Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree requires a significant program of study and research that qualifies the recipient to work independently and contribute to the advancement of the field of knowledge. The emphasis is on mastery of the field and particularly on the acquisition of research skills as a basis for original work.

The three PhD programs in Public Health can be pursued in any of the following areas: Epidemiology, Health Behavior and Health Promotion, and Health Services Management and Policy. In addition, the two public health interdisciplinary PhD programs are available in Biostatistics (with the Department of Statistics) and a specialization in Environmental Public Health (via the interdisciplinary Environmental Science Graduate Program, ESGP).

PhD Program Specializations

Interdisciplinary PhD in Biostatistics

Develop your ability to create new methodologies and address applied questions in biomedical sciences and public health.

Interdisciplinary PhD, Environmental Public Health

Develop your research expertise as you learn and understand the intersection between public health and the environment, and the multidisciplinary approaches needed to make an impact.


Become an expert as you gain the advanced knowledge required to quantify the relationship between exposure and disease, along with how intervention can reduce risk.

Health Behavior and Health Promotion

Harness applied and basic research skills that will prepare you to contribute to community and individual health and well-being.

Health Services Management and Policy

The doctoral program prepares thought leaders with a deep understanding and expertise in health care services management and policy.

Residency Requirement

In addition to the overall credit requirement, doctoral students must fulfill residence requirements after the master’s degree has been earned or after the first 30 credit hours of graduate credit have been completed (for more information visit the Graduate School's page on this topic):

A minimum of 24 graduate credit hours required for the PhD must be completed at The Ohio State University

  1. A minimum of two consecutive pre-candidacy semesters or one semester and a summer session with full time enrollment must be completed while in residence at The Ohio State University
  2. A minimum of six graduate credit hours over a period of at least two semesters or one semester and a summer session must be completed after admission to candidacy.

Course Requirements

Each PhD student must have a specialization ("major") that is drawn primarily from one of the core areas of the College of Public Health.  While the definition of the major field may be responsive to individual interests, it is the responsibility of the division and the student's Advisory Committee to ensure that the student has an adequate grounding in the representative content of the field.  In addition, the student is required to show expertise in the research methods appropriate for the major field chosen and to select a supporting minor field.  Fields of specialization may create standardized curriculum requirements to meet the expectations of the discipline or may permit more discretion by the Advisory Committee.

Learn More

For information on how to apply, recommended preparation and FAQs, please visit Apply to Graduate Programs.