research Ethics

Students are required to take online research ethics training via CITI or another equivalent training program in research ethics. This certification must remain current throughout the program duration.

Applied Practice Experience (APE)

A 300 hour advanced practice experience or practicum allows students to expand competencies and advance practice skills, under the direction of a qualified preceptor in a professional field setting. The APE should focus on developing advanced leadership and management skills in global health disciplines.

Students work with an advisor to develop a plan and a selection of practice-based work products that demonstrate the application or practice of at least 5 foundational or concentration-specific competencies, also chosen with the advisor. Of the chosen competencies, at least one must be related to leadership, management, or governance. The work product may be a single project or a set of related projects that demonstrate a depth of competence. The deliverable also contains a reflective component that includes the student’s expression of personal and/or professional reactions to the applied practice experience. This may take the form of a journal or other written product, a professional portfolio or another deliverable as appropriate for the program. Student products are evaluated against quality criteria on a customized rubric.

Comprehensive Exam

On completion of the coursework listed above, students will be required to pass a comprehensive examination to demonstrate DrPH program competencies, as well as knowledge related to their specific content area of expertise.

Integrated Learning Experience (ILE)

For their integrative learning experience, DrPH candidates must complete a dissertation focused on public health research that advances the field in scholarship, practice, or policy. Dissertations may include demonstration projects with a strong monitoring and evaluation component, in-depth policy analyses, detailed programmatic proposals, implementation of routine or standardized instruments, secondary analyses, and other applied products consistent with the purpose of the DrPH program.

Contact Us

Department Chair: Richard Oberhelman, MD

Program Director: David Seal, PhD

Department Administrator: Anita Jobson


Phone: (504) 988-5391

Ready for More?

You can learn more in a webcast.