PhD in Public Health

Admission Requirements

In addition to the Graduate College minimum requirements, applicants must meet the following program requirements:

  • Baccalaureate Field A major in the biological, physical, or social sciences is preferred. Students applying to the primary concentration in Environmental and Occupational Health must have completed a full year of general chemistry, at least one semester of organic chemistry, and two semesters of  calculus; one course in human physiology is also required for those interested in a secondary concentration in the ASAC-ABET Accredited MS Program in Industrial Hygiene, Occupational Safety, and Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology. Those interested in the ASAC-ABET Accredited MS Program in Industrial Hygiene must meet the criteria listed above. In addition, applicants should have a prior degree  in the physical/life sciences or engineering fields with course work in physics, chemistry, biology, or mathematics. Relevant work experience or significant physical or life science or engineering course work may be considered for applicants with undergraduate degrees in other, nonscience fields.
  • Grade Point Average At least 3.00/4.00.
  • Tests Required GRE General. For GRE General tests, combined verbal and quantitative scores must be at least 300.
  • Minimum English Competency Test Score
    • TOEFL 80, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Test); 60, with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Writing 21 (revised Paper-Delivered Test), OR,
    • IELTS 6.5, with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores, OR,
    • PTE-Academic 54, with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.
  • Letters of Recommendation Three required.
  • Personal Statement Required; the statement should address the applicant’s intended research, career goals, and reason for pursuing the PhD degree in the chosen area.
  • Other Requirements: Applicants may submit their master’s thesis as evidence of their ability to plan and complete significant health-related research.

Degree Requirements

  • Minimum Semester Hours Required 96 from the baccalaureate; 118 from the baccalaureate for the Health Policy and Administration concentration.
  • Course Work At least 9 hours must be in 500-level didactic courses in the student’s major area. If a collateral area is required by the major, at least 6 hours must be in the collateral area at the 500 level.

School of Public Health Core Requirements

Required Courses
Foundations of Public Health
Introduction to Epidemiology: Principles and Methods
Biostatistics I
Biostatistics II
Required Non-Credit Training
Information Privacy and Security/Health Privacy Traning (IPS)
Human Subjects Research
Title IX Training
SPH Academic Integrity Tutorial
  • Remaining courses and their distribution depend on the student’s area of concentration. PhD students are admitted into one of the following primary concentrations: Community Health Sciences, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, or Health Policy and Administration.
  • Dissertation Required. Students must register in IPHS 599 for at least 32 semester hours.
  • Other Requirements Students must obtain supervised experience in classroom teaching in at least one course for at least part of a semester.


Community Health Sciences Concentration Requirements

  • PhD students in Community Health Sciences must complete all of the SPH Core Requirements for the PhD degree. Students must select 12 hours for their concentration. The student will be tested in the concentration area as part of the preliminary examination. Additional compensatory courses are required if the equivalent course work was not completed at the master’s degree level. These compensatory courses are: EPID 403, CHSC 446, BSTT 400, BSTT 401, CHSC 421, CHSC 422, or their equivalent. Advisor approval is necessary for elective course selection. PhD students pursuing a program in Maternal and Child Health or Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology have additional requirements.
Concentration Required Courses
Advanced Theories and Topics in Community Health Sciences
Advanced Research Methods for Community Health Sciences
Advanced Analytic Methods for Community Health Sciences
Advanced analytic methods courses (3-6 hours) a
Advanced research methods courses (3-6 hours) a
Doctoral Laboratory in Community Health Sciences Research Development b
Seminar in Community Health Sciences (2 hours)
Secondary Concentration
Select 12 hours for the secondary concentration

Students must select 3-6 semester hours each from an approved menu for both the advanced analytic methods and the advanced research methods course requirements, for a total of 9 hours of advanced analytic and research methods.


Students must enroll for one hour of CHSC 593 every semester they are in the program, for at least 6 hours in total. Students who are otherwise eligible to register for 0 hours will also be eligible to register for CHSC 593 for 0 hours.

Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Concentration Requirements

  • PhD students concentrating in Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences must complete all of the SPH Core Requirements for the PhD degree.
  • The EOHS concentration requires that PhD students complete EOHS 595 (registering for four semesters/one hour each semester) and one graduate-level course in qualitative or quantitative methods chosen in consultation with their advisor.
  • In addition, students must complete the division core, choosing at least one course in each of the following three areas:
  1. Exposure Assessment
  2. Health Assessment
  3. Risk Assessment and Policy
  • Students should see their advisor for a list of courses in each area.

Health Policy and Administration Concentration Requirements

  • PhD students in Health Policy and Administration must complete all of the SPH Core Requirements for the PhD degree. No additional course requirements are specified. In addition, a minimum of 72 hours of course work relevant to the disciplinary area of Health Policy and Administration is taken in consultation with the faculty advisor.
US Health Care System for Public Health Practitioners
Public Health Policy Analysis
Principles of Economic Evaluations of Health Care Interventions
Empirical Methods for Health Research I
Empirical Methods for Health Research II
HPA 581
Advanced Topics in Health Economics
Seminar in Interdisciplinary Public Health Sciences (1 hour per semester for 4 semesters in first two years)
Select a minimum of 9 hours from the following:
Logistic Regression and Survival Analysis
Longitudinal Data Analysis
Microeconomic Theory I
Development Economics
Labor Economics I
Econometrics I
Econometrics II
Health Economics I
Management and Analysis of Qualitative Data
Advanced Research Methods for Community Health Sciences
Exposure Assessment Strategies
Time Series Analysis for Political Science
Regulatory Public Policies
Survey Data Collection Methods: Theory and Practice
Applied Survey Sampling and Analysis
Research Methods in Pharmacy Systems, Outcomes and Policy
History and Theory of Urban Planning
Urban Space, Place and Institutions
Electives (41 hours)
Possible 32 hours of credit from a prior master's degree.

Secondary Concentrations

Maternal Child and Health Epidemiology (CHS students)

  • Students can enter the PhD in MCH Epidemiology (MCHEPI) program through the Division of Community Health Sciences or the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (EPID-BSTT). Regardless of division, MCHEPI PhD students are required to take courses in both Epidemiology and Maternal and Child Health (MCH), along with courses from other disciplines that focus on the substantive, analytic, and technical aspects of the public health planning cycle. A limited amount of specially targeted federal funding is available for MCHEPI students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  
  • See the PhD in Epidemiology for program requirements.

Medical Scientist Training Program

The UIC School of Public Health has particularly strong programs in epidemiology, biostatistics, prevention research, community health, health systems management, occupational and environmental safety and health, and quantitative methods. Application to the PhD program is normally made at the time of application to the College of Medicine; however, applicants will also be considered during their first two years of medical training. Students must apply to the Medical Scientist Training Program and to the College of Medicine and indicate in their application that they are interested in one of the divisions of the UIC School of Public Health. Criteria for admission to the program include academic excellence, prior research experience, potential for independent and creative research, and commitment to a career in academic medicine. Students receive a stipend throughout their years of study. For more information, contact:

Jamie Chriqui,  Senior Associate Dean, SPH
(312) 996- 6410

or the Medical Scientist Training Program: Larry Tobacman, MD, Director
(312) 413-1010

or Roberta Bernstein, Coordinator
(312) 996-7473