PhD Programs

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health

The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine offers the PhD in Public Health six areas: Biostatistics and Bioinformatics; Epidemiology; Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences; Global Environmental Health Sciences; Global Health Systems and Development; and Tropical Medicine. The PhD in Public Health prepares students for advanced research and scholarship. The program emphasizes critical thinking and theory-based problem solving-skills to address public health issues and lead independent research in academia, government, consulting, and industry. Each of the concentrations is described below. 

Students who enter the PhD in Public Health program typically have a master’s degree in a public health discipline. Those without a public health background may obtain public health grounding during their doctoral study. Students apply to one of the public health concentrations.  After completion of the PhD degree, students are prepared to be part of interdisciplinary teams conducting medical and public health research.

Deadline for all Public Health Concentrations:  January 15; December 1 for scholarship consideration

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health:  Biostatistics and Bioinformatics

The PhD program in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics trains advanced students in the theory and application of biostatistical and bioinformatics methods. Students may focus in either area.  Through the biostatistics concentration students will develop skills to select appropriate statistical tests; select appropriate study designs; use statistical software to conduct statistical analyses; estimate sample size and power; use statistical theory to develop, evaluate, and implement new statistical techniques; and communicate the results of statistical analyses orally and in writing. The bioinformatics concentration prepares students to develop and apply bioinformatics methodology in the fields of bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, and epigenomics. 

Department faculty members have expertise in a variety of areas, including categorical data analysis,longitudinal data analysis, Monte Carlo methods, missing data analysis techniques, randomized controlled clinical trials, geographic information systems, experimental design, microarray data analysis, biological sequence alignment and genome analysis, population genetics, genetic epidemiology, epigenetics, and proteomics.

Applicants should have a master’s degree in statistics or related field or a bachelor’s degree in basic sciences and mathematics. Courses in calculus and linear algebra are also required. Graduates pursue careers as academic researchers and teachers; in industry, especially in the pharmaceutical and biomedical fields; and in other research pursuits, both public and private. Typical roles include teaching, collaborative research, and independent research in statistical methods and design.

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Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health: Epidemiology

PhD program in Epidemiology prepares students in a wide range of epidemiologic theory and methods   as well as the epidemiology of chronic disease, infectious disease, or environmental or reproductive health. Students graduate with sustained experience in the conduct of research in one or more content areas.   The program has a strong analytic component built upon epidemiological and biostatistical methods and applications.

Faculty members have substantial research expertise in the epidemiology of cardiovascular/renal diseases, infectious diseases, reproductive health, cancer, environmental health, genetic and molecular epidemiology, outcomes research, clinical trials, and epidemiologic methodology.

Applicants to the program should have strong quantitative abilities and most will have a master’s degree in a field relevant to public health.  Those without a public health background may obtain public health grounding during their doctoral study. The program trains future leaders and the next generation of scientists in epidemiological research.  Graduates are prepared for a career in research and teaching, usually in an academia or other research settings.


Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health:  Global Community Health & Behavioral Sciences

The PhD program in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences trains experts who will advance the field of community health through research, theory development, and teaching. The degree is highly specialized, integrating theory and research in a focused substantive area, such as maternal and child health, nutrition, or health education and communication. The course of study is individualized and students are matched to faculty advisors with similar research interests

Faculty members have a wide range of expertise that incorporates interdisciplinary teams from

social epidemiology, medical anthropology, psychology, nutrition, health education, maternal and child health, and reproductive health.  Research interests include health promotion and wellness, social determinants of health, health disparities, cultural competencies, social marketing, obesity, tobacco control, sexual behavior, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and STD prevention, physical activity, public health nutrition and food security, school-based health promotion, adolescent health, child physical abuse, and violence prevention.

Applicants for the PhD in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences typically have a master’s degree in a public health discipline with a background in the behavioral sciences, maternal and child health, health education, or nutrition. Those without a public health background may obtain public health grounding during their doctoral study. Graduates have the in-depth expertise necessary for a research career and they work in universities, lead community organizations, and conduct research in state and federal governmental agencies.


Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health:  Global Environmental Health Sciences

The PhD program in Global Environmental Health Sciences prepares students for careers in environmental health with advanced coursework and research in toxicology and risk assessment, industrial hygiene, environmental policy, global environmental health, disaster management, and environmental oncology. The department's overarching focus areas encompass factors influencing water and air quality, and disaster management impact on health. Health endpoints of specific interest are: cancer, respiratory disease including asthma, gastro-intestinal disorders, workplace health, and adverse reproductive health. Faculty and students are actively engaged in domestic and international research.

Faculty have expertise in water quality and resource management, environmental chemistry, toxicology, air quality, international environmental health, environmental epidemiology, molecular biology, gene-environment interactions, cancer, industrial hygiene, and respiratory diseases. 

Applicants to the doctoral program typically have a master’s degree related to public health. Graduates have found employment in diverse settings in the U.S. and abroad.  Employers include university and private research institutions, governmental agencies, private consultancies, and industry.


Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health:  Global Health Systems & Development

The PhD program in Global Health Systems and Development provides doctoral training in research methodology, health policy and planning, analysis of health systems, and management strategies. It is most useful to individuals interested in teaching, research, and policy analysis because of the emphasis on research approaches and skill application in the health services area. The highly variable character of health systems around the world necessitates the production of capable researchers to analyze and understand these changes and trends and to make recommendations.  The program has an emphasis in global health systems.

Faculty have expertise in demography, social epidemiology, program planning and evaluations, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, adolescent reproductive health, sexual risk behaviors, migrant health, gender and domestic violence, disasters and health, complex emergencies, vector-borne disease ecology, malaria and child survival, incarcerated populations, health care systems (costs, access, and utilization), economics, health care organization, managed care, health care financing, and socioeconomics inequities in health outcomes.

Applicants to the doctoral program typically have a master’s degree related to public health. Graduates have found employment in diverse settings in the U.S. and abroad.  Graduates pursue careers in universities and research organizations, in international agencies, and careers in health systems management and policy in global healthcare settings.


Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health:  Tropical Medicine

Tulane has a long and proud history of study of tropical medicine and parasitology, and is the oldest tropical medicine program in the U.S.  The PhD in Tropical Medicine is a research degree based on the use of modern cell and molecular biology and immunology to study human parasites and disease vectors, and on the use of parasites as models of eucaryotic biology. The department is one of the oldest of its kind in the world and has established a strong international reputation for research in vector-borne and other tropical infectious diseases. Students benefit from the opportunity to learn from faculty members doing cutting-edge research in a number of bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases. They may work in the field and/or labs in areas as diverse as Colombia, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Peru, Sierra Leone, and Zambia.

The program trains professionals in field, epidemiological, and state-of-the-art laboratory studies of tropical diseases in order to assume responsibilities for tropical disease research and control programs in academia, government, and other organizations.





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