PhD Public Health Sciences

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Creating a healthier future at the University of Waterloo 

As part of the School of Public Health Sciences, you will be immersed in leading research, and gain the skills to tackle some of the biggest health concerns of today. Besides our leading researchers, you will learn how to integrate perspectives from multiple disciplines as well as discover how to use research to design, implement, and evaluate health programs, policies and services.

Program overview 

Admission requirements   |  How to apply  |  Tuition fees  |  Living costs  

Degree requirements


Application deadline 

New! 2023 applications for the fall term have been extended to February 15, 2023. 

Apply today.

Our research graduate programs are highly competitive and receive far more applicants than we can accommodate. As such, we are not able to consider late or incomplete applications. For an application to be considered complete, all required documents, including academic references, must be submitted on or before the date above. You must also indicate an interested supervisor in the "requested supervisor" section of your application. We strongly recommend submitting your application no later than January 1 to allow time for document uploads and for references to be submitted by the January 15 deadline.

Considerations for international students before submitting an application:

Resources:   Tuition fees  |  Estimated living costs  |  Funding and awards

Faculty research expertise

Faculty in the school of public health sciences are experts in a broad range of research areas, including: .

Health and aging  - Integrative approach to the biological, psychological, social, and environmental determinants of health and wellness focused on the life-course trajectory of aging in individuals. 

Food and water safety, security, and governance  - Examining the global health impact of food and water safety and security through epidemiology of food and waterborne disease, nutrition management, and medical geography.

Health and environment  - Investigating the impacts of the built environment, environmental degradation, urbanization, globalisation on population health.

Chronic disease prevention and management  - Interdisciplinary research to analyse and improve national and international health policies and regulations of chronic disease through understanding and altering social, economic, political, and cultural determinants.

Health policy and health systems  - Investigating and evaluating health care systems and improving their integration and efficiency through the design of diagnostics, treatment, and analytic and assessment tools.

Health informatics  - Health sciences and information technology converge to support and improve the status of individual and community health.

Healthy workplaces  - Examining occupational health and safety risks and designing interventions to improve health and wellness in the workplace and develop more effective safety management systems.

Global health  - Examining how globalizing processes impact economic development, health, healthcare, and education.

Health neuroscience and cognitive epidemiology  - Examining reciprocal relationships between lifestyle, lifespan development, and sociodemographic factors and brain health on the level of whole populations.

Water specialization

Full- or part-time | On campus | Thesis based

Global water issues are becoming increasingly complex and often require a collaborative approach across the breadth of disciplines. The PhD Public Health Sciences program offers a water specialization.

Facilitated by the University of Waterloo's  Water Institute , this collaborative approach provides access to more than 140 faculty members involved in water research across Waterloo's campus. The program allows you to develop specialist expertise in public health and health systems, while matching the knowledge and skills required to communicate across disciplines and within interdisciplinary teams in the water sector. 

Find out more about graduate studies in the Collaborative Water Program

Graduate student resources

Student stories 

As part of her doctoral research,   Lesley Johnston  is investigating ways in which community well-being in Mongolia and Zambia are affected by Canadian-sponsored mining operations.

Learn more about Lesley and other students in the School of Public Health Sciences on our graduate student profile page . 

Lesley Johnston

Are you an undergrad thinking about a PhD?

We offer a direct entry into our PhD program for outstanding students with a BSc degree (or equivalent) and have exceptional academic and research performance. Details here.

Did you know?

We offer a fast-track option for exceptional students planning to do a PhD.

Students in SPHHS master’s programs can apply to transfer into our PhD program at the end of the first year of their MSc .  Details here .

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The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations .

Doctor of Philosophy in Population and Public Health (PhD)

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The School of Population and Public Health offers a research-oriented PhD program that enables students with a masters degree to advance their knowledge and skills in epidemiological and biostatistical methods. Students will further their research training by applying these methods to independent thesis research under the supervision of a faculty member. Students can pursue thesis research in a wide variety of topics related to the health of populations and the delivery of health services.

For specific program requirements, please refer to the departmental program website

I chose UBC because of everything the School of Population and Public Health and Cedar Project had to offer: An outstanding training environment and an opportunity to learn from Indigenous scholars, Knowledge Keepers, and health/social service experts.

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April Mazzuca

Quick Facts

Program Enquiries

Admission information & requirements, 1) check eligibility, minimum academic requirements.

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:

Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.

English Language Test

Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.

Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based

Overall score requirement : 100

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement : 7.0

Other Test Scores

Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:

The GRE is required by some applicants. Please check the program website.

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2024 intake, application open date, canadian applicants, international applicants, deadline explanations.

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

3) Prepare Application


All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.

Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.

Statement of Interest

Many programs require a statement of interest , sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.


Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.

Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Doctor of Philosophy in Population and Public Health (PhD)

Citizenship verification.

Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.

4) Apply Online

All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.

Tuition & Financial Support

Financial support.

Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.

Program Funding Packages

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $22,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

Average Funding

Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)

All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.

Teaching Assistantships (GTA)

Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union .

Research Assistantships (GRA)

Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.

Financial aid (need-based funding)

Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans .

All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.

Foreign government scholarships

Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.

Working while studying

The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement .

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.

Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

60 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 3 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 56 graduates:

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Sample Employers in Higher Education

Sample employers outside higher education, sample job titles outside higher education, phd career outcome survey, alumni on success.

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Lianping Ti

Job Title Research Scientist

Employer BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Population and Public Health (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

Completion rates & times, upcoming doctoral exams, thursday, 16 march 2023 - 2:30pm.

Advice and insights from UBC Faculty on reaching out to supervisors

These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a supervisor. They are not program specific.

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This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

Doctoral Citations

Sample thesis submissions.

Related Programs

Same specialization.

Same Academic Unit

Further Information


The School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) offers both research-oriented and professional/course-based graduate programs.

Professional programs

Research-based Programs

UBC Calendar

Program website, faculty overview, academic unit, program identifier, classification, social media channels, supervisor search.

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form .

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Lisa Ritland

It was a clear choice for me to apply to UBC. The School of Population and Public Health and the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC offer an ideal training environment for me to pursue population health research in collaboration with local communities that has the potential to impact equity in...

Rachel Ramsden's headshot

Rachel Ramsden

I grew up locally in Richmond, BC and had the opportunity to attend UBC for my undergraduate degree and Masters degree. As an undergraduate student, I was a member of the UBC women’s varsity soccer team and I was grateful to experience a supportive community and academic environment. UBC also...

public health phd canada

The West Coast has always been my home and I was not ready to part with it quite yet. The choice to pursue my doctoral studies at UBC was simple as UBC is a high-ranking university both in Canada and internationally. I wanted to earn a degree from an institution that would make me employable post...

Image of Atul

Atul Aravindakshan

Apart from being one of the top universities in Canada, UBC offers a rich research environment which was important to me. Another important point while choosing UBC was that my research interests are closely aligned with the research my supervisors conduct, and it is proving to be a great learning...

public health phd canada

Curious about life in Vancouver?

Find out how Vancouver enhances your graduate student experience—from the beautiful mountains and city landscapes, to the arts and culture scene, we have it all. Study-life balance at its best!

Strategic Priorities


Dalla Lana School of Public Health

The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) at the University of Toronto is pleased to announce the implementation of a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program – the first ever offered by a Canadian university. The program is aligned with the School’s Academic Plan 2019-2024 and will serve to bolster and strengthen public health and health systems capacity in Canada, and potentially, across the globe. It is especially relevant and timely, as we continue to face increasingly complex and challenging health and health system problems.

While our other doctoral programs are research-intensive, the DrPH focuses on accelerating the use of research evidence to inform practice and policy. As such, the DrPH program offers practice-based training and applied research skills. Students will develop and advance important key leadership, management, and public health practice competencies.

DLSPH is exceptionally well suited to deliver a DrPH program, given our outstanding Faculty with expertise in such areas as health system and public health leadership, evidence appraisal and public health, knowledge translation and implementation, public health policy and ethics, Indigenous health, and global health.

“Toronto Public Health and DLSPH have a long history of support and collaboration in the field of public health practice and research. The addition of this new program that will help to shape future leaders of public health, is an opportunity to enhance this collaborative partnership and demonstrate the importance of public health, both within Toronto and more broadly.” – Dr. Eileen De Villa, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health

A DrPH handbook pdf is provided as a supplemental format to this webpage. At times there may be delays between updates of this  Website and the DrPH handbook pdf. Students should consider this webpage as the most current information if discrepancies arise.

This handbook also supplements the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (GDPHS) Handbook The GDPHS Handbook provides general information about the School, policies, procedures, resources etc

Degree Overview

The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) advances public health education, addressing evaluation and translation of evidence in policy and practice decision-making contexts. The doctoral professional program is based on existing areas of faculty expertise within the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (including Public Health Sciences and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation). The focus of the program is to contribute to emerging needs in public health to address increasingly complex issues. Graduates will develop skills and knowledge in four major competency areas, as defined by the Council on Education for Public Health: (1) Data & Analysis; (2) Leadership, Management, Governance; (3) Policy & Programs; and (4) Education & Workforce Development. The DrPH will allow graduates to take on advanced roles (e.g., leadership, knowledge translation) in public health policy and practice settings.

The program is offered on a full-time basis over 4 years of study and is comprised of five major components: course work, an applied research project, a comprehensive exam, a thesis, and a final oral exam.

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Students attend 1-week on-campus “burst weeks” (~6 hours/day) in the each term of years 1 – 3. The applied research project takes place in the summer of year 1 and the comprehensive exam in the summer of year 2. Thesis work begins in year 3 and continues through year 4.

There is a growing need and demand for public health professionals who have advanced professional education and the skills to implement improvements in our public health and health care systems in Canada and globally. The is imperative as “public health challenges become more global and complex”. [1]

The DrPH builds on and complements existing Masters and PhD programs respectively, and allows students to continue their academic education, in addition to developing other advanced professional competencies. It is a professional degree that fosters advanced knowledge in evidence-based public health by providing the knowledge and skills needed to interpret and critically appraise different types of evidence, conduct applied research, and propose/implement evidence-based changes to policy or practice.

Many public health and health system organizations require individuals with advanced education in the effective translation of knowledge and in transformative leadership. Through the integration and application of knowledge and skills in data analysis, leadership, policy and program management, and effective communication, DrPH graduates will be prepared for senior leadership careers in public, not-for-profit organizations, as well as for-profit organizations.

[1] Sherman BR, Hoen R, Lee JM, Declercq ER. Doctor of Public Health Education and Training. Public Health Rep. 2017 Jan/Feb;132(1):115-120. doi: 10.1177/0033354916682204. Epub 2016 Dec 14. PMID: 28005488; PMCID: PMC5298511.

The program is offered on a full-time basis over 4 years of study. To maximize flexibility for DrPH students (many who continue to work), the curriculum is delivered throughout the calendar year, using a combination of in-person and online formats.

The University of Toronto does not offer remote doctorate degrees. As a professional degree, however, the program is designed with maximum flexibility for the student cohort to manage several responsibilities concurrently. For example, the core DrPH required courses are offered as on-line or hybrid.

As the DrPH program was launched during the global COVID-19 pandemic, several modifications to the courses allowed successful implementation, some that will carry on post-pandemic as they proved to be both efficient and effective. On-campus activities resumed in in January 2022 as did the in-person sessions of hybrid courses and on campus in-person sessions.

As personal interaction with your fellow students, faculty, and community public health leaders is an important element of the educational process, three on-campus “Burst Weeks” are held in September, January and April. These weeks will incorporate the in-class portions of the hybrid courses, various skill forums (e.g., media training), cohort thinktanks, and a variety of interactions with faculty and community public health leaders.

Important to consider is most courses at the DLSPH are offered in-person or hybrid. Thus, student’s selection of a required methods course and the free choice elective courses may not be offered remotely, and the student will be responsible to organize course selection based on their needs, i.e., optimal elective courses for a particular student’s need may be only offered in person.


The DrPH emphasizes competencies that support the comprehensive evaluation and translation of evidence in policy- and practice- decision-making contexts. By integrating advanced education with professional competency development and a significant practical/field experience, graduates are equipped with the knowledge, skills, methods, and tools to effectively apply evidence to public health policy and practice. Graduates are well-positioned to lead public health and health system organizations, address complex health and health system challenges, and can adapt and effectively respond to emerging health needs, threats, and changing health systems.

Specifically, graduates develop skills and knowledge in four major competency areas, as defined by the Council on Education for Public Health: (1) Data & Analysis; (2) Leadership, Management, Governance; (3) Policy & Programs; and (4) Education & Workforce Development. DrPH graduates will be prepared for senior leadership careers in public, not-for-profit organizations, as well as for-profit organizations.”

Council on Education for Public Health, Schools of Public Health & Public Health Programs, October 2016

Admission Requirements

We welcome mid-career professionals with relevant Masters-level training (such as a Master of Public Health, Master of Health Sciences, Master of Health Administration, etc.) plus a minimum of 5 years of work experience to apply. The program is designed for working professionals, with online learning components integrated throughout.

Click  here to view minimum application requirements. Click  here  for information regarding the application process.

Getting Started

General information about the School, policies, procedures, resources etc. is provided in the general Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences (GDPHS) Handbook . The GDPHS Handbook includes information on standard administrative processes summarized in the table 1.

Course Requirements

Course Requirements: 6.5 FCE (5.5 FCE core courses and 1.0 FCE elective courses)

Managing Pre-requisites

It is important to review all prerequisites when planning your course of study. When pre-requisites are listed, they normally indicate DLSPH courses (PHS or IHPME), but equivalent courses taken elsewhere would be considered since most DrPH students would not have completed PHS/IHPME courses during their master’s degree program, if completed elsewhere.

Prerequisites may also be ratified with work experience. For example, one DrPH student completed an MPH at University of Waterloo where it is likely that equivalent courses were completed. That, along with work experience, would be enough to satisfy the pre-requisites listed.

Any circumstances not directly satisfied by specific course completion should be reviewed and approved by the instructor, copying the DrPH Program Director.

Managing In-Person vs Remote Courses

All core courses are offered through a remote learning format with some elements incorporated in the on-campus “burst weeks”.  Electives can be delivered in-person or remotely depending on the course so students should consider this when selecting their elective courses.

Suggested research methods courses*:

CHL5115H Qualitative Analysis and Interpretation CHL5129H Introduction to Mixed Methods Research for Public Health CHL5130H Advanced Methods in Applied Indigenous Health Research CHL5133H Evaluating Quantitative Public Health Research CHL5150H Data Collection Methods for Research & Evaluation Projects CHL5203H Survey Design and Social Research Methods in Public Health CHL5424H Advanced Quantitative Methods in Epidemiology CHL5429H Advanced Analytic Methods for Bias in Epidemiologic Studies HAD5752H Introduction to Knowledge Translation & Implementation Science HAD5763H Advanced Methods in Health Services Research HAD6501H Introduction to Methods for Health Professions Education Research

* Permission from instructor and submission of Add-Drop form is required for enrolment. Proof of permission and the completed form should be emailed to the PHS Graduate Office at .

NOTE: Methods courses other than those listed above should be reviewed by the DrPH Program Director.  Forward permission from the instructor and a course syllabus to .


Click  here  to view the SGS Graduate Supervision: Guidelines for Students.

Program Director

Beginning prior to admission, and with the assistance of the Program Director, the applicant will explore supervisory possibilities: a faculty member with an appointment in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health who has a Full appointment in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). The faculty supervisor may be confirmed prior to beginning the program, and generally will be in place by the end of the first year.  Students are encouraged to explore broadly and have wide-ranging discussions with potential supervisors. The Program Director must approve the selection of the primary supervisor.

The Supervisor is responsible for providing mentorship to the student through all phases of the PhD program. Thus, to the extent possible, the Supervisor, in parallel with the Program Director, will guide the selection of courses, applied research project, supervisory committee membership, and supervisory committee meetings; will assist with applications for funding; and will provide references for the student on a timely basis. The Supervisor also will comment on the student’s plan for preparation for the comprehensive examination. The Supervisor will guide the development of the student’s applied research project, and the implementation and conduct of all aspects of the research; advise on writing the thesis; correct drafts and approve the final thesis; and attend the defense.

Advice on working with your supervisor

The DrPH program was designed with the understanding that many students will be in or approaching mid-career. It is crucial that time commitments be pre-discussed to insure a smooth balance. It is understood that detailed time requirements are needed for this discussion. Please refer to the course requirements as a basis for this commitment. For some individuals, the work setting may offer placement and dissertation opportunities. As academic commitments will evolve through program, periodic touchpoint with your work supervisor is encouraged.

Supervisory Committee

With the assistance of the Supervisor, and with the approval of the Program Director, the student will assemble a Supervisory Committee within the first year of study.

Role and Responsibilities

The Supervisory Committee, chaired by the Supervisor, will contribute advice regarding course selection; preparation for the comprehensive examination; selection of the thesis topic; and implementation of the research plan. The Supervisory Committee also will provide timely and constructive criticism and guidance regarding data analysis, writing the thesis, and preparing for its defense.


The Supervisory Committee generally will comprise the Supervisor and at least two members. Supervisors must hold Full appointments in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and have a primary appointment in DLSPH. Committee members may hold either Full of Associate SGS appointments and may or may not hold a primary appointment in DLSPH. Between these individuals and the Supervisor, there should be expertise in all content and methodological areas relevant to the student’s applied research focus and thesis.

Supervisory Committee meetings will be held at least every twelve (12) months throughout the student’s DrPH program. Under certain circumstances (e.g., during times of very rapid progress), the student and the Supervisory Committee may decide there is a need for more frequent meetings.

At the end of every meeting of the Supervisory Committee, the student and the Committee will complete the Supervisory Committee Meeting Report . All present must sign the report, which will be delivered to the Program Director and filed in the student’s progress file in the Graduate Department of Public Health Sciences.

Applied Research Project

The DrPH Applied Research Project is regarded as a key applied learning experience aimed at supporting skills development and ideally leading to the DrPH Dissertation.

It will involve a 16 week practical experience over the summer between the first and second year of study.  The project should be based in a relevant public health system organization, which will be endorsed by the DrPH Program Director and your supervisor, and will address a complex challenge for which the student will conduct a critical review of the literature, identify gaps and weaknesses in current knowledge, and aim to recommend appropriate solutions or strategies for resolution.

Some students may choose to address an issue in their current work organization. Others may choose from a variety of organizations available to students with the assistance of the faculty and community leaders.

All projects will establish objectives within the  SMART  evaluation framework which will be reviewed Week 4, Week 10, and at end of project. The student is responsible for scheduling these reviews with supervisor and Program Director.

Comprehensive Exam

Completion of the exam indicates the student’s preparedness and competency to successfully complete and defend their thesis by testing the student’s knowledge and understanding of relevant theories and methods as they apply to a field-oriented challenge. Students receive preparation for this comprehensive exam through coursework and their applied research project. Consequently, students will only take this examination when most of their course work is completed.

The comprehensive examination is a take-home written exam in the form of a major paper related to a field-oriented challenge. The comprehensive examination tests for depth and breadth of discipline specific knowledge, ability to apply knowledge to address a complex problem (via a field-oriented challenge), and the ability to implement appropriate actions/interventions. This culminating assessment helps assure that students have achieved all program learning outcomes and degree level expectations upon graduation.

The thesis is an independent piece of work on an applied research topic of significance to the practice of public health within or outside of Canada. It demonstrates the student’s ability to produce original applied research, or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, and to merit publication. It focuses on generating new translational knowledge and creating value for a public health change.

Students will engage with the literature and practice-based experiences to identify a problem and provide new learning on implementing public health change. In other words, the thesis should demonstrate the student’s mastery of the skills and knowledge to lead or create substantial change in programming or policy development or develop new methods or strategies to accomplish either of these two goals.

The thesis will consist of the following elements:

Visit the School for Graduate Studies Student Guidelines for the Doctoral Thesis for more information:

School of Graduate Studies Final Oral Exam (FOE)

Arrangements for the Final Oral Defense and for the preparation of the final thesis are given at length in the SGS Calendar . The dissertation and the necessary documents must be submitted at least eight weeks prior to the oral exam. See the Graduate Department of Public Health Science academic policies for forms and information for thesis preparation.

Frequently Asked Questions

__ Organize a work-school schedule (if applicable) __ Confirm acceptance and commitment with employer (if applicable) __ Review course timetable for class enrolment which opens in late summer __ Search Faculty for parallel interest and potential selection of supervisor __ Outline potential applied research projects for discussion with Program director/Supervisor __ Apply for any financial aid per program guidelines (while program is self-funded, limited options for aid may be pursued).

It is important to review all prerequisites when planning your course of study. For example,

HAD5778H required in Year 2 has prerequisites of HAD5011H or CHL5300H HAD5765H required in Year 3 or 4 requires HAD5011H or equivalent

When pre-requisites are listed, they normally indicate DLSPH courses (PHS or IHPME), but equivalent courses taken elsewhere would be considered since most DrPH students would not have completed PHS/IHPME courses during their Master Degree program, if completed elsewhere. Also, prerequisites may also be ratified with work experience.

Example: One DrPH student completed an MPH at University of Waterloo where it is likely that equivalent courses were completed. That, along with work experience, would be enough to satisfy the pre-requisites listed.

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PhD Public Health Sciences

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The Department of Public Health Sciences has broadened its PhD program to include all areas of research expertise represented in our faculty including, but not limited to, epidemiology, biostatistics, qualitative, mixed- and community-based methods, the use of health and public-health services, program evaluation, clinical epidemiology, health equity, global health, indigenous health, and health economics.

Our programs place an emphasis on close faculty-student relations and a philosophy that puts the student first. Through coursework, thesis opportunities, and involvement in the academic life of our department, our students graduate with an in-depth understanding of public health research. Our graduates are able to function as independent investigators in academic, health-research institutes and health-research government agencies, or as emerging public-health leaders in government or the private sector.

In the coming year, our PhD program in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s University has a number of exciting opportunities for qualified applicants. The following members of our department have each expressed an interest in supervising a new PhD student:  

Dr. Susan Bartels is a Clinician-Scientist in the Department of Emergency Medicine with a cross appointment to Public Health Sciences. Her research focuses on the health and well-being of women and children affected by humanitarian crises around the globe. Dr. Bartels is interested in the social determinants of health and uses innovative research methods to provide evidence intended to inform policy and programming that will improve health outcomes and mitigate the risks of natural disasters, armed conflict and forced displacement.  

Dr. Susan Brogly is an epidemiologist with research interests in the area of perinatal epidemiology, surgical outcomes, and advanced epidemiologic methods. Dr. Brogly used both population-based administrative health care data (ICES, Medicaid) and primary data collection in her studies.  

Dr. Steven Brooks is a Clinician-Scientist and Emergency Physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine who conducts research in the areas of cardiac arrest and resuscitation. Dr. Brooks may have availability for a PhD student willing to work with the Canadian COVID-19 Emergency Department Rapid Response Network. This is a developing registry funded by CIHR and the Ontario government, tracking patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 who attend one of 50 EDs in the country.

Dr. Bingshu Chen is a biostatistician with an interest in survival analysis and generalized linear models. He has developed biomarker threshold models to predict treatment benefit in cancer clinical trials. His other research interests include analysis of health economic data, statistics computing and missing data problems.  

Dr. Anne Duffy is a Clinician-Scientist. She has longitudinal data spanning two decades in high-risk offspring of bipolar parents and has up to two years of psychosocial, clinical and familial data from a representative cohort of undergraduate university students to understand mental health and academic outcomes. These databases provide several opportunities that would make for an interesting thesis including using joint modelling, multi-state and survival analysis. Further information on Dr. Duffy’s research can be found at: .

Dr. Jennifer Flemming is a Clinician-Scientist who studies the link between cirrhosis and biliary tract cancer and the burden of chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in Ontario. She uses large population-based databases housed at ICES. Her goal is to improve management strategies for Canadians with liver disease.

Dr. Ana Johnson is a health economist who conducts economic evaluations of health care programs, cost-effectiveness analyses, assessments of resource allocations and use of health technologies.

Dr. Will King is a molecular epidemiologist whose research program seeks to identify modifiable risk factors for cancer. Dr. King studies intermediate markers of cancer risk and genetic susceptibility to better understand environment-cancer relationships.

Dr. Diane Lougheed is a Clinician-Scientist with a research interest in asthma and the development of better information technologies to improve the care of patients with asthma. Dr. Lougheed conducts health services and outcomes research and guideline implementation research in asthma and often uses the ICES data holdings to conduct her work.

Dr. Zihang Lu is a Biostatistician. His research focuses on developing and applying statistical and machine learning methods to answer clinical and epidemiological research questions. His current research interests are in longitudinal data, survival data and high-dimensional data modeling. He is also interested in Bayesian statistics, causal inference and data fusion.

Dr. Maria Ospina is an associate professor with the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s University, and a clinical epidemiologist, and population-health researcher in the areas of perinatal and early childhood health. Her research program (DMETRE) uses a life-course approach and a variety of epidemiological methods (observational studies, systematic reviews, GIS analysis, mixed-methods designs), to assess the developmental origins of health inequalities, and how critical periods of human development such as pregnancy and the first 1,000 days of life influence future health.

Dr. Paul Peng is a is a biostatistician with research interests in survival analysis with a focus on cure models, longitudinal and panel data modeling, statistical computation methods for big data, biostatistical methods for epidemiological and clinical trial research.

Dr. William Pickett is in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s University, and an Adjunct Professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. He is a trained epidemiologist whose research interests include: injury and violence prevention; injury and illness in rural and farm populations; and health and its social determinants in adolescent populations, with a primary focus on pediatric violence and injury. Using public health surveillance, analytical and experimental epidemiology, and mixed methods approaches, this work has provided critical insight for policy/health promotion initiatives in Canada, the US and Europe.

Dr. Amrita Roy is a family physician and MD-PhD clinician-scientist in the Departments of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences at Queen’s. A settler ally with a research focus in Indigenous health, Dr. Roy works in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples in community-engaged research centred on the principles of Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession (OCAP). Apart from Indigenous health, Dr. Roy’s other areas of research interest include immigrant and refugee health, women’s health, youth health, and global health. Methodologically, Dr. Roy has expertise in quantitative, qualitative, mixed- and multiple-methods approaches to health research, in addition to community-based and participatory research approaches.  Fall 2023 PhD opportunity with Dr. Roy:  Opportunity for a PhD student starting fall 2023 in a CIHR-funded Indigenous health research project on sleep and mental health, in partnership with Akwesasne Mohawk Nation .

Dr. Sahar Saeed is an epidemiologist and health-services researcher. Dr. Saeed primarily investigates retention and access to health care among populations including persons living with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and chronic liver disease. She uses primary data collection, population-based administrative health-care data and novel surveillance tools (GPS) to answer her research questions. For more information on her research interest, visit her website at Epidemiologist | Sahar Saeed .   Fall 2023 PhD opportunity with Dr. Saeed and Dr. Stoner

Dr. Bradley Stoner is Professor and Head, Department of Public Health Sciences and Professor of Medicine at Queen’s University. An infectious disease physician and medical anthropologist, Dr. Stoner’s research focuses on the epidemiology, clinical care, control and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STI) including HIV. Fall 2023 PhD opportunity with Dr. Saeed and Dr. Stoner

Dr. Wei Tu  is a biostatistician with research interests in data science and its application in health care. His research focuses on translating different sources of high-dimensional data into informed clinical decision-making. The topics he is working on include personalized medicine, data privacy and causal inference.  

Dr. Maria Velez is a Clinician-Scientist with research interests in reproductive and perinatal epidemiology. Her current research program focuses on infertility and pregnancy outcomes, and the reproductive health of young women with cancer. She uses population-based cohort studies including databases housed at ICES.  

Dr. Paul Villeneuve is an environmental and occupational epidemiologist. His research program is focused on quantifying the health effects from exposure to outdoor air pollution, noise, low levels of radiation, as well as the benefits of urban greenness and walkability.  In addition to carrying out spatiotemporal exposure studies in Canada and Grenada (West Indies), he also uses large population-based databases housed in Statistics Canada’s Research Data Centers, and ICES.

If you have a demonstrable interest in the work of one or more of these professors we encourage you to reach out to them to discuss the possibility of supervision.

Our PhD students are guaranteed minimum funding of $20K per year for four years with further income possibilities coming from Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, or Research Fellowships. Many of our students receive national or provincial scholarships.

For further information about our PhD Program, you can contact the Program Director, Dr. Ian Janssen at [email protected]    or the Program Assistant, Ms. Sue Preston at [email protected] .  Note that all applicants must meet the entry requirements to the program:  

Student Stories

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Study and Work in Public Health in Canada

Graduate Public Health Admission Requirements The prequisites required to become accepted in an graduate and/or post-graduate PhD program in Public Health.

What Public Health Students Learn Topics and concepts that are covered and the overall approach or focus taken in studying Public Health.

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Health Services and Policy Research Doctoral Training Programs in Canada

Table 1 is an inventory of university-based health services and policy research (and related) doctoral training programs in Canada. A HSPR doctoral training program is defined as a program that is authorized to award a degree, concentration or specialization in HSPR or a related field, such as health economics, health technology assessment, health services organization and management, health services outcomes and evaluation, etc.). *Related assets are doctoral training programs in related fields, like public policy, epidemiology, and biostatistics that do not indicate a specialization or concentration in HSPR. Table 1 was compiled based on a 2014 analysis of Canada’s assets and resources in HSPR (full report is available upon request), a 2016 search of university websites in all provinces and territories across the country, and validation with key informant experts. It is possible that some programs were missed and that the list is comprehensive but not exhaustive.


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    PhD Public Health and Health Systems program overview, research areas and student ... public and population health challenges in Canada and around the world

  2. Doctor of Philosophy in Population and Public Health (PhD)

    The School of Population and Public Health offers a research-oriented PhD program that enables students with a masters degree to advance their knowledge and

  3. PhD Programs

    100% of our PhD graduates have found either full- or part-time employment ... Doctoral students in the School of Public Health have been very successful in

  4. 26 Doctorate Public Health courses in Canada

    Institution Any · University of Calgary · University of Toronto · University of Waterloo · University of Alberta · University of Ottawa · Dalhousie University · York

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    Here are the best Canada universities for Public Health : · University of Toronto · Laurentian University · McMaster University · Ryerson University · Dalhousie

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    While our other doctoral programs are research-intensive, the DrPH focuses on accelerating the use of research evidence to inform practice and policy. As such

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    The Department of Public Health Sciences has broadened its PhD program to ... have availability for a PhD student willing to work with the Canadian COVID-19

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    7 Public Health PhDs in Canada ; Vision Science · University of Waterloo. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada ; Dental Science · Graduate School of Dental Science. Edmonton

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    Public Health graduate and post-graduate programs and degrees offered in Canada. Browse and compare over 10,000 master's, graduate certificate, doctorate (PHD)

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    Table 1 was compiled based on a 2014 analysis of Canada's assets and resources in HSPR ... PhD in Community and Population Health Sciences*