Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)




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 a public health leadership training program that delivers practice-based curriculum 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 an interdisciplinary approach 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. 

Admission to this program is highly selective, successful applicants have competitive academic credentials and four years or more of relevant health-related professional work experience post-graduate degree. 

Submission of GRE scores is not required.

DrPH Core Requirements

PUBH 8706 | Leadership Principles and Practice I (3 credits)
PUBH 8708 | Applied Public Health Methods I (3 credits)
PUBH 8710 | Public Health Project Management and Social Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
PUBH 8712 | Public Health Program Planning, Implementation & Evaluation (3 credits)
PUBH 8714 | Leadership Principles and Practice II (3 credits)
PUBH 8716 | Leadership in Practice: Education and Workforce Development (3 credits)
PUBH 8718 | Public Health Communications and Marketing (3 credits)
PUBH 8720 | Social Change and Collective Impact (3 credits)
PUBH 8722 | Public Health Policy Analysis (3 credits)
PUBH 8724 | Organizational Leadership and Change Management (3 credits)
PUBH 8726 | Applied Public Health Methods II (3 credits)
PUBH 8730 | DrPH Immersion (Washington, DC)  (2 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.



Dissertation Portfolio Coursework

PUBH 8700 | DrPH Seminar and Introduction to DrPH Applied Practice Experience (DAPEx) (3 credits)
PUBH 8703 | Dissertation Portfolio: Independent Study I for DAPEx Proposal Development (0 credit)
PUBH 8705 | Dissertation Portfolio: Independent Study II for DAPEx Proposal Development (0 credit)
PUBH 8707 | Dissertation Portfolio: Proposal Defense Planning (2 credits)
PUBH 8709 | Dissertation Portfolio: Proposal Defense (2 credits)
PUBH 8711 | Dissertation Portfolio: DAPEx (2 credits)
PUBH 8713 | Dissertation Portfolio: Dissertation (2 credits)
PUBH 8715 | Dissertation Portfolio: Dissertation Defense (2 credits)


Comprehensive Exam and Discussion


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.

Non-Academic Requirements

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.


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.

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.

School-wide DrPH
Environmental & Occupational Health Department
Global Health Department
Health Policy Department
Prevention & Community Health Department


TAs 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.
Governance Committee

Governance Committee

Teaching Faculty

These distinguished faculty and professionals will also be teaching required coursework in the DrPH curriculum:

Faisal Aboul-Enien, DrPH, MPH, MSN, RN, FNP-BC

Ricky Allen, PhD. MHA, MDiv

Sara Chokshi, DrPH, MSPH

Adriene Griffen, DrPH, MPH

Ghada Khan, MPH, PhD

Derek Licina, DrPH, MPH

Karen McDonnell, PhD

Gene Migliaccio, DrPH, MPH

Khadi Ndiaye, PhD, MA

Emily Peca, DrPH, MA

Earl Pinto, JD, MA

Wayne Psek, MBA, PhD, MBChB

Marsha Regenstein, PhD, MCP

John Sandberg, MA, PhD

Bobbi Snowden, DrPH, MPH

Jennifer Skillicorn, DrPH, MPH

Andrew Wiss, PhD, EdM