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DrPH Questions

AndyAirbenderAndyAirbender Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
I understand that the DrPH degree is for more practical/leadership work while a PhD in Public Health focuses much more on research and academia. But are DrPH degrees relatively new and are they respectable? I do no see many programs for them out there. Further, does anyone know any affordable online DrPH programs? USF sounds like a good PH school with a relatively low costing program online, but most sound extremely expensive. Thanks!

Replies to: DrPH Questions

  • juilletjuillet Super Moderator Posts: 11,672 Super Moderator
    There are quite a lot of DrPH programs out there; most schools of public health have at least one. Columbia has one; Harvard, Yale, Arizona, Johns Hopkins, Berkeley, UCLA, UNC, Boston U, GWU, Drexel, UAB, Pitt, Tulane, they all offer DrPH programs in at least one department.

    DrPHs are relatively new compared to the PhD. They are pretty well respected within the professional public health field. I think entrants have a harder time getting an academic appointment with them, because of their perception as more practice/leadership degrees (which some departments may actually hold to but wasn't my experience - see below).

    I think the practice/research divide is sort of more artificial, at least in my experience at my specific school (Columbia). I got my PhD in public health there; one of my good friends and colleagues got her DrPH in the same lab as me. We started the same year. Ironically, I am the one who works in industry and she is an assistant professor of public health at a top school.

    I had lots of other colleagues who were DrPH students who went into academia afterwards. At Columbia, there was less division between the DrPH and PhD students - the major difference is that all of them came in with an MPH and usually a few years of public health work experience, whereas not all of the PhD students did (although most of us did). They did comparable levels of research and teaching as the PhD students, wrote the same kind of dissertation, and were usually pretty indistinguishable. You can even look at the student handbook for the course and degree requirements for DrPH and PhD students and see that there isn't a huge difference.
    Further, does anyone know any affordable online DrPH programs? USF sounds like a good PH school with a relatively low costing program online, but most sound extremely expensive. Thanks!


    Generally speaking you don't really want to do a doctoral degree online. There are so many reasons; it's maybe less crucial for a professional doctoral degree student who wants to go into industry but it's still not really comparable to a brick and mortar experience yet. And even if you did want to, there aren't many doctoral programs offered online (and especially not many high quality ones) and they are likely to be very expensive.

    I know that I am going to be super biased because I did my PhD full-time in a program that required residency, but I think it's kind of unrealistic to expect a doctoral degree not to "interrupt your career," as USF puts it. A doctoral degree is supposed to be a period of intense study and rigorous scholarship, even if you're not learning to be a researcher.

  • AndyAirbenderAndyAirbender Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    Juillet, I really appreciate your reply. I’m aware typically that doctoral programs are always not a good idea online, but I’m a little surprised about that regarding the online DrPH. I’ve also seen Johns Hopkins has begun a total online one, and figured since they are quite a good Public Health school, the online program might be good as well. Thanks so much for your help!
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