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Individuals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds interact in front of a local health department.

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Program Directors: Samantha F. Ehrlich, PhD, MPH and Kristina W. Kintziger, PhD, MPH

Graduate Student Handbook (2019)

The DrPH is the terminal degree in public health, designed for students who have already earned the MPH degree; however, exceptional students without the MPH may be admitted to the DrPH program.  The DrPH is the professional doctoral degree in public health, designed to produce transformative academic and practice leaders with expertise in evidence-based public health practice and research. At the completion of the DrPH program, students will be able to:

  •  Apply qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods and policy analysis research and evaluation methods to address health issues.
  • Influence behavior and policies by communicating public health science to diverse stakeholders.
  • Create, implement, and evaluate strategic plans and organizational change strategies.
  • Design system-level interventions that influence population health outcomes in transdisciplinary team approaches that promote health equity and disease prevention.
  • Integrate knowledge of cultural values and practices in the design or implementation of public health programs.
  • Integrate scientific information, legal and regulatory approaches, ethical frameworks and varied stakeholder interests in policy development and analysis.
  • Assess a population’s knowledge and learning needs.
  • Deliver training or educational experiences that promote learning in academic, organizational and community settings.
  • Use best practice modalities in pedagogical practices.

Admission Information

  • General requirements set forth by the University of Tennessee, Graduate School
  • A GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale on master’s degree coursework, shown in official transcripts. For students without a Master’s degree or coursework, a required GPA of 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) for the undergraduate degree.
  • A minimum of 40th percentile on all sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). International students must meet graduate school’s requirement for a satisfactory score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). GRE scores must be taken no more than five years before the intended semester of entry.
  • Three letters of reference completed within the past 12 months by faculty members, academic advisors, or employers or professional colleagues. At least two letters must be from persons able to assess applicant’s academic and research capabilities, job performance or professional promise. A personal statement to demonstrate the evolution of your interest in public health and how DrPH program will prepare you to work in the field of public health.
  • Ability to clearly articulate a defined career pathway, which incorporates practice and research experience and skills, upon interview.
  • Demonstrated skill in a professional, research, or academic writing sample. A writing sample of scientific writing should be submitted (preferably the applicant is either the sole author or first authored approximately 2,000-3,000 words). A published article is acceptable only if the applicant discloses the nature of his/her contribution.
  • A current curriculum vitae.
  • An online application must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions at


The DrPH will allow cognates to include higher-level public health doctoral courses through Independent Study with public health faculty, but students will be guided to select cognates that will necessitate coursework from other academic units. The
DrPH requires a cognate to include 9 semester hours, usually amounting to three 3-hour courses.



Hours Credit

1. Research and Foundations 20
2. Core DrPH 36
3. Cognate  9
Dissertation (PUBH 600) 24
Total Hours 89
  1. PUBH 509 (2 semesters), PUBH 510, PUBH 520, PUBH 530, PUBH 537, PUBH 540, and PUBH 555 equivalent courses if taken outside of the University of Tennessee, approved by the Department Head.
  2. PUBH 536, PUBH 552, PUBH 609 (2 semesters), PUBH 610, PUBH 611, PUBH 613, PUBH 636, PUBH 637, PUBH 656, PUBH 687 (total of 6 hours over one or two semesters), STAT 537 and STAT 538 OR SOWK 605 and SOWK 606, and one additional graduate statistics course selected in consultation with faculty advisor.
  3. Cognate courses must be approved by faculty advisor and the chair of the DrPH Committee.

Note: PUBH 530 or its equivalent may serve in lieu of STAT 537 or SOWK 605. Please confer with the instructors of STAT 538
or SOWK 606.

This chart reflects total hours for the DrPH; actual hours will be reduced for those already having an MPH or closely-related master’s degree.