Population Health Sciences Program

Reductions in morbidity and mortality during the 20th century resulted in large part from effective health promotion and disease prevention programs. In the 21st century, these activities will continue to be central to improving population health and reducing health disparities. The Population Health Sciences (PHS) Graduate Program prepares students to conduct, communicate, and apply research aimed at the protection, promotion, and restoration of health in human populations. 

Curricula within the program share a population health perspective that explores the interplay of individual biological and behavioral factors with aspects of the physical, social, and policy environments. Research focuses on health risks, determinants, outcomes, and interventions in clinical and community settings and in unique occupational or patient groups. 

Training emphasizes the development and mastery of high-level quantitative skills in data collection and analysis.

The PhD in Population Health Sciences is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

DEGREE OFFERED

PhD

CEPH Accredited Master's Doctoral

Curriculum


The MS and PhD curriculum plans include core program requirements as well as curriculum specific courses. Research projects and elective courses can be tailored to meet individual student’s interests and career goals.

The student’s mentor and advisory committee guide the student in developing a course plan that includes all curriculum specific requirements.  Students select elective courses from among the diverse offerings of this and other GSBS Programs.

The typical PhD curriculum plan includes two years of course work. The student takes the qualifying examination in the third year to demonstrate proficiency in the required knowledge and skills and to show readiness to conduct independent research.  Submission of an approved dissertation proposal advances the student to candidacy for the degree.  Completion, presentation, and defense of the dissertation project are the final requirements in the curriculum plan.

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PhD Requirements include:

  • Public Health Core Courses:
    • Biostatistics (PHS 6343) 
    • Introduction to Epidemiology (PHS 6330)
    • Issues in Prevention (PHS 6396)
  • Biostatistics/Methods Courses
    • Introduction to Linear Models (PHS 6344)
    • Epidemiological Methods (PHS 6333)
    • Introduction to Data Management (PHS 6210)
    • Research Design (PHS 6322)
    • Applied Survey Methods (PHS 6374)
    • One of the following courses:
      • Survival Data Analysis (PHS 6321)
      • Correlated Data Analysis (PHS 6313)
      • Categorical Data Analysis (PHS 6341)
  • PHS Required Courses
    • Translational Epidemiology 1: Patient-Oriented Research (PHS 6212)
    • Translational Epidemiology 2: Population-Oriented Research (PHS 6213)
    • Social Epidemiology (PHS 6379)
    • Seminar (4 semesters; PHS 6195)
    • Society & Health Care (PHS 6280)
    • One of the following courses:
      • Aging & Health (PHS 6366)
      • Minorities, Aging & Health (PHS 6312)
  • Additional Required Courses
    • Ethics of Scientific Research (MEHU 6101)
    • Research/Research Rotation (PHS 6011/6097)
    • Completion of a written dissertation (PHS 6099) - after passing written/oral qualifying exams in year 2
    • Oral presentation/defense of dissertation

Our Faculty

The PHS Graduate Program includes faculty from several clinical and basic science departments providing students access to facilities across the campus. You can find out more information about our faculty here

Resources

Facilities associated with the individual curricular tracks can be made available to all PHS students with related research interests. PHS faculty members have access to and experience with a wide range of population health data sets including:

  • the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES)
  • the Hispanic Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (H-EPESE)
  • cancer data from the SEER Program
  • the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS)
  • Medicare data
  • the Health and Retirement Study (HRS)
  • mortality data for the Department of Energy nuclear workers
  • health insurance claims data on approximately 36 million United Health enrollees
  • trauma-related data
  • data from EPIC medical records

Contacts

Preventive Medicine Graduate Programs
University of Texas Medical Branch
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, Texas 77555-1110

p. (409) 772-6635

M. Kristen Peek, PhD

M. Kristen Peek, PhD
Director, Public Health Graduate Program

Amber Anthony

Program Manager

409-772-6635