PhD in 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. (GCHB 8750, GCHB 8760, GCHB 8820, GCHB 8800/8830)

2. Analyze qualitative and/or quantitative data in order to answer significant research questions in social and behavioral sciences. (GCHB 8760, Advanced Biostatistics, Advanced Epidemiology, Advanced Research Methods, Statistical Software, Qualitative Methods-Field Applications)

3. Synthesize the interdisciplinary perspectives within public health. (GCHB 8750, GCHB 8760, GCHB 8800/8830, Advanced Biostatistics, Advanced Epidemiology)

4. Design, implement, and evaluate independent theory-based scientific research in an academic or practice setting. (GCHB 8750, GCHB 8760, GCHB 8800/8830, SPHL 8800, Advanced Biostatistics, Advanced Epidemiology, Advanced Research Methods, Qualitative Methods-Field Applications)

5. Translate and disseminate knowledge of global community health problems in a specific area. (GCHB 8800/8830, GCHB 8820, SPHL 8800, Advanced Biostatistics, Advanced Epidemiology, Advanced Research Methods)

6. Adapt a well-rounded persona with a clear research focus including demonstrating ethical conduct, cultural sensitivity, and a sense of academic integrity. (GCHB 8800/8830, SPHL 8800)


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                                                    3 Credits

GCHB 6120                    Monitoring and Evaluation                                                         3 Credits

GEHS 6030                    Environmental Sciences                                                            3 Credits

GHSD 6030                    Health Systems Administration and Management               3 Credits

TRMD 6030                     Biological Basis                                                                          3 Credits

Required Advanced Foundation Courses (24 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-TBD                      Qualitative Methods (TBD by advisor/student)                             2 Credits

TBD                                   Advanced Biostatistics (TBD by advisor/student)                        3 Credits

TBD                                   Advanced Epidemiology (TBD by advisor/student)                      3 Credits

SPHL 8800                      Essentials in Research Readiness                                               2 Credits

TBD                                   Advanced Research Methods(TBD by advisor/student)             3 Credits

TBD                                   Statistical Software Course (TBD by advisor/student)                1 Credit


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.

For more information, contact us at 504-988-6596 or


GCHBS, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2301, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-5391