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 leaders who understand the complex factors that affect the health and well-being of populations.

Close mentoring by distinguished faculty

Focus on solution-based, innovative research

Specialized training in critical population health topics

Curriculum

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

Social and Community Context

Environment and Neighborhoods

Health and Health Care 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)
  • Principals of Population Health 1 (3 credits)
  • Principals 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 2/1 for Fall entry only.

Applicants accepted: Domestic and International
Delivery: On campus with some options to take classes online
Student status: Choice of part-time or full-time
Term Start: Fall only*
Application deadline: 2/1

*Requests for a Spring start are considered on a case by case basis by the Program Director and require the submission of a completed application by 10/15.

Admissions Checklist

Click each required application item for more information.

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

Student Profiles

Click on each student’s 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

Cassidy Griffin

Cassidy Griffin

Frequently Asked Questions

Does your program have course prerequisites?

No, our program does not have specific requirements with regard to classes applicants must take or have taken prior to applying.

Do I need to possess an advanced degree to apply?

While competitive applicants typically already possess an advanced degree, we will consider exceptionally qualified applicants with a bachelor’s degree, as well.

Does your program accept transfer credits?

A maximum of 9 semester/12 quarter hours of credit obtained at another institution may be accepted towards the degree, provided the credits consist of work taken at the graduate level for graduate credit, carry grades of 3.000 (B) or better,, and have not been used toward any other degree. These courses must have been taken within 5 years prior to the transfer.

Can I be waived from submitting official test scores?

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 received degrees from institutions outside the United States. Guidelines for submitting a request to waiver the TOEFL requirement are outlined in the Admissions section.

Can I be waived from any classes?

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.

How much does the program cost?

Doctoral students in the Population Health PhD program pay per credit taken. The latest cost per credit for Bouve College of Health Sciences programs can be found on Northeastern’s Student Financial Services webpage.

What kind of funding does the PhD Program offer?

Our program offers a select number of graduate assistantships for doctoral students, which covers tuition and includes a yearly stipend in exchange for 20 hours of work each week. You do not need to do anything further than submitting an application to the Program to be considered for a graduate assistantship.

Does your program offer online courses?

Some required courses have online course equivalents that doctoral students may choose to take, but it is not required.

Can I work full time and attend the PhD Program on a part-time basis?

Many courses in the PhD Program meet in the early evenings, and some meet during the day. Most courses meet once a week or twice a week. With enough work flexibility, it is possible to work full time and attend school part-time.

Can I apply to the PhD Program and the MPH Program at the same time?

Yes, you can apply to both programs and be considered for both. Please note the application process is separate for the two programs. Please see the MPH Program page for more information about applying to that program.

Can I speak with faculty in the PhD Program that may share my research interests?

Yes, we would be happy to put you in touch with our faculty. Please send your query to Dr. Heleh Suh, Population Heath PhD Program Director, at h.suh@neu.edu along with a description of your research interests so you can be appropriately matched.

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 Dr. Beth E. Molnar.

Beth E. Molnar
Program Director
323 INV
Tel: 617.373.8936
b.molnar@northeastern.edu