Population Health PhD

Program Overview

The PhD Program in Population Health at Northeastern University integrates interdisciplinary education and experiential learning opportunities to train students to become public health researchers and leaders who understand the complex factors that affect the health and well-being of populations.

The program has:

  • Close mentoring by distinguished faculty
  • Focus on solution-based, innovative research
  • Specialized training in critical population health topics
  • GRE: Required
  • Prerequisites: None
    Note: Most applicants have a Master’s

  • Grad assistantships available
    Full-time students only
  • Full-time
    Part-time possible — Need flexibility around daytime courses

Curriculum

Our Population Health doctoral students conduct research that addresses key determinants of health including:

Social and Neighborhood/Community Contexts

Environmental Risks

Health Care Access and Delivery

Education

Economic Stability

All Population Health PhD candidates must earn at least 33 credits by completing core research courses, selecting a concentration, and taking additional electives and directed study courses, as needed and in consultation with their faculty advisors. They must complete a dissertation in order to earn their degree.

Students investigate the underlying causes of adverse health, including disease, disparities, and disability, through training in core population health disciplines.

  • Biostatistics in Public Health (3 credits)
  • Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • Principles of Population Health 1 (3 credits)
  • Principles of Population Health 2 (3 credits)
  • Economic Perspectives on Health Policy (3 credits)
  • Applied Regression Analysis (3 credits)
  • Intermediate Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • Research Skills and Ethics (1 credit)

Students are trained to conduct research examining the social and environmental determinants of health through a cohesive, transdisciplinary program that integrates topics that include the five pillars of public health, including epidemiology, biostatistics, health program evaluation, environmental health, and social determinants of health.

  • Social Epidemiology (3 credits)
  • Advanced Methods in Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • Dissertation preparation classes (exact credits determined in conjunction with faculty advisor)
  • Directed Study (3 credits, can be repeated as needed)
  • Various electives (exact number of courses determined in conjunction with faculty advisor)
    Sample Electives (3 credits)

    • Theoretical Foundations of Personal Health Informatics
    • Health Organization Management
    • Public Health Policy and Administration
    • Strategic Management and Leadership in Health Care
    • Global Health
    • Health Education and Program Planning
    • Advances in Measuring Behavior
    • Social Movements in Health
    • Qualitative Methods in Health and Illness
    • Causal Inference in Public Health
    • Data Mining
    • Statistics for Big Data Sets

Students are trained to conduct highly rigorous research examining the financing, organization, and delivery of health care services through the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

  • Microeconomic Theory (4 credits)
  • Evaluating Health Care Quality (3 credits)
  • Dissertation preparation classes (exact credits determined in conjunction with faculty advisor)
  • Directed Study (3 credits, can be repeated as needed)
  • Various electives (exact number of courses determined in conjunction with faculty advisor)
    Sample Electives (3 credits)

    • Theoretical Foundations of Personal Health Informatics
    • Health Organization Management
    • Public Health Policy and Administration
    • Strategic Management and Leadership in Health Care
    • Global Health
    • Health Education and Program Planning
    • Advances in Measuring Behavior
    • Social Movements in Health
    • Qualitative Methods in Health and Illness
    • Causal Inference in Public Health
    • Data Mining
    • Statistics for Big Data Sets

Admissions

The Population Health PhD program accepts applications through 12/15 for Fall entry only.

Applicants accepted: Domestic and International
Delivery: On campus with some options to take classes online
Student status: Full-time
Term Start: Fall only*
Application deadline: 12/15

*Requests or part-time study are considered on a case by case basis. Please refer to the FAQ section for information about full-time work and part-time study.

Admissions Checklist

Click each required application item for more information.

Completed application
Official transcripts
Official test scores
3 letters of recommendation
Personal statement

Our Alumni

Click on each alumni photo to read about their research interests and experiences in the doctoral program.

Meredith Milstein

Renee Wurth

Stephen Flaherty

Brianne Mui

Students in the News

Arielle Scoglio

Arielle Scoglio

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an advanced degree to apply to the program?

No, our program does not have specific requirements with regard to classes applicants must take or have taken prior to applying. However, the majority of the students in the program enter with a previous master’s degree.

Can I be waived from submitting official test scores?

No. Admission to the Population Health PhD program is contingent on receiving GRE scores (taken within the past five years) from all applicants, and this requirement cannot be waived. In addition, TOEFL scores are required from all international applicants who have not earned an undergraduate or graduate degree in the Unites States or in a country where English is the primary language. Fluency in English is integral to success of graduate students in our program. Guidelines for submitting a request to waiver the TOEFL requirement are outlined in the Admissions section.

Can I be waived from any courses?

Certain required classes (for example, introductory classes in Biostatistics and Epidemiology) can be waived if you’ve taken equivalent classes in previous graduate programs. Course waivers will be determined on a case-by-case basis once a student is accepted and officially matriculates into the PhD program. Please note: course waivers do not substitute for the 33-credit requirement. Students can enroll in elective courses to meet the requirement.

What kind of funding does the PhD Program offer?

Our program offers graduate assistantships for doctoral students, which cover tuition and include a yearly stipend in exchange for 20 hours of work each week. You do not need to do anything further than submitting your application to the Program to be considered for a graduate assistantship. Please note that part-time students are not eligible.

Does the program offer online courses?

A few required courses have online course equivalents that doctoral students may choose to take. However, we do not offer the program as an online program, and these online class offerings are very limited.

How does matching between PhD students and faculty advisors happen?

It is a critical part of the admissions process that there be a close match between a prospective student’s research interests and one of our faculty members. The first step is to examine faculty profiles and discuss potential matches in your personal statement. The next step happens within our faculty committee. There is no need to obtain any commitment from a faculty member before you apply.

Contact Information

We welcome any questions you might have about our program. Please feel free to send general program inquiries and admissions-related questions to the Program Manager: Tracy Hunt ([email protected])

Beth E. Molnar, ScD
Associate Professor and Director,
PHD Program in Population Health
323 – INV
Tel: 617.373.8936
[email protected]