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 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 (Case Studies in Public Health, or other introductory public health course; 3 credits)

HLTH 6211 (Evidence-Based Methods, or other introductory epidemiology course; 3 credits),

HLTH 6271 (Public Health Data Analysis, or other introductory biostatistics; 3 credits)

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: Methods (15 credits)

HLTH 8201 Introduction to Quantitative Research Design (3)

HLTH 8270 Applied Biostatistics: Regression (3)

HLTH 8271 Applied Biostatistics: Multivariate (3)

HLTH 8281 Measurement and Scale Development (3)

HLTH 8282 Health Survey Design and Research (3)

Core Public Health Courses: Professional Seminars (9 credits)

HLTH 8601 Ethics in the Public Health Profession (3)

HLTH 8602 Communicating and Disseminating Research (3)

HLTH 8603 Teaching Portfolio (3)

Concentration Courses- Behavioral Sciences (12 credits)

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 credits)

Specialty content areas are developed in consultation with the doctoral student’s advisor and make use of expertise and course offerings on the UNC Charlotte campus. Specialty content areas can focus on a specific population (e.g. older adults/gerontology or maternal and child health (MCH)), a health issue (e.g., asthma), or approach (e.g., psychology). A specialty content area should 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.

Coursework in the specialty content focus must be at the 6000-8000 level. Courses at the 5000 level will not be accepted as graduate courses. Students may take courses at the 4000 or 5000 as electives but they do not contribute to fulfilling the required program course requirements.

Some areas students may choose to provide depth in an area of special interest within the Behavioral Science concentration include

• Aging/long-term care

• Chronic disease management

• Health disparities

• Health promotion

• Maternal and child health

• Mental health

• Research methods

Students may define an area of interest not listed pending approval of the Program Director, Dissertation Committee Chair/faculty advisor, and other faculty as needed. A student may also select another relevant area of interest, providing it can be fulfilled with existing graduate courses or through independent study courses with Public Health Sciences PhD faculty.

Dissertation (18 credits)

HLTH 8901 Dissertation Research (18)

As defined in the Graduate Catalog, a semester course load totaling nine credit hours is considered full-time. Doctoral-level courses are considerably more time-consuming than most courses at the master’s level, and doctoral students should also typically be involved in conducting research in collaboration with faculty. Students should not typically register for more than 10 credit hours in a given semester. A course load less than nine hours is considered part-time.


Ahmed A. Arif, PhD
Professor, Director of PhD Programs in Health Services Research and Public Health Sciences
Department of Public Health Sciences
College of Health and Human Services
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28223
Phone: 704-687-8719