Frequently asked questions
The program is designed for mid- to senior-level healthcare professionals in the U.S. or anywhere in the world working full-time in positions with substantial leadership or management responsibility and the potential to influence the public’s health. We are specifically recruiting individuals in field-based positions with practice-oriented career goals.
Competitive applicants fall into two categories. Those eligible for our advanced cohort will have five or more years of mid- to senior-level leadership experience beyond the master’s degree. Successful applicants will have demonstrated leadership abilities and aspirations for senior-level leadership positions in organizations where they can have maximum influence on the public’s health.
We also admit a second cohort of emerging leaders. These individuals are more junior than those in our advanced cohort but have at least three years of mid- to senior-level leadership experience beyond the master’s degree.
Please note that we generally do not admit individuals whose primary positions are in academia or for whom research is the primary professional activity or aspiration. This particular program is designed to meet the needs of field-based practitioners, and the curriculum focus is on practice as opposed to preparation for a teaching or research career.
While teaching abilities and research skills are certainly relevant for practice and are components of this program, our program mission is to build leadership capacity among the mid- and senior-level global health practice community. Stronger applicants are those who are responsible for leading teams as opposed to working as consultants or as sole contributors.
Generally, DrPH degrees are meant for individuals with practice-oriented career goals. PhD programs are designed for individuals who aspire to academic careers or careers in research. Of course, there are always exceptions, and once you have earned either degree, you can leverage it to excel in a wide range of settings, including in some nontraditional or entrepreneurial roles.
The Fairbanks Doctoral Program in Global Health Leadership (DrPH) is unique among DrPH programs for several reasons. Since the mission of the program is to cultivate leadership qualities and prepare experienced health professionals for top jobs, the typical candidate for this program is somewhat older and more experienced. Other programs admit students who are more junior in their careers.
This DrPH program uses a cohort model, so everyone admitted in a given year progresses through the program in lock step with his or her cohort mates, and everyone takes every course, regardless of prior experience or academic preparation.
All of the classes are conducted via Internet video, and everyone in the program is working full time. So the student body is diverse with a high proportion of international students from low, middle and high resource countries. The curriculum is also globalized; graduates are prepared to apply their skills in diverse settings around the world.
Students in our DrPH program are already employed full time, and many aim to remain with their current employers once they finish the program. However, we expect graduates to leverage their DrPH degrees to move into progressively higher-level positions in which they can have maximum influence on the public’s health.
Typical positions include executive director, partner, senior manager, CEO, president, and other top positions in government agencies, foundations, NGOs, not-for-profit or for-profit organizations, health ministries, and others.
We accept two cohorts per year:
- An advanced cohort of up to 15 students is admitted per year. Our ideal cohort size is 12-15 individuals.
- A second cohort of emerging leaders is admitted each year. That cohort includes up to 25 scholars.
A hallmark of the program is the diversity of each cohort. We strive to admit strong cohorts of individuals from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds and geographic locations, with varied types of personal and professional experience, and diversity in race, ethnicity, gender identity, political typology and so on.
In short, we aim to admit cohorts of individuals who are as different from one another as possible to create the richest possible learning environment. Thus, we regret that we may be unable to admit all qualified applicants in a given year. Strong applicants who are not admitted on the first try may be encouraged to reapply the following year.
No. A degree in public health is not required. However, students must have a master’s degree or earned doctorate to be eligible for the program.
Students without a master’s degree in public health from an accredited school of public health will also need to complete core master's-level courses in epidemiology, health policy and management, biostatistics, social and behavioral science, and environmental health science, or document their equivalencies before a DrPH degree can be conferred.
We strongly recommend completion of these courses prior to beginning the DrPH program, though it is also feasible to complete the MPH core courses concurrently with the doctoral coursework.
Those admitted into the advanced cohort need a minimum of five years of post-graduate experience in the health field, in a substantial management or leadership position. Those admitted into the emerging leaders cohort need a minimum of three years of post-graduate experience in the health field, in a substantial management or leadership position.
Our program is technically part-time, since students take fewer than nine credit hours per semester.
We do not accept transfer credits into the DrPH program. This is a customized program in which cohort members contribute unique insights in each class, thereby shaping and enriching the curriculum.
There is no U.S. accreditation for DrPH programs, or for most individual degree programs. The Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
However, the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health (ASPPH) led a task force, “Framing the Future: The Second Hundred Years of Education for Public Health." A DrPH expert panel was convened to examine key considerations and design and content issues related to the DrPH degree.
The panel issued a final report and recommendations in November 2014. These recommendations were the catalyst for refinements to the CEPH accreditation criteria in 2016, including new guidance for DrPH programs. The CEPH revised criteria can be found here. The DrPH program at Fairbanks complies with these criteria.
Classes are conducted via internet video during a three-hour block of time one day per week. Faculty and scholars may participate from anywhere in the world where they have reliable access to the Internet.
Class times may vary from year to year, depending on the locations of individuals in each cohort. We do our best to pick a class time that minimizes inconveniences for the majority of cohort members. Typical class times are 4-7 p.m. EST or 5-8 p.m. EST.
Classes typically meet on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Program coursework occurs in the first two years of the program, including fall, spring and summer semesters. See the scholar handbook for further details about the curriculum and schedule. To receive an accessible format of the scholar handbook, please email email@example.com.
Yes. Students meet face-to-face on campus for three to four days in mid-August and mid-May, in addition to an early January virtual residency in each of years one and two of the program. We also try to replace one on-campus visit each year or every other year with a visit outside Indiana or overseas during the two years of required coursework.
You must have a high-speed DSL or cable connection. Dial-up connections do not work with our program design.
Scholars complete dissertations or field-based, culminating projects in year three.
Dissertations have the same components as a traditional PhD dissertation but with one extra chapter, a “plan for change” that, if implemented, would improve the public’s health. Alternatively, scholars may opt to complete field-based, culminating projects that include production of at least two papers publishable in peer-reviewed, practice-oriented journals or another scholarly outlet.
Scholars begin planning their dissertations or projects during the first year and spend most of the third year completing them. While most scholars finish the program in three to four years, up to five years is permitted.
No. We do not require current standardized test scores, as most applicants will have been out in the field and away from formal education for a substantial amount of time before admission into this program. We believe that applicant profiles gleaned from previous academic preparation, work experience, professional references and, most importantly, written personal statements and, for finalists, phone interviews, provide us with the strongest predictors of success in this doctoral program.
At this time we do not offer financial support for students in the program. We are working to identify sources of funding support such as scholarships, particularly for students in low resource settings. We welcome inquiries from individuals interested in supporting our program.
Tuition and fees are $570 per credit hour for in-state, $1,500 per credit hour for out-of-state and international students.