Doctor of Science in Public Health

The UMass Lowell Department of Public Health offers a doctoral program that focuses on public health, encompassing occupational and environmental health and epidemiology.

Admission Requirements

Doctoral training is built upon the substantial didactic training gained in the master’s degree programs. To be eligible for admission to a doctoral program, an applicant will need to demonstrate appropriate undergraduate education with adequate preparation in quantitative sciences and a master's degree in occupational and environmental health, epidemiology or a related field. The applicant will need to provide a minimum of three letters of reference attesting to the ability to perform advanced graduate work and to provide a written statement of career objectives and the relationship of doctoral training to those objectives. Evidence of academic ability must be provided in the form of undergraduate and graduate transcripts detailing an acceptable grade point average (generally a minimum of 3.0, with 3.5 in quantitative sciences). Performance on the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test must be at a high level. Discussions and visits with potential faculty advisors are encouraged and an interview may be required.

Academic Advisor

For a doctoral candidate, the primary responsibility for evaluating progress will rest with the student’s academic advisor along with the Dissertation Committee. Upon matriculation, the student will be assigned an advisor in conjunction with the Graduate Student Coordinator and the student. The advisor must be from among the faculty of the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences. The advisor will assist the student in complying with all the university requirements in achieving eligibility for the degree, including selection of courses and aiding in the development of the dissertation.

Requirements for the Doctoral Degree

Degree requirements include: 15 - 24 credit hours of courses beyond the master's degree plus 12 - 21 credits of dissertation research for a total of 36 post-master's credit hours. A student with a master’s degree from another institution will need to show knowledge in all subject areas required for the equivalent Occupational and Environmental Health or Public Health master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Courses will be selected to ensure each student has met all the major master's competencies and is adequately prepared in research methods and background needed for their dissertation. At least six credits of advanced research methods electives and 1 semester of Work in Progress Seminar (PUBH.6090) are required of all doctoral students. There is no language requirement but each major area may require additional advanced research methods courses. The student will work with a doctoral program advisor to propose a set of courses to meet the requirements and to prepare a preliminary thesis proposal. Following completion of all required course work, the student will be eligible to take a written qualifying examination. The exam will be designed to test the knowledge in the major field. Upon meeting the course and written exam requirements, the student must pass an oral qualifying exam based on his or her written dissertation proposal.

Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation will be based on a substantial body of original research carried out by the candidate. The selection of the research topic will be the responsibility of the student in consultation with the academic advisor. The student and advisor will develop a Dissertation Committee of at least 3 faculty members, with at least two from the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences, one of whom must be from the Department of Public Health. The committee will review the student's progress and approve the dissertation. The dissertation will, in general, be in the form of three publishable manuscripts and will include an appropriate literature review and overview of the dissertation research. At a minimum, one of these manuscripts must be accepted by a peer-reviewed journal before graduation. The student is required to give an oral defense of the dissertation before the Committee and other faculty members. The defense is open to the public.

Public Health: Occupational and Environmental Health

Likely areas of research include: Exposure science and biomarkers, exposure hazards and controls in health care, indoor air & healthy buildings, exposure hazards and controls in nanotechnology, sampling & analytical methods for airborne contaminants, exposure assessment for epidemiology, noise hazard assessment and control, toxic use reduction or integration of sustainable production and occupational hygiene, exposure hazards and controls in construction.

Public Health: Epidemiology

Examples of areas of research in which doctoral work is encouraged include: occupational epidemiology, environmental epidemiology, nutritional epidemiology, physical activity epidemiology, social epidemiology, and health services epidemiology.

Course Requirements

Required courses for both options (14 credits):
(Courses can be waived if the equivalent content has been completed in the master degree program. Note that the courses, and not the equivalent number of credits, may be waived.)
PUBH.5010 Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health (3 credits)
PUBH.6090 Work in Progress Seminar (3 credits)
PUBH.6750 Introduction to Manuscript Writing (1 credit)
PUBH.6760 Introduction to Proposal Writing (1 credit)
6 credits of additional research methods courses
Required content for the Occupational and Environmental Health Track (15 credits):
(Students are expected to have this content during their master degree program. These courses can be taken as part of the doctoral program if they have not been completed already)
PUBH.5100 Fundamentals of Occupational & Environmental Health (3 credits)
PUBH.5510 Work Environment Policy (3 credits)
PUBH.5750 Epidemiology and Biostatistics (3 credits)
PUBH.6160 Exposure and Risk Assessment (3 credits)
PUBH.6191 Measurement of Chemical Exposure (3 credits)
Required content for the Epidemiology Track (15 credits):
(Students are expected to have this content during their master degree program. These courses can be taken as part of the doctoral program if they have not been completed already.)
PUBH.5750 Epidemiology and Biostatistics (3 credits)
PUBH.5760 Biostatistical Programming (3 credits)
PUBH.5770 Biostatistics for Health Data (3 credits)
PUBH.6820 Applied Epidemiology Methods (3 credits)
PUBH.6890 Advanced Regression Modeling (3 credits)
The Public Health Doctor of Science program requires a minimum of 12 dissertation credits, a minimum of 15 course credits, and a minimum of 36 total credits beyond any previous graduate degree. Even if course requirements are waived due to content from previous coursework, credit requirements still must be completed.