For those seeking advanced leadership roles in public health and healthcare, the two main doctoral degrees awarded are the DrPH and PHD in Public Health. If you have the Master of Public Health or its equivalent and intend to pursue or advance a professional practice career in the field, or lead a team or initiative, either the Doctor of Philosophy or the Doctor of Public Health degree warrants consideration.
DrPH and PhD in Public Health: Program Basics
Applicants to both the DrPH and PhD in Public Health often aspire to work in leadership positions either locally or internationally in groups such as a health ministry, government agency in public health, health-related corporation, an NGO, or an international organization[i].
Admission requirements vary between universities and programs, however, to be eligible to apply into a doctoral program, a prospective candidate usually needs a bachelor’s degree, some type of public health and/or service experience and a master’s or doctoral degree (e.g. MD) in a relevant field plus experience. Universities may look for a candidate with an undergraduate or graduate degree background in the health sciences or in other applicable fields (e.g. biology, medicine, psychology, economics, business, health care, epidemiology).
DID YOU KNOW? Some health educator positions require a doctoral degree. Graduate programs are commonly in community health education, school health education, public health education, or health promotion (BLS)[ii].
DrPH vs. PhD in Public Health: Which one is best for you?
In the field of public health, the highest scholarly awards include the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).[iii] Ascertaining which one is best for you comes down to identifying your goals as well as the differences between the two degrees; essentially the DrPH is regarded as a professional leadership degree and the Ph.D. as more of an academic degree[iv].