School of Health and Human Sciences

Entering doctoral students who have not completed one or more of the public health or health education core courses must complete these courses as part of their program in addition to the minimum 66 credit hours.

PhD Course Requirements

Additional Requirements


Students must maintain a 3.0 average in course work to proceed in the doctoral program and to be eligible to proceed to the writing of a dissertation. Grades in all courses applied toward the doctorate must be B or better with additional hours taken for any hours earned with a letter grade of B- or below. Students will become academically ineligible when any of the following occur in course work of an approved program of study:

  • Grades of F or WF in any two courses
  • Grades of B- or below in nine semester hours
  • A grade of F or WF in combination with six hours of B- or below grades
  • The minimum 3.0 average is not achieved within the minimum number of semester hours required for the degree.


The PhD program requires a minimum of two consecutive academic years, excluding summer terms, of graduate work on this campus after admission to the doctoral program.

Language and/or Research Requirements

There is no foreign language requirement. Students must complete the required course work in the Research Core and 15 hours of dissertation doctoral research (HEA 799).

Advisory Committee

Each student will form a program committee during the first year of graduate course work. The committee will be composed of four members, with no more than one member (not the committee chair) from outside the Department of PHE. Students will complete a Program Plan of Study with guidance from their advisory committee in the first full year of study.

Preliminary Written/Oral Examination

The Written Preliminary Examination is prepared by the Committee Chair in consultation with other members of the student’s Program Committee. The examination will be administered after the student has completed the Profession and Research Core courses and may cover any phase of graduate course work taken by the student or knowledge basic to the understanding of the major. It will also reflect the specialized major field course work completed by the student.

Within one month of the completion of the Written Preliminary Examination, the student will be given an Oral Preliminary Examination by his/her Committee. After completion of the oral examination and all course requirements, students may make formal application to the Graduate School for admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree.

Dissertation Proposal

The student will prepare a dissertation proposal and submit it to his/her Dissertation Committee. The proposed research should involve what the Graduate School Bulletin calls “a thorough investigation of a basic and significant problem or question within the major area of study.” The completed proposed research should also be substantially original and make a contribution to an existing field of knowledge. The student will defend the dissertation proposal in front of the Dissertation Committee after passing the Oral Preliminary Examination.

Dissertation Defense

Upon completion, the dissertation will be defended in front of the Dissertation Committee. The defense may be attended by others outside of the Committee.

Time Limits for Completion

According to the regulations of the Graduate School, all requirements for the PhD must be completed within seven academic years from the date of the first enrollment for study following admission to the doctoral program. For transfer students, the seven-year time limit commences with thesemester during which transfer credit was earned.


Transfer of Credit

Students may request that up to but no more than 22 graduate credits (not to exceed 1/3 of non-dissertation credit hours) be applied toward the 66 course credit required for the PhD. Transfer credit must also satisfy the same requirements as courses taught for doctoral training within the department (e.g., minimum grade of B), be consonant with the student’s approved program of study, and have been received from an accredited graduate institution. Thesis and dissertation credits will not be applied.

The student must provide documentation in support of equivalence, such as a course syllabus, transcript, term paper, and/or instructor testimony. Equivalence is determined by the director of the doctoral program and the student’s program committee in consultation with the instructor of the equivalent course at UNCG if necessary. Final signed approval is documented by the director of the doctoral program and placed in the student’s departmental file. Credit reductions do not influence the residency and enrollment requirements or comprehensive examination procedures.