8000 School of Public Health

Graduate programs in the School of Public Health are described in detail in this chapter. See subsections for specific program information as well as policies and procedures.

About the School of Public Health

The School of Public Health (SPH) is a multi-disciplinary, research-based unit, drawing upon the faculty of all Georgia State University (GSU) colleges, dedicated to advancing the health of the public through training, research and community service. The School of Public Health achieves this mission by applying existing scholarship within GSU to priority public health problems, particularly those that are aimed at reducing health disparities in urban settings. Training and research programs focus on both building the science base that underlies public health practice, as well as applying effective interventions that have been demonstrated to improve the public health. Academic and training efforts emphasize the basic prevention sciences (e.g., emerging infectious diseases, immunology, virology, bioinformatics, genomics, and geographic sciences), as well as applied public health efforts (e.g., chronic disease prevention, health promotion, environmental health, program evaluation, health policy, public health ethics and law, health communications, community-based participatory research, and global health).

Office of the Dean
848 Urban Life Building
404-413-1130
publichealth.gsu.edu

Michael P. Eriksen, Dean
Rodney Lyn, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
John Lutzker, Associate Dean for Faculty Development
Laura Salazar, Associate Dean for Research
Shannon Self-Brown, Doctoral Program Director
Ike Okosun, Director, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Christine Stauber, Director, Division of Environmental Health
Bruce Perry, Director, Division of Health Management and Policy
Daniel Whitaker, Director, Division of Health Promotion and Behavior

Office of Finance and Administration
1 Park Place, Suite 700
404-413-1130
publichealth@gsu.edu

Frederic Grant, College Administrative Officer
Colleen Blanchard, College Finance Officer

Office of Academic Assistance and Graduate Admissions
1 Park Place, Suite 640
404/413-1452
publichealthadvising@gsu.edu

Inta Maggie Tolan, Director

For current information, visit the School of Public Health’s website: http://publichealth.gsu.edu/

Faculty
Beamer, Becker, Casanova, Crimmins, Dube, Edwards-Gaura, Eriksen, Fuller, Graybill, Il’Yasova, Howell, Lai, Luo, Lyn, Lutzker, Majestic, Mobley, Okosun, Perry, Ramsey-White, Roach, Roblin, Rothenberg, Salazar, Self-Brown, Shanley, Smith, Stauber, Sterling, Steward, Strasser, Swahn, and Whitaker

8000.10 Degrees Offered

The School of Public Health offers the following graduate programs:

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health
  • Master of Public Health
  • Graduate Certificate in Public Health

8000.20 Research Centers and Initiatives

Center for Healthy Development
34 Peachtree Street, 17th Floor
404-413-1281
publichealth.gsu.edu/658.html

The Center for Healthy Development (CHD) was established in August 2008 to house the National SafeCare® Training and Research Center (NSTRC) and the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD).  The NSTRC is funded by a number of private and public service and research grants and contracts.  It was created in 2007 with a center grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.  The CLD is primarily funded by a center grant from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) of the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). In 2012 CHD welcomed Prevent Child Abuse Georgia which will provide a statewide direction to promote healthy children and develop strong families through community resources, public awareness, prevention programs, research, and advocacy activities.

Center for Excellence on Health Disparities Research
848 Urban Life Building
404-413-1130
coex.gsu.edu

The Center for Excellence on Health Disparities Research (CoEx) is funded through the NIH’s National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities and includes major research topics, as well as outreach programs.  It is based in the School of Public Health and includes researchers and faculty from public health, social work, criminal justice, African-American studies, sociology, psychology and the Center for Healthy Development.  The three major research areas include: investigating variations in health among disadvantaged neighborhoods, especially in the wake of Atlanta’s relocation of residents from traditional public housing; examining the role of religion and churches in reducing drug use and the transmission of HIV and testing a method (the SafeCare® Model) of reducing child maltreatment by using computers.

Partnership for Urban Health Research
848 Urban Life Building
404-413-1137
urbanhealth.gsu.edu

The Partnership for Urban Health Research (PUHR) was established to understand how the urban environment affects the health and well-being of people who reside and work in the metropolitan Atlanta area. The focus of its efforts is on populations that bear a disproportionate burden of illness and disease using an interdisciplinary approach to research. In partnership with surrounding communities, PUHR creates and disseminates knowledge that is both meaningful and beneficial to the communities that participate in the process.

8010 Mission, Philosophy, and Goals

The School of Public Health has the mission of advancing health through leadership, scholarship, research, and service to better the human condition and promote the common good. The most significant application of that mission is to prepare students through the Master of Public Health (MPH) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Health degree programs to apply multi-disciplinary skills in public health practice and research and to assume leadership roles to address contemporary public health problems.

With a focus on scholarship and research in urban health and health disparities, the Institute supports the mission of Georgia State University “to achieve a front-rank position among the nation’s premier state-supported universities located in an urban setting.” The School’s mission is strengthened by the objective of the University System of Georgia, through its Strategic Plan for Public Health Education, Research and Service, “to ensure that the System becomes one of the national leaders in public health education, research and service.”

The goals of the School of Public Health graduate programs are to:

  1. Prepare students to use multi-disciplinary skills to address contemporary public health problems.
  2. Prepare students for positions of senior responsibility in public health practice, research, and training, particularly at the federal, state and local levels.
  3. Advance public health sciences and our understanding of the causes and prevention of disease.
  4. Incorporate the needs, perspectives and expertise of the public health practice community in the design and conduct of the curriculum and field experiences

8010.10 Accreditation

The School of Public Health (SPH) was re-accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) in 2012 for a seven year period (2012-2019).The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is an independent agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools of public health and public health programs

8020 Graduate Admissions

The School of Public Health accepts students into the Master of Public Health (MPH) and Graduate Certificate in Public Health (GCPH) programs for both the fall and spring semesters. The application deadline for the fall semester is March 15. The application deadline for the spring semester is October 1. See sub-section 8110.20 of the Graduate Catalog for admission requirements for the PhD in Public Health or visit the following link: publichealth.gsu.edu/academic/apply/.

The following materials are required for admission to the GCPH:

  1. Application for Graduate Study, submitted through Hobsons/ApplyYourself
  2. A $50.00 application fee.
  3. Two copies of official transcripts from all colleges and/or university attended. Applicants for both programs must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent at the time of enrollment.
  4. Three references from individuals knowledgeable of the applicant’s academic, professional and intellectual abilities.
  5. A statement of interest and professional intent.
  6. Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). (Applicants with an earned doctorate from an accredited institution in the U.S. do not have to take either examination.)
  7. Official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or via the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), for applicants whose native language is not English. See section 8020.10 for more information.
  8. A Certificate of Immunization (after acceptance).
  9. Lawful Presence Verification( after acceptance): publichealth.gsu.edu/academic/apply/citizenship-verification/

For complete application materials instructions, visit the following School of Public Health website: http://publichealth.gsu.edu/academic/apply/

The following materials are required for admission to the MPH. All application materials are submitted through SOPHAS:

  1. Application for Graduate Study, submitted through SOPHAS
  2. A $120.00 application fee.
  3. One copy of official transcripts from all colleges and/or university attended. Applicants for both programs must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent at the time of enrollment.
  4. Three references from individuals knowledgeable of the applicant’s academic, professional and intellectual abilities.
  5. A statement of interest and professional intent.
  6. Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). (Applicants with an earned doctorate from an accredited institution in the U.S. do not have to take either examination.)
  7. Official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or via the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), for applicants whose native language is not English. See section 8020.10 for more information.
  8. A Certificate of Immunization (after acceptance)
  9. Lawful Presence Verification (after acceptance): publichealth.gsu.edu/academic/apply/citizenship-verification/

For complete application materials instructions, visit the following School of Public Health website: publichealth.gsu.edu/academic/apply/.

8020.10 International Student Admission

It is the policy of Georgia State University to encourage the enrollment of students from other countries. The University subscribes to the principles of international education and to the basic concept that only through education and understanding can mutual respect, appreciation and tolerance of others be accomplished. The recognition of the values of cultural exchange is inherent in our philosophy of education and is predicated on an awareness of the need to foster better cooperation, friendship, and understanding among the peoples of the world. In this regard, we welcome international students to our campus because we believe in a cultural exchange program which will be beneficial to our own student body, to the international students involved, and to metropolitan Atlanta.

  • Academic Credentials: Applicants who have completed all or part of their education outside the United States are required to have their foreign credentials evaluated by an independent evaluation service. For graduate admissions, the School of Public Health recommends World Education Services (www.wes.org). Academic credentials must be original documents with authoritative signatures, seals, stamps, etc. Whenever possible, these credentials should be sent by the institution responsible for issuing such documents. In cases where it is impossible for an applicant to have these credentials sent from such institutions, the applicant should forward a duly “notarized” or “attested to” copy. The notarization should be done by the proper institutional official or by the Ministry of Education in the home country. Documents in a language other than English must be accompanied by translations. Translations should be made by the home country embassy or an appropriate official, and the original copies of the translations, acceptably notarized as described above, must be provided. As a general rule, documents translated by the Office of the American Friends of the Middle East (AFME) or the Institute of International Education (IIE) will be acceptable.
  • English Proficiency: In addition to meeting the regular admission requirements, international applicants whose native language is not English must submit official scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or via the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) before admission can be considered. Scores cannot be more than two years old. A test is not required of international applicants who have received a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.
  • Financial Resources: Applicants who plan to attend Georgia State University on an F-1 or J-1 visa must submit a Financial Statement showing the financial support necessary for the costs associated with the first year of study.
  • Course Load: An international student with a student visa is required to carry a full course of study in the fall and spring semesters. A full course of study for graduate students at Georgia State University is 9 semester hours in the fall and spring semesters and 6 semester hours in the summer semester. International students cannot be admitted as non-degree students.

8020.20 Transient Student Admission

A student enrolled in a graduate degree program at another accredited institution may seek admission as a transient (or visiting) student in the School of Public Health. Admission requirements include an application, application fee, certificate of immunization, and a letter of good standing from the institution the applicant is presently attending. The letter must include the courses approved by the home institution. The application must be printed/downloaded from the website: publichealth.gsu.edu/academic/apply/reentry-or-transient-visiting-students/.

Admission to transient status is normally for one semester only. A transient student who wishes to enroll for a subsequent semester at Georgia State must file an Application for Reentry with the Office of Graduate Admissions and Academic Assistance in the School of Public Health. Students must be in good Academic Standing at Georgia State University in order to continue as transient students at the University. Transient students who are not in good academic standing will not be allowed to continue taking courses as transient students per the University’s reentry definition. If the student wishes to enroll in courses other than those listed in the original letter of good standing, the home institution must submit a new letter indicating approval of those courses.

Although the university cannot guarantee the availability of space in desired courses, every effort will be made to assist students in the registration process. The student is responsible for requesting that transcripts of grades earned at Georgia State are sent to the home institution. Transient students who do not remain in good academic standing at Georgia State University may not be allowed to continue taking courses in the School of Public Health.

8020.30 Changing Semester of Entry

Admission to a graduate program in the School of Public Health is valid only for the semester and the degree in the letter of acceptance. Students who do not enroll in the semester for which acceptance was granted should notify the School of their decision to change their semester of entry. Students who do not enroll for the semester they are accepted are not guaranteed admission in a subsequent semester.

8020.40 Re-entry Students

A reentry student is a student who has been enrolled at Georgia State University and who:

  1. Has not registered for courses at Georgia State during the previous 12 months; or
  2. Attended any semester as a transient student and wishes to attend an additional semester as a transient student.

Graduate students in the School of Public Health may only reenter the same graduate program or status in which they were last enrolled. Students must be approved for re-entry through the School. Graduate Students may obtain reentry applications through the School of Public Health at publichealth.gsu.edu/academic/apply/graduate-reentry-application/.

8020.50 Tuition Deposit

The School of Public Health requires newly accepted applicants into their degree programs to submit a portion of their first semester’s tuition at the time of acceptance. The advanced tuition, which is nonrefundable, guarantees the student’s place in the class.

8030 Program and Degree Regulations

Graduate students in the School of Public Health are responsible for knowledge of all regulations and procedures of the program and the university. Enrollment in a program constitutes a students’ acknowledgment that they are obligated to comply with all academic and administrative regulations and degree requirements. Students are encouraged to read carefully regulations related to the public health program.

8030.10 Grade Point Average Requirements

An overall institutional grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better must be earned to receive the MPH degree or Certificate in Public Health. All core courses in the MPH degree must be completed with a grade of B or better, and no more than six semester hours of grades less than B will be accepted for the degree. No grade below a C will be accepted toward the degree. The records of students who fall below the 3.00 GPA requirements will be reviewed for continuation in the program.

8030.20 Final Course Grades

The following course grades will be given as final grade options in courses taught by public health faculty members. Any deviations will be at the discretion of the individual faculty member and specifically stated in his or her syllabus.

  • A 90-100
  • B 80-89
  • C 70-79
  • D 60-69
  • F below 60

8030.30 Transfer of Credit

A student may apply a maximum of nine (9) semester hours of approved course credit transferred from other graduate programs or institution (s) toward fulfilling MPH degree requirements. A student may apply a maximum of three (3) semester hours of approved course credit transferred from another program or institution toward fulfilling CPH requirements. Transfer credits are processed by the School and must be approved by the graduate program coordinator and the Director of the student’s home Division.

Students who have been accepted into an School of Public Health program and who wish to take courses at another institution for credit, must first obtain written approval from their Division Director and the graduate program coordinator.  All credits, including transfer credits, presented for the Master degree must have been earned within six calendar years of the date of degree conferral, and all credits presented for the certificate must have been earned within three calendar years of certificate completion.

8030.40 Selecting a Concentration and Program of Study

By the end of the second semester or after completing the five core courses, whichever comes first, MPH students must select a concentration. Selection should be done in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor. At the time of selection, a program of study should be filed by the student: publichealth.gsu.edu/students/program/.  The program of study form may be updated from time to time as coursework progresses.

8030.50 Continuous Enrollment Policy and Degree Completion

Students in all graduate programs must maintain an enrollment totaling 6 hours (or more) over all consecutive three semester periods (including summers). In other words, the total enrollment of the current term plus the two terms preceding it must add to 6 hours or more at all times. The status of all students will be checked by the midpoint of each term for compliance with the continuous enrollment requirement. Any student whose enrollment is out of compliance will receive a registration hold preventing all current and future registration. Those students will be notified by an e-mail message sent to their official Georgia State University’s e-mail account.  To resume their programs, students with continuous enrollment holds must file for re-entry: publichealth.gsu.edu/1303.html by the published deadline and must enroll at a level sufficient to satisfy the continuous enrollment criterion. For more information on the re-entry process, contact the Office of Academic Assistance and Graduate Admissions (OAA).

8030.60 Application for Graduation

All candidates for the MPH degree must file a formal application for graduation with the University’s Graduation Office at least two semesters in advance of the expected semester of graduation. Deadlines are published on the Georgia State website: http://registrar.gsu.edu/graduation/. The Graduation Office will inform the School when the application is filed. The School of Public Health will conduct an audit and inform the student of any remaining requirements. A degree will be awarded only to a student who meets the university academic and residence requirements as well as the standards of performance and academic requirements for the MPH degree.

All candidates for the GCPH must file a formal application for completion: http://publichealth.gsu.edu/students/program/ with the Office of Academic Assistance (OAA) in the School of Public Health during the semester in which the student plans to complete the GCPH. OAA will conduct an audit to confirm completion of the requirements before the certificate is issued to the student. A certificate will be awarded only to a student who meets both the university academic and residence requirements and the standards of performance, academic requirements and residence requirements for the GCPH.

8030.70 Time Limit for Completion of the Program

Before deciding to enroll in a graduate program, students must examine seriously and realistically their abilities to adjust their personal and professional schedules to accommodate the challenge of graduate study. The maximum time limits set by the faculty for completing a graduate degree program are: six (6) years from the first semester of admission for the MPH and three (3) years from the first semester of admission into the certificate program. Students or applicants with questions about the commitment needed to complete a graduate program should schedule an appointment with the graduate program coordinator.

A student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in order to receive a master’s degree or certificate from the School of Public Health.

8030.80 Academic Warning and Suspension

Each student admitted to graduate work in the School of Public Health must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00. A student whose cumulative institutional grade point average falls below 3.00 at the end of a semester will be placed on Academic Warning. The student will be notified of this standing by the School of Public Health. If a 3.00 cumulative grade point average is not achieved by the end of the next twelve semester hours or two semesters, whichever is longer, of completed course work approved by the faculty adviser, the student will be suspended from the graduate program. Transient students must maintain a 3.00 cumulative grade point average in order to continue in that status. Transient students who do not maintain a 3.00 cumulative grade point average may be subject to Academic Suspension.

A student may apply for reinstatement after one semester as a suspended student. Application for reinstatement must be made no later than six weeks prior to the first day of classes for the semester in which reinstatement is sought.

8030.90 Changing Catalog Editions

Students will normally satisfy the degree requirements of the catalog in effect at the time they enter the graduate program. Revisions may be required to provide more effective programs. Degree requirements include the courses and grades required to earn the degree. A change in an academic regulation such as academic standing policy or appeals procedures will affect all students regardless of catalog edition.

Students will be required to change catalog editions when they reenter the university after a period of two or more consecutive years in which they have earned no academic credit at Georgia State University.

8040 Academic Advisement

Upon admission to the MPH degree program or the GCPH program, each student is assigned a faculty advisor who will remain the student’s advisor throughout the duration of the student’s graduate studies. Any request for change in faculty advisor should be made to the graduate program coordinator or the appropriate Division Director.

Advisors provide information concerning program and university policies and procedures, as well as information on services available throughout the university.

Successful completion of a program of study in the School of Public Health does not guarantee licensure, certification, or employment in a relevant or related occupation.

8060 Graduate Assitantships

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available for qualified candidates in the School of Public Health. Further information regarding availability and qualifications for these positions can be obtained by contacting the School of Public health at publichealth@gsu.edu.

8070 Master and Certificate Programs

The faculty of the School of Public Health (SPH) is committed to providing a supportive academic environment that promotes the growth and progress of students engaged in graduate studies.

8070.10 Master of Public Health

The MPH program includes a minimum of forty-two (42) semester credit hours of study at the master’s level beyond the bachelor’s degree.

The curriculum includes:

  • 16 credit hours (five  courses) in core public health courses required of all students;
  • 3 credit hours (1 course) in research methods
  • 18 additional credit hours (generally six required and elective courses) in the student’s selected concentration;
  • 2 credit hours for a required practicum, internship or field placement; and
  • 3 credit hours for a thesis or special capstone project.
  1. Required Core Courses (15 credit hours).
    Students must complete fifteen (15) credit hours of required coursework listed below. Credit hours are shown in parentheses after each entry.

    • PH 7011 Epidemiology for Public Health (3)
    • PH 7017 Biostatistics for Public Health (4)
    • PH 7140 Social and Behavioral Dimensions of Public Health (3)
    • PH 7150 Environmental Health (3)
    • PH 7160 Introduction to the Healthcare System (3)
  2. Required Research Methods (3 credit hours).
    • PH 7019 Public Health Research Methods (3)
  3. MPH Concentrations (18 credit hours).
    • Eighteen (18) hours of required coursework and electives have been established to ensure that students achieve proficiency in the core competencies and skills related to each concentration: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, Health Promotion & Behavior, or Health Management & Policy. Each student selects a concentration when nearing completion of the core courses.  The elective(s) may come from public health course offerings or from other courses offered by the University, based on consultation with the student’s faculty advisor, the Graduate Coordinator, or the Division Director in each concentration. Prior to degree completion, students may take additional electives to expand their knowledge base or enhance special skills.  For a complete list of public health courses, visit the following link: publichealth.gsu.edu/701.html.
      • Biostatistics: The Biostatistics program concentration is designed to prepare individuals to function as applied biostatisticians in public health and biomedical related fields. The biostatistics discipline emphasizes the development and application of statistical reasoning and methods in addressing, analyzing and solving problems in public health, health care, biomedical, clinical and population-based research. The study of Biostatistics includes designs and analysis of experimental studies, including clinical trials, and non-experimental (observational) studies, theory of probability and statistics, and statistical computing. Students completing an MPH with a concentration in Biostatistics would be expected to be able to apply core and intermediate level statistical methods to public health endeavors within the context of government and private health agencies, industry, and research institutions. Applicants to the biostatistics concentration should have strong aptitude for quantitative thinking and interest in biomedical and public health applications.
      • Environmental Health: The concentration in Environmental Health (EH) will prepare students for research and practice in the field of EH, which is the understanding of environmental factors, including biological, physical and chemical factors that affect the health of a community. EH focuses on the human health effects of agents encountered in the environment, from the molecular to the ecological level, as well as the effects of natural and human-created environments on health. The concentration will provide students with knowledge in the core EH disciplines of exposure assessment, toxicology, risk assessment, air pollution, and water pollution. In addition to these core knowledge areas, additional areas of specialization within EH include food safety, occupational health, infectious diseases, environmental epidemiology, and urban health.
      • Epidemiology: Epidemiology is concerned with the distributions and determinants of disease, disabilities and death in human populations; the characteristics and dynamics of human populations, and the natural history of disease and the biologic basis of health. The concentration in epidemiology will prepare MPH students for work in the field by furnishing a solid base in epidemiologic methods, including multivariable methods, time-dependent analysis, and an introduction to Bayesian approaches. The concentration will afford students choice in the in-depth treatment of substantive issues such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, general infectious diseases, STDs and HIV, and, in conjunction with the environmental health concentration, environmental epidemiology. Students will also have to opportunity to focus on prevention methods. In conjunction with the biostatistics concentration, student will become knowledgeable in the use of analytic tools such as SPSS, SAS, and STATA.
      • Health Promotion and Behavior: The concentration in Health Promotion & Behavior will provide students with the skills, knowledge, and experiences to promote health and prevent diseases within populations and communities. This concentration will also provide students with a strong foundation for developing expertise in health promotion by specifically emphasizing public health, ecological, and behavioral contexts throughout the curriculum. Courses are designed to integrate theory, practice, and research.
      • Health Management and Policy: Health management and policy is concerned with the administration and management of public, not-for-profit, and community-based health care organizations, formulating and implementing health care policy, analyzing the distribution of and access to health care services, financing and reimbursement of health care services, and evaluating quality and outcomes of health care services and programs. The Health Management and Policy track draws upon a variety of disciplines, including health administration, health policy, public administration, business, public health law, health ethics, and economics.
  4. Practicum or Internship (2 credit hours)
    • Students will take three (2) credit hours of a required practicum, internship, field placement or equivalent in the students’ specialty field of study. Placements will be developed by the School of Public Health working in partnership with individual students.
  5. Thesis or Special Capstone Project (3 credit hours)
    • Following completion of all coursework, students must complete three (3) credit hours for a master’s thesis or a special capstone project. All students in the School of Public Health who are involved in writing a master’s thesis/research project shall register for at least three credit hours of thesis/research project credit each semester from the time they finish their course work until the time all requirements for the degree are completed.

8070.20 Graduate Certificate in Public Health

The Graduate Certificate in Public Health (GCPH) is a 15-credit hour program of study. The content is the same as the core courses taught in the Master of Public Health degree program. All courses have been specially designed and developed for students currently working in public health or in a related field.

The Graduate Certificate in Public Health will offer strong foundations in public health theory, research, and practice, for example:

  • Community Health Practice and Research
  • Program Planning, Management, and Evaluation
  • Human Communication
  • Health Promotion and Education
  • Environmental Health
  • Health and Human Rights
  • Health Policies

Required Courses (15 credit hours)

  1. Core Courses (9 hours)
    • PH 7160 Introduction to the Healthcare System (3)
    • PH 7011 Epidemiology for Public Health (3)
    • PH 7017 Biostatistics for Public Health (3)
  2. Elective Courses (6 hours)
    • Two electives agreed upon by the student and the Faculty Advisor.

8110 Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health

Contact:

Shannon Self-Brown, PhD
Associate Professor and Doctoral Program Director
E-mail: sselfbrown@gsu.edu

Michael Eriksen, ScD
Professor and Dean
E-mail: meriksen@gsu.edu

Inta Maggie Tolan, Ed.D
Director
E-mail: mtolan@gsu.edu

School of Public Health
Office of Academic Assistance & Graduate Admissions
1 Park Place, Suite 640
Phone:  404/413-1452
E-mail: publichealthadvising@gsu.edu

School of Public Health
Main Office
848 Urban Life Building
Phone: 404/413-1130
E-mail: publichealth@gsu.edu
Website: http://publichealth.gsu.edu/

Approved by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents in March 2011, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Public Health program in the School of Public Health is the first Board of Regent’s approved public health doctoral program in the metropolitan Atlanta area.  The program will serve to educate the next generation of prevention scientists conducting public health research in academia, governmental public health, health care organizations and the private sector.

8110.10 Program Objectives

Students in the PhD in Public Health program will be trained in the following areas and objectives:

Designing research:

  • Critically review the scientific literature, synthesizing the results across studies, in order to identify promising avenues for original research or research applied to existing scholarship.
  • Clearly identify research questions that have the potential to make significant contributions to scientific knowledge about important public health problems, theory, policy or practice, and further research.
  • Design original research or research based on existing scholarship by developing a clear research question(s), presenting a rationale demonstrating the public health significance of the question(s), and identifying a detailed and appropriate methodology, including research design for answering the question(s).
  • Design all research within the ethical principles of research, of the conduct of research involving human subjects and with cultural sensitivity.

Conducting research studies:

  • Conduct independent research.
  • Manage the overall research effort, including collecting data; assuring quality control, documentation and security; preparing data for analysis; and guaranteeing credible analytic outcomes.

Analyzing data and disseminating results:

  • Analyze data using approaches appropriate to the research design including using state of the art qualitative and quantitative methods.
  • Use analytic methods to extract information from data through the syntheses of existing scholarship and relevant theory and draw meaningful implications and conclusions for public health theory, policy, practice, and further research.
  • Present the findings of the research clearly and succinctly in both oral and written formats, including presentations at scientific and working meetings, submission of abstracts to professional conferences and meetings, submission of articles to peer reviewed journals, and books or chapters.

8110.20 Admissions

Applicants will be accepted for fall semesters only. The application deadline is February 1st  each year.

Applicants must possess the MPH, MSPH, or equivalent at the time of expected enrollment. Applicants who hold other graduate degrees will be considered for admission, but they may need to complete prerequisite coursework in public health before taking doctoral level course work.

The following materials are required for admission; All materials must be submitted through SOPHAS:

  1. Application for Graduate Study.
  2. A $120.00 application fee.
  3. One copy of official transcripts from all colleges and/or universities attended.
  4. Three references from individuals knowledgeable of the applicant’s academic, professional and intellectual abilities. Two of the letters must be academic references.
  5. A statement of interest and professional intent.
  6. Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Applicants with an earned doctorate (including an M.D. or J.D.) from an accredited institution in the U.S. do not need to take either examination.
  7. Additional requirements for international students can be found at: publichealth.gsu.edu/academic/apply/international-students/.

8110.30 Degree Requirements

Prerequisites: Basic Public Health Core

Applicants to the Doctor of Philosophy must provide documentation of successful completion of the five core public health competencies on the graduate level. The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) designates the following competencies as public health core knowledge areas: Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, Health Services Administration, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Applicants may waive these courses if they enter the PhD program with a MPH or have successfully completed a comparable course(s) with a grade of B or better.

  1. Public Health Core: 18 credit hours
    The following courses constitute the Public Health Core of the PhD in Public Health Program. Credit hours are designated in the parentheses.

    • PH 7130: Leadership and Public Health (3)
    • PH 8350: Biological Basis for Disease (3)
    • PH 8120: Theory and Practice in Health and Prevention (3)
    • PH 8130: Intervention and Evaluation of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention (3)
    • PH 8140: Advanced Research Methods (3)
    • PH 8150: Public Health Ethics (3)
  2. Public Health Concentration/Cognate: 15–18 credit hours
    Each student must select courses that will allow him or her to develop expertise in a selected area of public health. To fulfill this requirement, students may take relevant graduate-level courses in the Institute or in other university departments including, but not limited to, Sociology, Psychology, Anthropology, Social Work, Public Management and Policy.
  3. Basic Research Methods/Statistics: 6 credit hours
    Students will select two courses from the following list:

    • PH 8027: Biostatistics II (3)
    • PH 8170: Applied Correlation & Regression (3)
    • EPRS 8540: Quantitative Methods & Analysis ED II (3)
    • EPRS 8550: Quantitative Methods & Analysis ED III (3)
    • PSYC 8410: Psychological Research Statistics I (3)
    • PSYC 8420: Psychological Research Statistics II (3)
  4. Advanced Analysis/Statistics: 6–9 credit hours
    A list of courses that may be taken to satisfy this requirement can be found at the following website: http://publichealth.gsu.edu/pdf/PhD_AdvancedAnalysisCourses.pdf.
  5. Professional Seminars: 5 credit hours
    • PH 8180: Doctoral Research Seminar (2)
    • PH 8190: Presenting and Critiquing Research (1)
    • PH 8200: Grant writing (1)
    • PH 8210: Review Paper (1)
  6. Teaching, Research, or Applied Practicum Requirement
    PH9960 Doctoral Practicum (3).  Students may select from several opportunities for the practicum experience, including teaching, research, or practice-based opportunities.  Students should work with their advisor and the PhD Director to select the most appropriate practicum experience.
  7. Comprehensive Doctoral Examination   Students will be expected to pass a comprehensive written exam after completing core courses. Students will have two opportunities to pass this exam, which is graded Pass/Fail by two faculty in the School of Public Health.
  8. Dissertation Requirement

    The dissertation will provide the student with an educational experience that enables the student to make a significant contribution to the field of public health and to develop knowledge and skills that allow him or her to contribute to the theoretical, conceptual, empirical, or practice base in the field of public health. Enrollment for dissertation credit is permitted only after successful completion of the comprehensive examination. Students must register for a minimum of nine (9) credit hours of PH 9990.

8110.40 Graduate Research/Teaching Assistantships

All admitted doctoral students who plan to study full-time will be considered for Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) and/or Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs). Assistantships cover the cost of tuition and provide an annual stipend  for at least three years.

The following criteria must be met and maintained for a student to be a GRA or GTA.

  • Students must have and maintain a 3.2 or higher cumulative grade point average.
  • Students must be enrolled in the minimum hours deemed a full-time load (nine semester hours during the regular academic year and six semester hours in the summer).
  • Concurrent with the assistantship appointment, doctoral students should not be engaged in other significant outside employment. Students in this situation should request approval for hire through the head of the academic unit and Doctoral Program Director.

8110.50 Major Professor and Advisory Committee Requirements

All students in the doctoral program must identify a Major Professor, assemble an Advisory Committee,  and respond to an annual review concerning their progress toward completion of their degree.

Major Professor/Advisor

Upon admission to the PhD program in Public Health, a student is assigned a temporary advisor from the IPH faculty. This advisor assists the student until he or she selects a Doctoral Advisory Committee. In conjunction with the doctoral program director, each student will select a doctoral advisor and advisory committee no later than one calendar year from the time the student begins his or her coursework. The Major Professor serves to advise and mentor the student throughout the program and to assist the student in choosing courses, signing off on official documents, and chairing the student’s doctoral advisory committee.

Annual Review of Doctoral Students

PhD students will be given feedback from their Major Professor on an annual basis. Students are required to:

1. Set up an appointment with the Major Professor by June 1st each year.
2. One week prior to the scheduled appointment students must submit:
a. summary of the courses and grades taken since beginning the program,
b. a summary of professional scholarship in the last year,
c. a course paper/assignment or another product that demonstrates scientific writing skills, and proficiency with statistics.

Advisors will use this portfolio to evaluate student progress in several areas: coursework progress, professional scholarship, scientific writing, statistical proficiency, and overall professionalism. PhD milestones and goals for the next academic year should also be discussed. All students will receive written feedback from the Doctoral Program Director summing up the evaluation ratings and the student’s standing with the program.

If progress is unsatisfactory, the student will plan a course of action with his or her advisor and the Doctoral Program Director to improve their progress.  If the student demonstrates unsatisfactory progress , he or she may be withdrawn from the program.

8110.60 Enrollment Requirements

Students in all graduate programs must maintain enrollment totaling six hours (or more) over three consecutive semesters, including summers.  In other words, the total enrollment of the current term plus the two terms preceding it must add up to six hours or more.  The status of all students will be checked by the midpoint of each term for compliance with the continuous enrollment requirement.  Any student whose enrollment is noncompliant will receive a hold on their registration, which would prevent registering for all current and future classes.  Those students will be notified by an e-mail message sent to their official GSU e-mail account.  To resume their programs, students with continuous holds on their enrollment must file for re-entry by the published deadline and must enroll at a level sufficient to satisfy the continuous enrollment criterion.  That is, their enrollment in the re-entry term plus the two terms preceding it must total six hours or more.  The maximum required enrollment level for the re-entry term is six hours.  For more information on the re-entry process, contact the Office of Graduate Admissions and Academic Assistance.

8110.70 GPA Requirements

Students must maintain a 3.2 grade point average (GPA) to progress from one semester to the next and must receive at least a grade of B for each public health course.  Doctoral students whose cumulative GPA falls below 3.2 at the end of a semester will receive a warning from the Institute.  If at the end of the next six semester hours of enrollment, the student has not achieved a 3.2 cumulative GPA, he or she will be withdrawn from the graduate program.  Any student who is withdrawn from the program may apply for readmission after a period of one year.

8110.80 Residency Requirements and Time Limitations

The purpose of requiring completion of all degree requirements within a fixed period is to ensure currency, continuity, and coherence in the academic experiences leading to the degree.  Within nine (9) years of the student’s term of first matriculation, it is required that he or she complete all degree requirements.  Moreover, all requirements for doctoral candidacy (coursework, comprehensive examination, prospectus approval) must be completed within seven years (7) of the student’s first term of matriculation.  No coursework completed more than seven years before admission to candidacy may be used to meet any doctoral degree requirement.  Enrollment for a minimum of three semester hours of credit is required during at least two out of each three-term period following successful completion of the comprehensive examination until graduation.  This enrollment must include a minimum of nine semester hours of dissertation (9990) credit but may also include other coursework.  The student must be enrolled in and successfully complete three semester hours of graduate credit (typically dissertation hours) during the academic term in which all degree requirements are completed.

Course Waivers

A student may receive course waivers for similar courses completed as part of other graduate degree programs.  The course that is requested to be waived,  must have been completed within five (5) years of entry into the doctoral program.  Students are still expected to take the minimum number of credit hours expected for the PhD degree at Georgia State University, but when granted a waiver, the student may select a different graduate level course to take in order to complete the credit hour requirement.

These courses must constitute a logical part of the student’s program and must be recommended by the student’s Major Professor and Director for approval by the Institute.  No grade below a B may be waived. Please note that the acceptance of waiver credit is not automatic; it must be approved and documented by the Doctoral Program Director program and the respective Division Director.  Courses transferred for the doctoral degree may not be used in fulfilling the PhD Public Health Core requirements or the residency requirement.

Admission to Candidacy

The signed Preliminary Doctoral Program of Study (PDPS) must be submitted to the Doctoral Program Director when the student has completed 20 semester credit hours and no later than three semesters after starting the program.  In general, full-time students will submit the PDPS by the end of their first year of residency.  For example, students who started in the fall semester should submit this form by the end either of the spring semester or by the beginning of the following fall semester.  Although the PDPS is a university form, it is for departmental use only and should NOT be sent to the University.

Final Doctoral Program of Study

This form must be completed and submitted to the Doctoral Program Director at least two weeks before applying for admission to candidacy and be approved by the Doctoral Advisory Committee.  The Advisory Committee, the Director, and the Institute must submit this Final Doctoral Program of Study on the proper form for approval.  The Final Doctoral Program of Study must show all graduate courses relevant to the doctoral program (including master-level courses and courses approved from other universities), in addition to courses satisfying the minimum degree requirement.

After completing the required coursework and as a prerequisite to admission to candidacy, the student must pass the comprehensive doctoral examination.

8110.90 Comprehensive Exams

Doctoral students must pass formal, comprehensive written and oral examinations before being admitted to candidacy and must successfully defend their dissertation before being awarded a doctoral degree.

The purpose of comprehensive examination is to ascertain the student’s readiness to conduct the dissertation.

The student must demonstrate expertise in expressing ideas with clarity and depth, synthesizing knowledge from public health and related fields, and applying knowledge and critical thinking skills to specific problems or issues in public health.  To be eligible to take the comprehensive examination, the student must have completed and achieved a 3.2 or greater cumulative grade-point average in the doctoral program of study, and received approval from the Doctoral Advisory Committee.  The student has two opportunities to pass the comprehensive examination.  Prior to retaking the examination,  students may be required to take additional coursework or complete other learning experiences.  Students may only continue in the doctoral program if they pass the examination on the second attempt.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy for a doctoral student is requested immediately after the successful completion of the comprehensive examination.  The following is a complete list of requirements for admission to candidacy:

  1. All prerequisites set as a condition to admission have been satisfactorily completed.
  2. The Advisory Committee, the PhD Director, and the School have approved the final program of study.
  3. A GPA of 3.2 (B) has been maintained for all graduate courses taken and for all completed courses on the program of study (no course with a grade below C+ may be placed on the final program of study).
  4. Written and oral comprehensive examinations have been passed and reported to the Institute.
  5. The Advisory Committee, including any necessary changes in the membership, is confirmed and all its members have been notified of their appointment.
  6. The residence requirement has been met.

Application for Admission to Candidacy

This form must be submitted to the Institute as soon as possible following the completion of these requirements.  Candidacy begins on the date the form is received by the Institute.  After admission to candidacy, a student must register for at least nine (9) hours of dissertation credit during the completion of the degree program.  Students planning to graduate the same semester they enter candidacy must be admitted by the published deadline for candidacy during that semester and register for three (3) hours.  The student must also meet all other deadlines for graduation in that semester.  A student must register for a minimum of three (3) hours of credit in any semester when using University facilities, and/or faculty or staff time. The Institute shall not accept a thesis or dissertation if the student has not been admitted to candidacy for the degree.

Time Limit on Candidacy

All degree requirements must be successfully completed within nine (9) years of a student’s first term of matriculation.  The dissertation must be completed (within four (4) years following admission to candidacy) to qualify for graduation.  If a doctoral student’s candidacy expires after the first week of classes in the final semester, the student is granted the remainder of the semester to complete degree requirements without special permission of the Institute.

Dissertation

Enrollment for dissertation credit is permitted only after successful completion of the comprehensive examination.  The Doctoral Dissertation Committee will consist of a minimum of four members:  a major adviser and one other committee member from within and one member from outside the SPH.  The outside member may be a faculty member from within GSU or a faculty member from another institution.  All committee members must hold an earned doctorate and be graduate faculty or the equivalent.  The non-SPH committee members should be selected to facilitate the completion of the dissertation.

Dissertation Planning

Students pursuing a PhD must complete a dissertation on a subject connected with their major field of study. The dissertation must present original research, independent thinking, scholarly ability, and technical mastery of a field of study.  Its conclusions must be logical, its literary form must be acceptable, and its contribution to the field of public health should merit publication.

The dissertation must provide the student with an educational experience that enables the student to make a significant contribution to the field of public health and to develop knowledge and skills that allow them to contribute to the theoretical, conceptual, empirical, or practice base in the field of public health.  At a minimum, the dissertation should contribute to at least one of these knowledge bases.  These activities must take place under the direction of the student’s dissertation committee.  The study must include all of the following:

  • Identifying an appropriate theory to inform the study.
  • Conceptualizing the research questions and hypotheses.
  • Developing the research design.
  • Applying the appropriate methodology.
  • Interpreting the study results.

Note: These guidelines do allow for secondary data analysis.

The School of Public Health will also accept the European dissertation format. This format contains a first chapter that consists of a thorough synthetic review of the literature for the content area of the student dissertation. The next chapters consist of copies of three (a) published papers, (b) manuscripts in press, (c) manuscripts submitted. Because the manuscripts may have been published, submitted, or targeted for different journals with different journal styles, the chapters may not all be formatted in the same style . As is found in published papers, each chapter would have an Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion section, unless one paper is a review paper, which may be approved as an option by the dissertation committee. The final chapter should include a global perspective summary that ties together the findings in the three papers and concludes with the future directions for the student’s line of research. This final chapter is not a recapitulation of the middle chapters. This chapter offers the author the unique opportunity to speculate without the fetters that constrain typical research papers.
The School of Public Health requires that the student submitting the dissertation must be listed as the first author of each article used as a chapter. One first-author manuscript that is submitted prior to the dissertation proposal meeting (no more than 1 year in advance) and is linked to the overall theme of the dissertation can be included as one of the three chapters upon approval of the major advisor. The inclusion of any articles that are previously published or accepted for publication requires permission from the copyright holder. Articles not yet copyrighted by another party will be covered under the copyright of the dissertation.

It is most important that the persons who serve on the Advisory Committee, at the time the dissertation research is undertaken, be those faculty members most knowledgeable in the areas of the student’s research.  Within the guidelines for committee membership, they should be selected regardless of their departmental affiliation.  Sometimes it will be appropriate for the membership of the Advisory Committee to remain unchanged during a student’s entire doctoral program, while at other times, changes in the composition of the original committee will be necessary.

Examination of the Defense Prospectus

When the Major Professor certifies that the dissertation prospectus is satisfactory, the Advisory Committee in a meeting with the student must formally consider it.  This formal consideration may not take the place of the comprehensive oral examination.

  1. The student will provide a complete copy of the prospectus (written and electronic) to all members of the committee at least two weeks before the examination.  The prospectus and the final dissertation must be formatted according to the AMA Manual of Style (latest edition).
  2. The prospectus will include (Note: Deviations from the chapter approach may be approved by the student’s Major Professor and Doctoral Program Director):
    1. Chapter 1: Introduction and Statement of Purpose
    2. Chapter 2: Review of the Literature
    3. Chapter 3: Methods
    4. Reference section of all citations
    5. Appendices of supporting documents
  3. Approval of the prospectus signifies that members of the Advisory Committee believe that it proposes a satisfactory research study.  Approval of the prospectus requires the agreement of all members of the Advisory Committee except one, as endorsed by their signatures on the appropriate form that, together with this approved prospectus, is filed with the Graduate Coordinator.
  4. Before starting the data collection, the student must request approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) if human subjects are involved in the research project.

The Major Professor has the primary responsibility for guiding research, but the student should consult all members of the Advisory Committee to draw upon their expertise in relevant areas.

Dissertation Approval and Defense

When the Major Professor is satisfied with the completed dissertation, he or she will certify that it has his or her approval and is ready to be read.  The Major Professor will then distribute copies of the dissertation to the remaining members of the Advisory Committee and will schedule a final oral defense and notify the Institute.  Subsequently, the Institute will announce the time and place of the defense of the dissertation to the University community.  The committee members will have three weeks to read and evaluate the completed dissertation.  Written assent of all committee members except one is required before a dissertation is approved as ready for a final defense.  If the Advisory Committee declines to approve the dissertation as ready for the final defense, the Major Professor will notify the student and the Institute in writing.

The Major Professor will chair the dissertation defense.  All members of the Advisory Committee except one must approve the dissertation and the defense and must certify their approval in writing.  The results of the defense of the dissertation must be reported to the School of Public Health at least 2 weeks prior to graduation.  The date (year) on the title page of the dissertation shall be the same as the date (year) on which the dissertation is approved by the Institute, following approval by the Advisory Committee.  The final dissertation document must conform to all format and content requirements specified by the School of Public Health.