PhD in Public Health

The Ph.D. in Public Health emphasizes the expertise necessary for a research career in either epidemiology or social behavioral health.

2023 application deadline: The priority deadline is February 1, with a final deadline of June 1.
Admission cycle: Fall
Assistantship types: teaching, research

The Ph.D. in Public Health emphasizes the expertise necessary for a research career in either epidemiology or social behavioral health. The Ph.D. is designed to prepare students for careers in which advanced analytical and conceptual capabilities are required, such as university teaching, research, consulting, policy development or other high-level positions. As a Tier One research institution, the University of Nevada, Reno encourages its Ph.D. candidates to participate in research projects that generate new public health knowledge and to apply their research to public health practice or health policy.

Faculty and students of the School of Public Health conduct state-of-the-art research in a wide range of areas related to public health. Research in the school is supported by grants and contracts from numerous federal, state, local, and private sources, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Funding for the Ph.D. in Public Health

Qualified doctoral students in Public Health are offered Graduate Assistant (GA) positions for two years of the program. These positions typically include teaching activities and continuous funding is contingent upon satisfactory performance of the duties and good academic standing. Although funding beyond two years is not guaranteed, GA positions that focus on research and other funding opportunities are available and most students continue to receive support. GA positions include a monthly stipend, health insurance, and a partial tuition waiver.

Prerequisite coursework

Students will typically enter the Ph.D. in Public Health after having completed a relevant Master's degree, such as the Master of Public Health (MPH) or Master of Science (MS) in epidemiology or biostatistics (for the epidemiology specialization) and Master of Public Health (MPH) in social and behavioral health, or health education (for the Social and Behavioral Health Specialization). Occasionally, students can be admitted with a health-related Bachelor's degree with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 that is confirmed before beginning classes. Additionally, students must have documentation that they have completed the following MPH courses (or their equivalent). Students missing any of the required prerequisites may be admitted, contingent on successful completion of specified courses within a period of time (typically the first year).

  • CHS 712: Epidemiology in Public Health (3 Credits)
  • CHS 780: Biostatistics in Public Health (3 Credits)
  • Basics of Public Health (0 credits. Online self-paced)

Admissions to the program and student handbook

PhD admissions

The Admissions Committee seeks candidates from diverse backgrounds who have the qualifications and credentials to succeed in a rigorous, research-intensive doctoral program. Learn more about admissions requirements, prerequisite coursework and the application process.

PhD student handbook

The student handbook contains an overview of the program and additional information regarding degree requirements, specialization program requirements, committees and exams, dissertation requirements, new student checklists and more.

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