The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Program at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GWSPH) is a leadership degree. We train public health thought leaders and practitioners ready to shape public health policy and practice and lead organizational change in the U.S. and worldwide.
This is an interdisciplinary, public health leadership training program that delivers practice-based curriculum and applied research to equip public health leaders with skills for the development, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs and (systems) policies.
The DrPH program training utilizes domestic and global health opportunities that build on our location in Washington, D.C. to prepare our students for senior-level public health leadership roles in the U.S. and globally. Focusing on leadership and practice, we provide curriculum flexibility to meet the diverse needs of our students through rigorous course work in global health; environmental & occupational health; health policy & management; social and behavioral science, prevention & community health; exercise & nutrition; biostatistics; and epidemiology.
The DrPH program is designed to promote the principles of academic public health practice:·
- Longstanding and recent challenges (e.g., COVID-19 pandemic, racism, violence and a less than adequate national public health infrastructure) illustrate the need for public health professionals who can provide the leadership to expand and strengthen the U.S. and global public health systems.
- To prepare professionals with the necessary skills to provide this leadership.
GWSPH Doctoral programs admit students for the Fall term each academic year. Applications will be accepted beginning in August and are due no later than December 1st for the next matriculating cohort beginning in the following Fall term. Find GWSPH graduate admissions information here.
Applications will be reviewed following the December 1st deadline and those applicants selected for an interview can expect to be contacted by mid-February.
A Master's degree is required. Applicants who have completed an MPH degree from a Council of Education for Public Health (CEPH) accredited program are strongly preferred for admission to the DrPH Program. Applicants with a master’s degree in another field should explain their relevant training, research experience, work experience and educational background comparable to the MPH. DrPH applicants admitted without an MPH may be required to take additional coursework at the graduate level that does not apply toward the minimum 48 credits required for the DrPH program.
Submission of GRE scores is optional. If submitting GRE scores, they must have been taken within five years of the date of application. Because admission to this program is highly selective, successful applicants have competitive academic credentials and 4 years or more prior public health professional work experience.
DrPH Core/Foundational Requirements
PUBH 8700 | DrPH Interdisciplinary Seminar (3 credits)
PUBH 8706 | Foundations of Public Health Leadership (3 credits)
PUBH 8708 | Applied Public Health Methods (3 credits)
PUBH 8710 | Public Health Practice and Social Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
PUBH 8712 | PH Program Planning, Implementation & Evaluation (3 credits)
PUBH 8409 | Health Communications Research (3 credits)
PUBH 8716 | Pedagogical Methods & Practice for PH Leaders & Practitioners (2 credits)
PUBH 8718 | Public Health & Societal Leadership (3 credits)
PUBH 8720 | Social Change & Collective Impact (3 credits)
PUBH 8722 | Public Health Policy Analysis (3 credits)
PUBH 8724 | Organizational Leadership & Change Management (3 credits)
PUBH 6080 | *Pathways to Public Health (0 credits)
*Find FAQs about PUBH 6080 on the Advising page here. Students who have a prior degree from an accredited school of public health may be waived from PUBH 6080.
CORE/FOUNDATIONAL TOTAL: 32 CREDITS
Additional Methods Coursework
Choose 6 credits. Suggestions provided in the Program Guide. Consult with Advisor.
ADDITIONAL METHODS TOTAL: 6 CREDITS
Choice of 2- and 3-credit department-based, doctoral seminars; and/or 1, 2, and 3-credit graduate elective courses. Any combination works.
Minimum 6 credits. Highly recommended: PUBH 8471- Ethics in PH Policy & Practice (2 credits)
For the most up to date list of electives, please reference the
ELECTIVES TOTAL: 6-8 CREDITS
Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation
COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION (no credits)
All DrPH students are required to pass a Comprehensive Examination, which typically occurs following the Spring semester of Year 2. Comprehensive exams must be successfully completed within three years of matriculation to the DrPH program.
Practice Experience & Dissertation
PUBH 8701 | DrPH Applied Practice Experience *(0 credits)
PUBH 8702 | Proposal Development (2 credits)
Prerequisites: Pass Comprehensive Exam, Approval of Advisor or Program Director, & one page abstract
PUBH 8703 | Applied Dissertation (0-2 credits)
* See more information for the DrPH APEx in separate tab
TOTAL: 2-4 CREDITS
- Professional Enhancement
Students in the DrPH program must participate in eight hours of Professional Enhancement. These activities may be Public Health-related lectures, seminars, and symposia related to your field of study.
Professional Enhancement activities supplement the rigorous academic curriculum of the SPH degree programs and help prepare students to participate actively in the professional community. You can learn more about opportunities for Professional Enhancement via the Milken Institute School of Public Health Listserv, through departmental communications, or by speaking with your advisor.
Students submit a completed Professional Enhancement Form to the Office of Student Records which is required documentation to be cleared for graduation.
- Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Training
All students are required to complete the Basic CITI training module in Social and Behavioral Research. This online training module for Social and Behavioral Researchers will help new students demonstrate and maintain sufficient knowledge of the ethical principles and regulatory requirements for protecting human subjects - key for any public health research.
- Academic Integrity Quiz
All Milken Institute School of Public Health students are required to review the University’s Code of Academic Integrity and complete the GW Academic Integrity Activity. This activity must be completed within 2 weeks of matriculation. Information on GWSPH Academic Integrity requirements can be found here.
**For graduation requirements, please download the program guide.**
See the program guide, the DrPH Student Handbook, and the SPH Graduate Student Handbook for additional information.
The DrPH Applied Practice Experience (DAPEx) benefits students by providing an opportunity for each student to apply their public health leadership and management skills in real-life settings. The DAPEx is a requirement component of the Doctor of Public Health Program
- The DAPEx is structured as a three-way partnership between the student, GWSPH, and a sponsoring agency/organization.
- Practice experiences are pre-approved, planned, supervised, and evaluated.
- Students are directly exposed to leadership experiences in a public health practice setting.
- GWSPH’s location in the nation’s capital offers robust opportunities affording students access to a multitude of DAPEx sites.
More information will be available in the Fall term.
Archived Program Guides
Past Program Guides by Department
Students should always refer to the guide from the year in which they matriculated into the program. For the current, school-wide DrPH program guide, click the "PROGRAM GUIDE" button on the right-hand side of this program page.
- Program Guide 2021- DrPH
Environmental & Occupational Health Department
Global Health Department
Health Policy Department
Prevention & Community Health Department
As a School-wide program, the DrPH students will have access to faculty throughout all of the Milken Institute School of Public Health who will be involved in varying capacities such as mentoring, coaching, advising, teaching and applied dissertation support. Examples of faculty involved in the DrPH program follow.
These distinguished faculty and professionals will also be teaching required coursework in the DrPH curriculum:
Marsha Lillie-Blanton, DrPH, MHS
Regan Crump, DrPH, MSH
Wendy Ellis, DrPH, MPH
Ans Irfan, MD, EdD, MPH, DrPH(c)
Gene Migliaccio, DrPH, MPH
Khadi Ndiaye, PhD, MA
Emily Peca, DrPH, MA
Earl Pinto, JD, MA
Marsha Regenstein, PhD, MCP
Samantha Ski, DrPH, MA
Jennifer Skillicorn, DrPH, MPH