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PhD in Tropical Medicine

Aedes Aegypti mosquito, photo by Jim Gathany, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control.

The PhD program in Tropical Medicine is an advanced degree that prepares students to pursue careers in tropical medicine. The PhD graduate is expected to have knowledge across a wide range tropical diseases as well as sustained experience in the conduct of research in one or more content areas. Graduates of the PhD program pursue careers in basic and applied research in academic institutions, governmental agencies, industry and nonprofit organizations.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the school's admission and application requirements for entrance into doctoral programs at SPHTM. In addition, to be considered for admission with funding to the Department of Tropical Medicine (DTM), students should have:

  • Completed the requirements for a master’s degree in a field related to the doctoral area of study.
  • Official transcripts of all baccalaureate and graduate coursework should be forwarded directly from each college or university to SOPHAS, the online application that verifies the transcripts of Tulane SPHTM applicants.
  • For students with a master’s degree, a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale for graduate and undergraduate coursework is required.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores in the 75% percentile are preferred for the verbal and quantitative tests. Official test scores are required of all doctoral applicants.
Degree Program Requirements & Competencies–48 credit hours

Revised for Fall 2022


  1. Critique the scientific literature for validity and relevance to tropical pathogens and vectors.
  2. Design relevant research approaches that address problems of management, diagnosis, or biology of tropical diseases.
  3. Evaluate the factors that affect pathogen transmission of infectious diseases commonly found in the tropics.
  4. Produce communication of original research methods and results for peer groups, students, practitioners/industry, and the general public.
  5. Design research using the relevant methods for planning and evaluating tropical disease control and prevention.
  6. Design teaching and learning experiences grounded in pedagogical best practices in a chosen area of expertise.
  7. Develop a grant proposal for a public health research study with a compelling scientific narrative, description of investigator capacity, timeline, and budget.


Students must complete 48 credit hours of coursework and doctoral studies beyond the baccalaureate, with a minimum of 30 didactic hours at Tulane in the doctoral program.

PhD Foundational Requirements–18 credit hours

  • SPHL 6020 Foundations in Public Health (3 credits)
  • SPHL 6050 Biostatistics for Public Health (3 credits)
  • SPHL 6060 Epidemiology for Public Health (3 credits)
  • TRMD 6050 Medical Helminthology (3 credits)
  • TRMD 6060 Medical Entomology (3 credits)
  • TRMD 6070 Medical Protozoology and Malaria (3 credits)

PhD Core Course Requirements–12 credit hours

  • EPID 7120 Epidemiologic Methods II (3 credits)
  • BIOS 6040 Intermediate Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • SPHL 8080 Public Health Pedagogy (3 credits)
  • SPHL 7500 Public Health Grant Writing (3 credits)

Concentration-Specific PhD Required Courses–12 credit hours

  • TRMD 7020 Infectious Disease Seminar (taken twice) (1+1 credits)
  • TRMD 7180 or TRMD 7800 Immunoparasitology, or Advanced Medical Entomology (2 credits)
  • TRMD 6200 or TRMD 7420 Impact Evaluation in Global Health Population Based Malaria Prevention and Control (3 credits)
  • TRMD 8100 Laboratory Rotation 2 Credits TRMD 8080 Advanced Molecular Epidemiology Methods I (3 credits)
  • TRMD 7020 or TRMD 7000 Infectious Disease Seminar Tropical Medicine Seminar (0 credits)

PhD Elective Courses–6 hours

Electives are selected from relevant advanced level courses offered within the department, school, or university in consultation with an academic advisor. 6 credits minimum; Additional credits as needed to reach 48 credit graduation requirement and/or fulfill PhD Foundation Course requirements.

Educational teaching assistant experience

All PhD students at SPHTM are required to serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for two SPHTM courses while enrolled in the PhD program.  Students should register for Teaching Assistantship Educational Experience (0 credits) during the terms they complete each TA requirement. 

*All other program requirements (e.g. research ethics, comprehensive exam, prospectus, and dissertation) remain the same across the old and revised programs, as outlined in the SPHTM PhD Handbook.

Department Chair: Ronald Blanton, MD

Program Director: Dawn Wesson, PhD

Department Administrator: Katherine Mosier


Phone: (504) 988-6369

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