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Doctoral Training

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is designed to prepare public health professionals to make substantive contributions to public health inquiry and practice. Public health professionals are focused on health promotion, disease prevention, and programs aimed at specific problems that disproportionately affect minority and economically disadvantaged groups. The PhD is a research degree and is granted after the student has shown proficiency and distinctive achievement in a specific field, has demonstrated the ability to do original, independent investigation, and has presented these findings with a high degree of literary skill in a dissertation.


  • Doctoral Milestones are a set of target activities that PhD students work towards during their 4-5 years of training. Starting with the most basic levels of achievement in each category, students gain experience and skills in Research, Teaching and Professional Development to prepare them for their next steps after completing their PhD. This may be a post-doctoral fellowship, an academic position as an Assistant Professor, or an entry position in a research or corporate setting. Students who graduate from the USF College of Public Health doctoral program are better prepared for these next steps because they have built a consistent and impressive portfolio of Doctoral Milestones – and our program helps them achieve these skills right from their first day of the program!

    Examples of Doctoral Milestones:

    Research skills – Grant writing, manuscript preparation, authorship of published manuscripts, presentations at professional conferences, experience on research studies

    Teaching skills – Teaching assistantships, Instructor of Record experience, extensive teaching preparation and skill-building programs

    Professional development – Preparation of materials for post-graduate positions, such as professional CVs, teaching and research statements, research presentation materials, cover letters, interviewing skills

  • The College of Public Health PhD students are supported by fellowships, which include tuition waivers and health insurance, research assistantships and graduate teaching assistantships, for which they apply and are appointed.

    Additional opportunities are available for graduate students to obtain funding for graduate education. These options can typically be classified into three areas:

    1. National Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants: These are funds that are awarded by national, regional, or private agencies to individual graduate students.
    2. College, Department or Program Scholarships and Fellowships: Students are also encouraged to review their specific college website, and also the USF Foundation Scholarships page.
    3. USF Office of Graduate Studies Scholarships and Fellowships: The USF Office of Graduate Studies offers fellowship opportunities for new and continuing students. Some of these fellowships are only available to students through nominations by their Major/Department, while others are available by direct submission from students who meet the eligibility requirements outlined below.

    For more information on these and other funding opportunities please visit the Office of Graduate Studies website.

  • On average, the doctoral program requires four to five years for completion following the Master’s or other advanced degree. The College of Public Health PhD program is delivered primarily on-campus. Students are required to be in or regularly commute to the Tampa for the duration of their program.