programs and degrees

Requirements for Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The mission of the PhD program in Environmental Health Sciences is to prepare students at the doctoral level in environmental health sciences through coursework and research in toxicology and risk assessment, industrial hygiene, environmental policy, global environmental health, disaster management, and environmental oncology.

Admission Requirements

  • 3.5 (out of 4.0) GPA or better in previous studies. Typical candidates hold an MPH, MSPH or similar advanced degree
  • GRE scores are required. Scores in the upper 1/3 percentile or higher are preferred for the verbal and quantitative sections
  • For applicants whose native language is not English, a minimum TOEFL score of 525 (paper), 200 (computer) or 80 (internet) is required
  • Three letters of recommendation from previous professors or other mentors

Program Competencies

Upon completion of the PhD program in Environmental Health Sciences, students will gain the following knowledge and skills:

  • Design original environmental health research employing, in a multidisciplinary fashion, key areas of science including toxicology, industrial hygiene, global environmental health, environmental oncology, environmental policy, or disaster management.
  • Generate data to address local and global environmental health problems.
  • Collect environmental and health data to assess the impact of hazardous substances on populations and the ecosystem.
  • Analyze data to test hypotheses designed to fill a knowledge gap in environmental health science
  • Reach conclusions and make recommendations on environmental health research questions
  • Disseminate environmental research findings through publications in the peer-reviewed literature
  • Communicate complex environmental health research findings to peers, communities, and other stakeholders
  • Universal public health competencies: incorporate knowledge of the public health core areas of epidemiology, biostatistics, health systems management, environmental health, and the biological, behavioral, social and cultural aspects of health and disease in addressing and solving problems

Degree Requirements

  • For the PhD degree: A minimum of 72 total credits of didactic coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree is required.  Up to 42 credits can be applied from a previously earned masters degree.
  • A grade of B+ or better is required in all courses
  • All doctoral students are required to complete at least one course in research methods and one course in statistical methods and epidemiology beyond the introductory Public Health Core Courses in biostatistics or epidemiology.

Additional specific requirements for the PhD degree:

  • PhD students must have had, or must take, the introductory Public Health Core Courses in biostatistics and epidemiology (or equivalent). If taken at TUSPHTM, these courses may count toward the 72 credits needed for the PhD degree.
  • Departmental faculty will evaluate the applicant's prior graduate-level coursework and will state specifically which previous courses will be accepted toward degree prerequisites. The departmental faculty will stipulate the minimum number of credits and courses that must be taken to complete the specific doctoral program.
  • No more than 12 credits of special studies may be applied toward the doctoral degree. Such courses must have clearly defined and written learning objectives developed together by the student and course instructor. A written report of the work done in special studies must be on file in the department for review by the student's dissertation committee.
  • No more than 12 credits earned as an advanced graduate special student may be applied toward the doctoral degree.
  • Didactic coursework must be completed prior to taking the comprehensive examination, which is required.
  • A comprehensive exam
  • Defend prospectus for required dissertation. Succesful oral defense of dissertation is required.
  • A dissertation is required.

For more information please see the complete Doctoral Handbook on the Academics Policies and Guidelines page of the School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine website.


For more information about the PhD in environmental health sciences, call 504.988.5374.



GEHS, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2100, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-5374