DrPH Academic & Course Requirements
The DrPH degree requires 42 credits: 39 from required courses and 3 from elective courses. A wide variety of elective courses are available within the Public Health Program and through other graduate and professional schools at Tufts University. To meet the need for public health professionals with interdisciplinary training, students are encouraged to diversify their curriculum by taking elective courses offered at other schools within Tufts University including the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, the Fletcher Graduate School of International Affairs, and the Tufts School of Engineering. Students may also cross-register for courses at Boston College, Boston University and Brandeis University.
Candidates for the DrPH program are presumed to have a mastery of the foundational knowledge required of Master of Public Health graduates: epidemiology, biostatistics, behavioral science, environmental health, and health services. Students without an MPH must either show evidence of such knowledge or complete courses in the areas listed on our Prerequisites page.
DrPH Required Courses
PH 206: Intermediate Biostatistics: Regression Methods
A variety of topics related to modeling continuous, binary, and survival time outcomes in terms of multiple risk factors are explored. Topics covered include the analysis of variance and covariance, linear regression, multiple linear regression, nonlinear regression, logistic regression, non parametric regression, and regression for survival times, including proportional hazard models. Emphasis is on the practical aspects of model construction, model checking, and model prediction. Applications and computer methods are stressed.
PH 210: Law in Public Health
This course explores the complex and evolving legal environment surrounding the public health and health care delivery systems. Issues include those related to tobacco-related injuries and Medicaid litigation, personal injury liability for toxic substance exposure, end-of-life decision making, medical malpractice, and insurance company regulation and liability. In analysis of these topics, the interrelationship of the levels and branches of government will be noted. Also, the course incorporates basic descriptions of financing mechanisms and providers in the US health care system.
PH 221: Methods of Inquiry in Public Health
This course will provide students with an introduction to the general principles and basic techniques appropriate for the investigation of public health issues. Topics covered include the research process, formulating research questions and hypotheses, developing a project plan, measurement concepts and methods, variables, validity, sampling and participant recruitment, data collection, quantitative and qualitative study design, survey, evaluation, community needs assessments, community based research, and ethics. Strategies for engaging diverse populations in research, such as "vulnerable" populations and children, will be explored. The course emphasizes conceptual understanding and is structured so students may learn to clearly define, articulate, and apply the What, Why, Who, When, Where and, most importantly for this course, How of a proposed research project.
PH 222: Survey Research Methods
This course uses real world examples to introduce students to basic survey methodology and data management. Students have the opportunity to practice the fundamentals of good survey design and how to enter, code and clean the data one collects. Topics include formulating research questions, sampling, sample size determination, linking instruments to conceptual frameworks, principles of item construction and scale development, modes of survey administration, and qualitative methods. During the laboratory component of the course, students learn how to develop and maintain a documentation system, create data entry screens, verify the accuracy of data entry, clean data, merge and subset data files, derive new variables, conduct descriptive analyses and summarize results. Prerequisite: core biostatistics and epidemiology courses.
PH 225: Qualitative Tools for Research and Programs
The course is aimed at integrating specific qualitative research methods, including the use of interviews, focus groups, and content analysis, as well as the analysis of the resulting data. Students are required to work on several small weekly assignments that allow them to practice specific methods and foster development of qualitative research skills. They are also required to present examples of qualitative research in class, illustrating both research design and data analysis. By the end of the semester, students will understand how to form research questions appropriate for qualitative methods, integrate qualitative and quantitative methods, and use the tools of qualitative data collection and analysis.
PH 701: Analysis of Clustered Data
This course provides an accessible yet in-depth introduction to analyzing clustered data that arise in multilevel, repeated measures, longitudinal, and group-randomized study designs. Using real data sets from published studies in the health sciences, the instructor will take the students on a journey, starting from exploratory analyses, through theoretical underpinnings, and finishing with sophisticated statistical models. All concepts will be illustrated using SAS statistical software. The course will not only emphasize selecting an appropriate analytical approach but also a sound interpretation of the results in both technical and non-technical language.
PH 702: Monitoring & Evaluating Public Health Programs
Students will learn state-of-the-art monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tools, models and approaches for designing robust systems for assessing public health interventions and policies. The focus of this course is on the design of systems that facilitate data-informed decision-making by program stakeholders including implementers and policy makers for public health programs. Doctoral students will learn how to: 1) apply theory-driven approaches for designing and implementing M&E systems to monitor performance and measure effectiveness of public health programs; 2) use implementation research and delivery science to address barriers for delivering evidence-based public health interventions in complex settings; and, 3) develop sound evaluation designs that are responsive to evaluation questions to assess performance, measure outcomes and document health impact. Student evaluation will be based on practical assignments throughout the academic semester (70%) and on overall class participation (30%).
PH 709: Advocacy for Public Health
This advanced course provides an understanding of ways to engage in the formulation of policy and decisions related to public health and health care and in carving a strategy to enhance communication for a variety of issues. It will address public health policy at both the national and state level and with legislative representatives, agency heads and within professional organizations. Students will be exposed to a variety of tools used for advocacy, the development and implementation of an advocacy strategy, and the challenges of advocacy within the current political climate. Students must commit to participating in a three day Health Education Advocacy Summit in Washington DC during the first weekend of March. The Summit culminates in visits with members of Congress on a topic of current interest to the Society for Public Health Education. Enrollment for this advanced course is by permission of the instructor.
PH 705, 706, 707, 708: DrPH Seminar
The DrPH seminar is delivered with flexible content and format. Topics covered in this course will include: community contextual and stakeholder analysis; community-based participatory research; health disparities, public health surveillance; critical analysis of public health communication interventions; global health and climate change; effective grant writing and responding to a request for proposals.
PH 710: Organizational Management and Theory
This course provides a framework for understanding, diagnosing, and taking actions to improve individual, group, and system-wide effectiveness in health services organizations. The conceptual framework is derived from the organizational behavior and management literature and applied to health services organizations. Students will gain an appreciation for the complexities of management in challenging health care situations. Emphasis will be placed on the development of critical thinking skills necessary to succeed in today's healthcare environment. Some of the topics this course addresses and integrates are leadership, motivation, corporate culture, teams, organization design and coordination, and organization change.
PH 720, 721, 722, 723: Journal Club
Journal articles will be chosen from the current literature for individual critique and discussion. The focus will be articles that provoke discussion in the public health science and policy community. Articles related to the professional interests of the students will also be discussed.
Three elective credits are required. Students may cross-register for courses at any of the Tufts Schools—Arts and Sciences, Biomedical Sciences (Sackler), Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law and Diplomacy (Fletcher), Nutrition Science and Policy (Friedman) and Veterinary Medicine (Cummings). Students may also cross-register for courses at Boston College, Boston University and Brandeis University.
Examples of elective courses:
IDGH 540: Infectious Diseases of Humans and Animals
CEE 0167: Environmental Toxicology
PH 231: Quality Improvement Methods in Health & Health Care
UEP 284: Developing Sustainable Communities
HCOM 544: Professional Communication
ILO L240: Legal and Institutional Aspects of International Trade
NUTR 222: Gender, Culture and Conflict in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
View the Tufts University course catalogue.