PhD in Global Community Health Sciences


Mission Statement

The purpose of the PhD program in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences is to train experts who will advance the field of global community health through research, development and application of theory, and teaching.

Program Description

The PhD is a highly specialized training program, integrating theory and research in a focused substantive area of global importance. Graduates will have in-depth expertise necessary for a research career, and are expected to develop careers in universities, medical schools, and other higher institutions of learning as faculty members or in research organizations globally. The nature of the PhD requires a high degree of flexibility based on specific interests and the aptitude of the student.

Application Deadlines

Applications to our doctoral programs should be submitted via SOPHAS by our priority deadline of December 1 if you would like to be considered for fellowships and any available student funding.  (SOPHAS processing delays are often caused by problems with transcript and GRE verification so we recommend you submit these as soon as possible.)  Anyone who does not want to be considered for funding opportunities may submit their application to SOPHAS by our regular school deadline of January 15. 


Program Competencies

Upon completion of the program, the graduate should be able to:

1. Analyze major social and behavioral sciences theories for application to evidence-based research.

2. Analyze qualitative and/or quantitative data in order to answer significant research questions in social and behavioral sciences.

3. Synthesize the interdisciplinary perspectives within public health.

4. Design, implement, and evaluate independent theory-based scientific research in an academic or practice setting.

5. Translate and disseminate knowledge of global community health problems in a specific area.

6. Adapt a well-rounded persona with a clear research focus including demonstrating ethical conduct, cultural sensitivity, and a sense of academic integrity.


Admissions Requirements

To be eligible for the PhD program, students must have completed the requirements for a master's degree or 30 graduate-level credits in a field related to the doctoral area of study. This requirement may be waived for exceptional students who have a baccalaureate degree. Students must complete the SOPHAS application and include in their application three letters of reference, at least two of which are from academicians. All students will be interviewed by faculty members before acceptance to assess their interests and ensure that department faculty members have the expertise to mentor them in their chosen area of study.

Program Requirements

Students must complete 72 credit hours of coursework and doctoral studies beyond the baccalaureate, with a minimum of 30 didactic hours at Tulane, within the doctoral program. Coursework will be comprised of three levels.

1. Basic Foundations: These are courses or equivalents that students are required to have completed prior to commencement of the GCHB program. If a student has not completed one or more of these courses, then they will be required to take them. However, these credits will not count toward the required 30 didactic hours at Tulane.

2. Advanced Foundations: These are courses or equivalents that all students will be required to take as part of their foundational training toward a PhD in the GCHB program.

3. Electives: These are courses students will take to complete their degree requirements, including formal courses, independent field work study, non-tuition courses, and dissertation hours.

Course Requirements

Required Basic Foundation Courses (Prerequisite courses required of all admitted students. These courses do not count toward the required 30 didactic hours at Tulane.)

BIOS 6030

Introductory Biostatistics 

3 Credits 

EPID 6030 

Epidemiological Methods I 

3 Credits 

GCHB 6030 

Social and Behavioral Aspects of Global Health 

3 Credits 

GCHB 6110 

Planning of Health Education Programs 

3 Credits 

GCHB 6120 

Monitoring and Evaluation 

3 Credits 


Statistical Software Course (TBD by advisor/student)

1 Credit

Required Advanced Foundation Courses (23 Credits)

GCHB 8750

Social Determinants of Health I 

3 Credits 

GCHB 8760 

Social Determinants of Health II 

3 Credits 

GCHB 8820 

Advanced Program Planning/Grant Writing 

3 Credits 

GCHB 8800/8830 

GCHB Doctoral Seminar 

1 Credit 

GCHB 8280/6290

Qualitative Methods (TBD by advisor/student) 

2 Credits 


Advanced Biostatistics (TBD by advisor/student) 

3 Credits 


Advanced Epidemiology (TBD by advisor/student) 

3 Credits 

SPHL 8800

Essentials in Research Readiness 

2 Credits 


Advanced Research Methods (TBD by advisor/student) 

3 Credits 


Courses that are eligible to fulfill the research methods requirement are listed below. Any exceptions would require pre-approval of the student's advisor and the doctoral director.

BIOS 7080

Design of Experiments

BIOS 7400

Clinical Trials

BIOS 8820

Multivariate Methods

BIOS 8780

Advanced Statistical Measurement

EPID 7130

Observational Epidemiology

EPID 8820

Analytic Epidemiology

GCHB 7900

Research Approaches and Design for Global Health (not currently offered)

GCHB 8250

Advanced Research Methods in Global Health (not currently offered)


Electives (7 credits minimum; additional credits as needed to reach 72 credit requirement)

Includes formal courses, independent field work, non-tuition courses, and dissertation hours. No more than 12 credits of special (independent) studies may be applied toward the doctoral degree.

Course Schedule

Schedules will vary based on individual goals and prior training of students. Advisors will work closely with students to customize their course schedules. All students will be required to take GCHB 8800/8830 (Doctoral Seminar) during their first year.

Comprehensive Examinations

On completion of the coursework listed above students will be required to pass a comprehensive examination to demonstrate knowledge of, and competency with, the Basic and Advanced Foundation coursework, as well as their specialty area. Over the four-day Comprehensive Exam (two parts), students are required to critically reflect on a priori specified public health problem related to their anticipated dissertation content area. Through a series of guided questions, students are asked to critically reflect on their chosen public health issue, including (1) background literature synthesis, (2) epidemiological surveillance, (3) development of recommendations to address identified gaps or needs from an a priori perspective (program or intervention development, development of a system change and/or policy proposal, or development of an etiological surveillance system), (4) outcome measurement and evaluation, and (5) dissemination of key public health findings.


Students must complete a dissertation representing public health research that meets the SPHTM and GCHB requirements for a PhD dissertation. Doctoral dissertations based on original research and which influence the field of knowledge or policy are preferred. While PhD dissertations may have a strong applied focus, a student's dissertation should demonstrate independent thinking with the potential to make unique and original contribution to the scientific literature. The dissertation should help the student prepare for a career in research. Consistent with the purpose of the PhD program, dissertations are required to include new and independent research projects; go beyond basic descriptive analyses of existing data sets (though novel theoretical or methodological applications are acceptable); and have greater innovation than just monitoring and evaluation of existing projects.


A limited number of funding packages are available for exceptionally qualified students which may include tuition scholarships and research/teaching assistant stipends. Contact our Student Services Coordinator for more information.

For More Information

Policies and Procedures for Doctoral Programs may be found on the Academics Policies and Guidelines page.

Contact our Doctoral Program Coordinator,  Theon Means, at 504-988-1847 or


GCHB, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2210, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-5391