PhD Curriculum Overview



The PhD in Public Health Sciences is designed to be a post master’s curriculum. Students who graduated with an MPH or MSPH degree from a Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH) accredited program or school are assumed to have met the required prerequisite foundation courses. Students entering with a master’s degree in a field other than public health must complete the Required Prerequisite Foundation courses in Public Health in the first year of starting the program in consultation with the PhD Director and/or Advisor.  For information on completing these pre-requisites before matriculation, click here.

For detailed course descriptions please see the Course Catalog.

For program requirements please see the PhD Handbook.

Required Prerequisite Foundation courses in Public Health (9 credits)

HLTH 6200                Introduction to Public Health

HLTH 6202               Community Epidemiology (introductory epidemiology)

HLTH 6203                Public Health Data Analysis (introductory biostatistics)

PhD in Public Health Sciences Curriculum

The curriculum for the PhD in Public Health Sciences with a concentration in Behavioral Sciences consists of 63 credit hours at the graduate level. All PhD students take required Core Public Health courses in methods (15 credit hours) and professional seminars (9 credit hours). For the concentration in Behavioral Sciences, students take 12 credit hours focused on social determinants and theory. Students will also take 9 credit hours in a specialty area of their choosing. All students will then complete 18 hours of dissertation research.

Core Public Health Courses (24 credit hours):

Methods  (15 credit hours)

HLTH 8201/HSRD 8101       Introduction to Quantitative Research Design (3)

HLTH 8281                          Measurement and Scale Development (3)

HLTH 8282                          Health Survey Design and Research (3)

HLTH 8270/HSRD 8110      Applied Biostatistics: Regression (3)

HLTH 8271/HSRD 8111      Applied Biostatistics: Multivariate Methods (3)

Professional Seminars  (9 credit hours)

HLTH 8601                            Ethics and Integrity in Health Research and Practice (3)

HLTH 8602                            Communicating and Disseminating Research (3)

HLTH 8603                            Teaching Portfolio (3)

Concentration in Behavioral Sciences Courses (12 credit hours)

HLTH 8220                           Theories and Interventions in Behavioral Science (3)

HLTH 8221                           Qualitative Research 1:  Theory Generation in Behavioral Sciences (3)

HLTH 8222                           Qualitative Research 2:  Theory Generation and Analysis in Behavioral Sciences (3)

HLTH 8223                           Social Determinants of Health (3)

Specialty content focus (9 credit hours) – Specialty content areas will be developed in consultation with the doctoral student’s advisor and make use of expertise and course offerings around the UNC Charlotte campus. Specialty content areas can focus on a specific population (e.g. older adults/gerontology or maternal & child health [MCH]), a specific health issue (e.g. AIDS), social determinant such as culture or gender, or approach (e.g. psychology). Ideally each specialty area would cover literature related to: health and social policy issues, epidemiology of a health condition/population, relevant theories or approaches related to the condition/population, and/or current topics in the area. Course work must be at the 6000/8000 level.

Dissertation (minimum 18 credit hours)

HLTH 8901                         Dissertation Reserch (18)   


At the UNC Charlotte Public Health Science booth at the 2015 APHA conference in Chicago, Dr. Michele Issel, professor and Director of the PhD in Public Health Sciences Program, had a copy of her textbook Health Program Planning and Evaluation: A Pragmatic, Systematic Approach for Community Health on the table. Students from across the county who use her textbook would recognize the book. Michele then cajoled the students into a photo with the author. Monique Waters, pictured with Michele, was one such student. 



L. Michele Issel, PhD, RN
Professor, Director PhD in Public Health Sciences Program
Dept. of Public Health Sciences
College of Health and Human Services
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd.Charlotte, NC 28223
Phone: 704-687-7191

Public Health PhD Program

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