PhD Program Details

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A PhD program at SPPH is intended for students who wish to obtain advanced research training that will enable them to conduct independent investigative research. The program usually takes at least four years of full-time study to complete.

You can choose from a wide range of areas of focus for your thesis, keeping in mind that a minimum of 16.5 credits need to be taken in the core courses listed below. You will also need to maintain a B+ (76%) average in your course work. The program also requires the successful completion of a comprehensive exam and successful defense of a thesis. As part of your program at SPPH, you will be introduced to interdisciplinary research and learning, participate in peer-led discussions, and work closely with a faculty supervisor. SPPH has an active student association, The Association of Population and Public Health Students (TAPPHS), which offers opportunities to broaden your connection with fellow scholars through events such as the annual SPPH Exchange.

Core Courses

These courses are required of all PhD students.
SPPH 400 Statistics for Health Research3 Credits
SPPH 400 Planned collection, numeric and graphic summarization, and elementary statistical analysis of data. Traditional Syllabus DL Syllabus
SPPH 500 Analytical Methods in Epidemiological Research 3 Credits
SPPH 500 Basic epidemiological designs as a framework for commonly used biostatistical techniques such as the Mantel-Haenszel, chi-squared, linear and logistic regression, and survival analysis. Traditional Syllabus DL Syllabus
SPPH 502 Epidemiological Methods I 3 Credits
SPPH 502 Sources and uses of epidemiologic data for health services planning and administration including methods of data collection and study design. Traditional Syllabus DL Syllabus
SPPH 504 Application of Epidemiological Methods 3 Credits
SPPH 504 Learn how to apply methods taught in previous courses towards the development of a fundable research protocol and the analysis and interpretation of real epidemiologic data. Syllabus (Section 001) Syllabus (Section 007)
SPPH 607 Research in Progress 1.5 Credits
SPPH 607 SPPH 607 in conjunction with SPPH 507 is a required course for students in the PhD program. Students present and discuss their research and other topics of interest. Syllabus
SPPH 621 Approaches to Enquiry in Population and Public Health 3 Credits
SPPH 621 Research approaches in the area of population and public health; focus on developing research questions and the centrality of research questions in conducting research. Syllabus
SPPH 699 PhD Thesis 0 Credits
SPPH 699 PhD Thesis Thesis Details

At Least One of the Following

SPPH 503 Epidemiological Methods II3 Credits
SPPH 503 Planned collection, numeric and graphic summarization, and elementary statistical analysis of data. Traditional Syllabus DL Syllabus
SPPH 506 Quantitative Research Methods 3 Credits
SPPH 506 Major quantitative research designs, measurement reliability and validity, common data sources used, internal and external validity, research proposals, and peer review. Traditional Syllabus
SPPH 519 Qualitative Methods in Health Research Design 3 Credits
SPPH 519 Purposes, context, procedures, and relationships within qualitative health research and methodologies. Traditional Syllabus
SPPH 530 Epidemiology of Occupational and Environmental Health 3 Credits
SPPH 530 No sections currently offered.


If you have taken an equivalent course previously, you can ask for an exemption, except for SPPH 607. If you want to check whether you are eligible for an exemption, please contact the course instructor before the first class is held. Should you receive an exemption, you will still need to register for the course, which will show on your transcript as ‘EX’. It’s important to note that this will not reduce the total credits required for the degree – you will need to substitute the same number of credits by taking a different course.

Part-time Study

Completing a PhD part-time is an option only under approved special circumstances. Students interesting in part-time PhD studies should review the information on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website. After reviewing the information, students should contact the program to be considered for part-time doctoral study.