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DrPH in Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences

The purpose of the DrPH program in Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences is to provide advanced training for professionals in applied public health program development, evaluation, and program-relevant research in promoting community health in a global context. The program prepares individuals for professional practice where graduates progress to careers in national and international government agencies (such as the Centers for Disease Control and state health departments), global nonprofit organizations, as well as public health institutes. Graduates are expected to have responsibilities that would include program leadership, evaluation, applied research, and teaching.

Admission Requirements

Students applying to the Doctor of Public Health in Social, Behavioral, and Population Sciences program must meet the school's general admission requirements and submit materials per the application requirements.

Program Competencies
  • Coordinate community organization and mobilization.
  • Develop theory and evidence-based methods needs assessments and strategic plans to critically address a public health need in diverse settings.
  • Critically synthesize and critique empirical and theoretical knowledge relevant to a specified public health program, analyze gaps, and develop a plan to address identified gaps.
  • Advance programs, policies, services and/or systems to improve population health using diverse research methods.
  • Critically synthesize and analyze the impact of social and behavioral determinants on individual, community, and population health.
  • Translate research findings to communities, policy makers, and other stakeholder groups.
Degree Requirements

Students must complete 72 credit hours of coursework and doctoral studies beyond the baccalaureate, with a minimum of 36 didactic hours at Tulane, within the doctoral program. Coursework will be comprised of three levels: MPH prerequisites, DrPH degree competencies, and DrPH in SBPS degree competencies.

Students may apply up to 36 credits from the MPH degree toward the 72 credits for the DrPH degree. The SPHTM MPH foundational courses (or equivalents) and the SBPS courses SBPS 6030 and SBPS 6340 (or equivalents) are required prior to matriculation into the SBPS DrPH degree program. If an applicant has not completed one or more of these prerequisite courses, then they will be required to take them. While the prerequisite credits apply to the total 72 credits for the degree, they will not count toward the required 36 advanced credit didactic at Tulane.

MPH Prerequisites:

SBPS 6030 Social and Behavioral Aspects of Global Health or equivalent (3 Credits)
SBPS 6340 Monitoring and Evaluation of Global Health Programs or equivalent (3 Credits)
SPHL 6020 Foundations of Public Health (3 Credits)
SPHL 6050 Biostatistics for Public Health (3 Credits)
SPHL 6060 Epidemiology for Public Health (3 Credits)
SPHL 6070 Health Systems Policy & Management (3 Credits)
SPHL 6080 Design Strategies for Public Health Programs (3 Credits)

DrPH Foundational Required Courses (11 Credits)

SBPS 7280 or SBPS 7290 Qualitative Methods (I or II) (2 Credits)
SBPS 8200 Evaluation Theory (3 Credits)
SBPS 8820 Advanced Program Planning and Grant Writing (3 Credits)
SPHL 7020 Leadership Theory and Practice for Public Health Professionals (3 Credits)

DrPH in SBPS Requirements (16 Credits)

SBPS 7250  Research Methods in the Social and Behavioral Sciences (fulfills SPHTM advanced research methods requirement)** (3 Credits)

Advanced Monitoring and Evaluation (Chose 1 from below)
SBPS 7070 Social Impact of HIV/AIDS
SBPS 7120 Monitoring and Evaluation of Maternal Child Health
SBPS 7210 Survey Data for Family Planning & Reproductive Health (3 Credits)

SBPS 8800/8830  Senior Graduate Research Seminar (SBPS Doctoral Seminar) (1 Credit)
7000/8000  Advanced Public Health-1 (Social Determinants/Health Communication course) (TBD by advisor/student) (3 Credits)
7000/8000  Advanced Public Health-2 (Health Policy course) (TBD by advisor/student) (3 Credits)
7000/8000  Advanced Public Health-3 (Health Systems course) (TBD by advisor/student) (3 Credits)

**If an entering student had previous graduate-level research methods coursework and/or exceptional prior training and competency, they could petition the instructor to challenge out of the required course. If approved by the instructor, the student would be free to take any other 7000/8000 course meeting the SPHTM Research Methods course requirements.

Elective Courses: Remainder of credits beyond requirements to reach 72 credits are electives selected by the student and advisor. The student may select courses to gain greater depth in an area or expand the breadth of their studies that prepare a student for future career goals. No more than 9 credits of independent studies may be applied toward the DrPH degree.

Research Ethics

Doctoral 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.


A 300-hour advanced Applied Practice Experience (practicum) that allows students to expand competencies and advance practice skills, under the direction of a qualified preceptor in the practice setting, is required. This practicum should focus on developing advanced leadership and management skills in global health disciplines. The advisor works with each student to develop measurable learning objectives prior to their practicum experience. Self-assessment and reflection as well as assessment of teams, peers and supervisors are important skills in future public health leaders.

Comprehensive Examination

On completion of the coursework listed above students will be required to pass a comprehensive examination to demonstrate knowledge of, and competency with, the basic and advanced foundation coursework, as well as their specialty area.


Students must complete a dissertation representing applied public health research that meets the school requirements for a DrPH dissertation.

Contact Us

Department Interim Chair: David Hotchkiss, PhD

Program Director: David Seal, PhD

Program Manager: Anita Jobson-Wolfe


Phone: (504) 988-5391

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