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PhD in Global Environmental Health Sciences

The PhD degree in the Global Environmental Health Sciences Department is an advanced research degree that prepares students to employ laboratory and community approaches to address adverse environmental health impacts. Students use basic and applied research methodologies to examine consequences of chemical and non-chemical stressors and disasters. Graduates of the PhD programs advance to careers at academic institutions, governmental agencies, industry and nonprofit organizations.

Program Competencies
  • Design original environmental health research.
  • Collect data to address environmental health problems.
  • Analyze environmental health data.
  • Make recommendations based on environmental health data.
  • Communicate environmental health research findings.
Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the school's admission requirements for entrance into doctoral programs.

Degree Program Requirements

The PhD program requires a minimum of 72 post-baccalaureate degree credits, with at least 30 credits of doctoral study at Tulane SPHTM. Up to 42 credits may be applied from the MPH or equivalent master’s degree. Upon admission to the PhD program, faculty review the master’s degree coursework to determine credits that may be applied toward the PhD degree. If a prerequisite course or equivalent has not been fulfilled, the student must take the course in addition to the 30 credits of advanced doctoral study, but may count toward the total 72 credits. All students in SPHTM without prior public health degrees are also required to take SPHL 6020 Foundations in Public Health that provides an overview of public health. [link to PhD Handbook]

The PhD must be completed within seven years of matriculation into the doctoral program.

Prerequisite Coursework (from prior master's degree)

Students who do not have these prerequisites are required to take these or equivalent courses.

  • GEHS 6030 Survey of Environmental Health (or equivalent)
  • GEHS 6600 Principles of Toxicology (or equivalent)
  • SPHL 6020 Foundations of Public Health (or equivalent)
  • SPHL 6050 Biostatistics for Public Health (or equivalent)
  • SPHL 6060 Epidemiology for Public Health (or equivalent)

Required Courses (at least 10 credits)

  • BIOS 6040 Intermediate Biostatistics (3)
  • EPID 7120 Epidemiologic Methods II (3)
  • SPHL 8500 Interdisciplinary Doctoral Seminar (1)
  • GEHS 7270 Epidemiological Applications of Env Health Sciences Research (3)

Elective Courses (minimum 20 credits)

Electives selected from relevant advanced courses offered within the department, school, or university in consultation with an academic advisor. Additional credits may be needed to obtain a total of 72 credits. No more than 12 credits of special (independent) studies may be applied toward the doctoral 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.

Comprehensive Exam 

The departmental faculty administer the comprehensive examination. The exam should be taken no later than a year after completing all required coursework. The comprehensive exam is offered in January, August, or by special arrangement. The exam consists of written questions from the faculty that gauge the student’s ability to identify, assess, and propose approaches to study environmental health problems.

Students have two attempts to pass the examination; the second attempt must take place within a year of the first. (Link to GEHS PhD guidance)

Doctoral Committee 

After successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student forms a dissertation committee and develops a prospectus. The committee must include a minimum of three members with at least two faculty from the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences and one external to the school.

Prospectus 

Students work with their advisor and doctoral committee to determine a research hypothesis and prepare a prospectus of proposed dissertation research. The research prospectus is presented and defended at least one semester before the dissertation defense. Following the successful defense of the prospectus, students are admitted to PhD candidacy and proceed with dissertation research.

Dissertation 

Students must conduct original research and defend a dissertation based on that research. The dissertation research demonstrates scholarly work and is the basis for the dissertation. The student defends the dissertation to their committee; the dissertation committee and SPHTM Executive Faculty approve the dissertation.

Please the doctoral students resources page for handbooks, FAQs, and other tools. 

Degree Program Requirements (entry prior to Fall 2018)

The PhD program requires a minimum of 72 post-baccalaureate degree credits with at least 30 credits of doctoral study at Tulane SPHTM. Up to 42 credits may be applied from the MPH or equivalent master’s degree.  These credits will be reviewed and those that do not fulfill the PhD competencies may not be accepted. If a prerequisite course or equivalent has not been fulfilled, the student must take the course in addition to the 30 credits of advanced doctoral study, but may count toward the total 72 credits.

The advisor works with the students in identifying the course of study in the doctoral program. If the doctoral student does not have a prior public health degree, they must obtain a grounding in public health. See Doctoral Student Handbook.

Prerequisite Coursework

  • BIOS 6030 Introductory Biostatistics
  • EPID 6030 Epidemiological Methods 1
  • GEHS 6030 Survey of Environmental Health
  • GEHS 6600 Principles of Toxicology

PhD Required Courses

Advanced Doctoral Study – At least 30 didactic credits of advanced study beyond the master’s degree are required:

  • BIOS 6040 Intermediate Biostatistics (3)
  • EPID 7120 Epidemiologic Methods II (3) 
  • SPHL 8500 Interdisciplinary Doctoral Seminar (1)
  • GEHS 7270 Epidemiological Applications of Environmental Health Sciences Research (3)
  • GEHS 7430 Laboratory Methods in Environmental Health Sciences (4)

Elective courses

Selected from courses offered within the department, school, or university in consultation with an academic advisor. Additional credits may be needed to obtain a total of 72 credits.

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.

Comprehensive Exam

Students will be required to pass a written comprehensive examination that demonstrates in-depth knowledge of environmental health sciences.

Prospectus

Students must prepare and defend a prospectus of proposed research.

Dissertation

Students must conduct original research, and prepare and defend a dissertation. 

Academic Standards

Students in the PhD program are required to maintain standards of performance and must earn a "B" or better in all required coursework.

Contact Us

Department Chair: Maureen Lichtveld, MD, MPH

Program Director: Charles Miller, PhD

Department Administrator: Geraldine Neville

Email: gehsinfo@tulane.edu

Phone: (504) 988-5374

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