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Dr.P.H. Graduation Requirements

Dr.P.H. Program
Grades

Dr. P.H. level degree-seeking students are required to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 to remain in good academic standing and to be eligible to graduate. In the event the cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation. Students have nine semester credits to elevate the cumulative GPA to at least 3.0 or will be excluded from the program. Students earning grades of “D” or below will be excluded from the program.

Residency

The Dr. P.H. program requires a minimum of one academic year of continual enrollment.

Foreign Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement.

Transfer Credits

Students may request that up to, but no more than, 6 graduate credit hours be applied toward the 60 credit required for the Dr. P.H. Transfer credit must also satisfy the same requirements as courses taught for doctoral training within the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (e.g., minimum grade of B), be consonant with the student’s approved program of study, and have been received from a regionally accredited college or university. Thesis and dissertation credits can not be transferred. The student must provide documentation in support of equivalence, such as a course syllabus, transcript, term paper, and/or instructor testimony. Equivalence is determined by the Division Director. Credit reductions do not influence the residency and enrollment requirements or comprehensive examination procedures.

Course Time Limit

All requirements for the Dr. P.H. must be completed within seven academic years from the date of the first enrollment for study following admission to the doctoral program. For transfer students, the seven-year time limit commences with the semester during which transfer credit was earned.

Dr.P.H. Programs of Study:

Every Dr.P.H. student must file an Official Doctoral Program of Study Form with the College of Graduate Studies. This is a formal list of courses the student intends to complete to fulfill the requirements for the degree and should consist solely of courses directly related to the doctoral degree. A student should prepare the form in consultation with his/her advisor/major professor and committee. The form must be signed by the student, and approved by the advisor/major professor and committee members. It is then submitted to the College of Graduate Studies for final approval. The JPHCOPH requires all Dr.P.H. students to file a Program of Study with the COGS after the completion of 18 semester hours of Dr.P.H. coursework. Students must file their Program of Study with the College of Graduate Studies not later than the end of the semester prior to the expected graduation term.

Candidacy Examination:

To enter the Dissertation process, students must have successfully completed the DrPH Candidacy Examination. The purpose of the Candidacy Examination is to allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the public health competencies including the integration and application of the student’s knowledge to problems in public health principles obtained at the doctoral level of study. The exam will consist of two distinct components: 1) The Public Health Core Exam and 2) The Concentration- Specific Assessment.

1) The Public Health Core Exam:

  • Timing and Eligibility: Students are eligible to take the Core Exam any time after completing the first six PUBH core courses (PUBH 8130, 8136, 8132, 8134, 8133, 9130). With the standard course sequence, students will have completed these courses at the end of Summer I. The Core Exam will be offered two (2) times throughout the year – two (2) weeks following final exams of the spring semester in May and one (1) week before the beginning of classes in August. The exam will be administered through JPHCOPH and proctored by a faculty member of the College.
  • Applying to take the Core Exam: To apply to take the exam, the student must: 1) Complete the DrPH Core/Concentration Candidacy Examination/Portfolio Application Form and submit it to their Academic Advisor.
  • Procedure: The Core Exam will be administered as a sit-down, one-day, 8-hour exam. Students will be required to answer 1 question in each discipline (Community Health, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Health Policy and Management, and Environmental Health) for a total of five answered questions. The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will organize and administer the exam, and notify students of results using the DrPH Core Candidacy Exam Report Form. Responses will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Students must pass all 5 questions. In the event a student fails more than one of the questions, she/he may re-take these portions of the exam once.
  • Failure to successfully complete the core exam will result in academic exclusion.

2) The Concentration-Specific Assessment:

  • Timing and Eligibility:
    • Community Health Behavior and Education (CHBE) and Public Health Leadership (PHLD): The Concentration Assessment will be incorporated into PUBH 9630- Public Health Doctoral Seminar. Students will be eligible to enroll in PUBH 9630 after completing all coursework except PUBH 9132 and 9135 (which are taken summer II in the full-time course sequence). This would occur in Spring II in the full-time course sequence, or spring III or IV for part-time students.
    • Biostatistics (BIOS): Students do not take PUBH 9630. Students will be eligible to take Biostatistics Concentration Assessment, in the form of an in-class and take-home exam after completing all Biostatistics coursework except PUBH 9132 and 9135 (which are taken summer II in the full-time course sequence). This would occur in Spring II in the full-time course sequence, or spring III or IV for part-time students.
    • Epidemiology (EPID): Student do not take PUBH 9630. Students will be eligible to take Epidemiology Concentration Assessment, in the form of an in-class and take-home examination after completing all Epidemiology coursework except PUBH 9132 and 9135 (which are taken summer II in the full-time course sequence). This would occur in Spring II in the full-time course sequence, or Spring III or IV for part-time students.
  • Applying to take the Concentration Specific Assessment: All DrPH Students must complete the DrPH Core/Concentration Candidacy Exam/Portfolio Application and submit it to their Academic Advisor.
  • Procedure: The Concentration-Specific Assessments will be designed, administered, and evaluated by the concentration faculty (PHLD, CHBE, and BIOS disciplines). Department Chairs will notify the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs of results, and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs will notify students using the DrPH Concentration Candidacy Exam/ Portfolio Report Form. Exam format will vary by discipline.
    • CHBE and PHLD: The Concentration Assessment will be incorporated into PUBH 9630, the Public Health Doctoral Seminar, and will involve the development of a portfolio of materials reflecting mastery of concentration-specific competencies. This will be evaluated by CHBE/PHLD faculty
      (pass/fail).
    • BIOS: The Concentration Assessment will involve two sections 1) a timed, in-class exam and 2) a take-home exam to assess concentration-specific competencies. Both portions will be evaluated by BIOS faculty (pass/fail). If a student fails a section, she/he may retake it once.
    • EPID: The Concentration Assessment will involve two sections 1) a timed, in-class examination and 2) a take-home examination to assess concentration-specific competencies. Both portions will be evaluated by EPID faculty (pass/fail). If a student fails a section, she/he may retake it once.

Following successful completion of both 1) The Public Health Core exam and 2) The Concentration-Specific Assessment (Exam or Portfolio), the student will be deemed to have passed the DrPH Candidacy Examination. This will be documented via the DrPH Candidacy Recommendation Form, which will be filed with the COGS by the student’s advisor. At this point, students are eligible to register for Dissertation credits.


Doctoral Public Health Field Experience

According to the CEPH (2007), a practical field experience in public health is an essential component of a comprehensive public health education. The intent of the Preceptorship is to place students who have mastered knowledge, skills and abilities required of contemporary public health professionals in a practice, field-based situation. The Preceptorship allows students an opportunity “to bridge theory to practice.” This experience will be monitored, refined and evaluated by experienced practitioners and leaders of the public health community.

The Preceptorship experience equates to a cumulative 300-hour field requirement (3 semester credit hours).

  • Fall /Spring enrollment equals a minimum of 20 hours per week over the 15 week semester
  • Summer enrollment equals a minimum of 25 hours per week over the 12 week semester

Although some variation may exist with respect to the exact number of hours per week at the site, the preceptorship represents a longitudinal experience so students are strongly urged to adhere to the hour per week minimums outlined above. In certain situations, organizational representatives may only agree to serve as preceptors if students commit to more than the number of hours per week required by the JPHCOPH. In these instances, students must fully understand site expectations and agree to comply with the preceptor’s requirements. Otherwise, students must choose an alternative site. In addition, students who work full-time may need to take a leave, personal days and/or vacation time to help meet the required Preceptorship hours. Being employed full-time does not excuse a student from a Preceptorship.

Students need to clearly understand that the logistics of completing a Preceptorship may incur additional costs including, but not limited to, travel, lodging, and meals. In addition, acceptable Preceptorship locations are defined by the skill level and expertise of site supervisors. While some acceptable opportunities exist locally, students should NOT expect to find an acceptable Preceptorship site in Statesboro and the surrounding areas. Due to the rural nature of this part of Georgia, locating necessary resources and adequately training supervisors are often times problematic.


Dissertation Registration Process

Once a student becomes eligible for candidacy, they will be allowed to register for Dissertation credits. To register for Dissertation credit hours, the student will need to complete the Dissertation Over-ride Form and submit it to the Administrative Assistant for Academic Affairs for administrative registration. A Dissertation Over-ride Form must be completed every semester the student registers for Dissertation credits.

Dissertation

The Dissertation is the final product in evidence that a student has fulfilled the requirements for the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree awarded by the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH) and the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies (COGS).

The Dissertation serves as the culminating academic experience for students in the DrPH program. The doctoral degree is granted in recognition of scholarly competence in public health and distinctive achievement in a specific area of public health practice: Biostatistics, Community Health Behavior and Education, Epidemiology, or Public Health Leadership. The first component is demonstrated by successful completion of advanced course work, a public health preceptorship, and satisfactory performance on the candidacy examination. The second component is demonstrated by completion of a major, independent research project. The doctoral Dissertation must comprise a genuine contribution to knowledge in the field. Although publication is not required, the quality of a Dissertation must be sufficient to warrant its publication in a professional journal, book, or monograph. Also, Dissertation research requires a research protocol (Prospectus) be developed. The Dissertation research can begin only after the Prospectus is approved and Institutional Review Board approvals are obtained.

The Dissertation research must be substantially original or applied, and must make a contribution to the existing field of knowledge within the student’s program concentration. The reputation and quality of a university’s graduate programs are measured in part by the quality of dissertations, which are available for close scrutiny by scholars and laypersons alike. Doctoral students must submit the Dissertation for publication by UMI Dissertation Publishing in Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI) database. These provide permanent, tangible evidence of the scholarly achievements and standards of the author, Dissertation Chair, and the JPHCOPH at Georgia Southern University. For these reasons, dissertations must be prepared with exceptional care, not only with respect to proper references and conclusions, but also with respect to grammar, spelling, consistency of terminology and citations, and appearance. UMI submission is required by JPHCOPH.

Upon completion of the research, the student must complete and defend his/her final Dissertation to all Committee members. The final Dissertation with all revisions made must be approved by the Dissertation Chair. The Dissertation and its Defense must be approved by all Committee members. The Defense should be open to the public. The Dissertation Chair will notify both the student and the COGS in writing of the outcome of the Dissertation Defense. All requirements for the DrPH, including the presentation and Defense of the Dissertation project, must be completed within seven academic years from the date of initial enrollment for study following admission to the doctoral program. Students should confer with their Dissertation Chair, as well as with the Department Chair and COGS, to ensure that the composition of their Dissertation Committee meets the University’s requirements. In addition, students are expected to follow all guidelines as specified by the COGS regarding the proper preparation and submission of their dissertation.

Student Advisor

The role of the Student Services Coordinator is to assist the student in developing a Program of Study for the degree and that assures sufficient flexibility to satisfy individual goals. The coordinator is responsible for reviewing and discussing the requirements of both the College of Public Health and the College of Graduate Studies with the student to ensure that the student is fully informed of the requirements necessary for completing the Dr.P.H. degree.

Faculty Mentor

The faculty mentor develops a relationship with the student based on open communication. The mentor is responsible for the overall guidance and professional development of the student. It is often through this relationship that students acquire the doctoral-level training in sophisticated analytical thinking, identification of significant questions and literature in the field, and understanding of the experimental and disciplinary concepts and design of approaches to productively address problems in public health. In many cases, the mentor will also be the student’s dissertation committee Chair and thus will play an active role in proposing appropriate professional and/or research opportunities, as well as monitoring the student’s progress.

Last updated: 5/9/2016