DrPH in Global Health Leadership FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who should apply to the Doctoral Program in Global Health Leadership (DrPH) program?

    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 will have at least several years of mid- to senior-level leadership experience. 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.

    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 sole contributors.

  • How does the DrPH program differ from the PhD program and from other DrPH programs?

    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.

  • What kind of jobs will the DrPH program prepare students for?

    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.

  • How many students are accepted each year?

    We accept up to 15 students per year. Our ideal cohort size is 12-15 individuals.

    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.

  • Is a public health degree a prerequisite for admission into the program?

    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 masters-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.

  • How much work experience do I need to be eligible for the program?

    You need a minimum of five years of post-graduate experience in the health field, in a substantial management or leadership position.

  • Do DrPH students have the option of enrolling full-time or part-time?

    Our program is technically part-time, since students take fewer than nine credit hours per semester.

  • Can I transfer graduate course credits to the DrPH program?

    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.

  • Is the DrPH program accredited?

    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 2016 revised criteria can be found here. The DrPH program at Fairbanks complies with these criteria.

  • Where and when do classes take place?

    Classes are conducted via internet video during a three-hour block of time one day per week. Faculty and students 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. Typically class times are 4-7 pm EST or 5-8pm EST.

    First-year classes meet on Wednesdays. Second-year classes meet on Thursdays. Program coursework occurs in the first two years of the program, including fall, spring and summer semesters. See the student handbook for further details about the curriculum and schedule. To receive an accessible format of the student handbook, please email fsphinfo@iu.edu

  • Do I have to come to Indianapolis?

    Yes. Students meet face-to-face on campus for three to four days in mid-August, early January and mid-May 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.

  • What kind of Internet connection is required to participate?

    You must have a high-speed DSL or cable connection. Dial-up connections do not work with our program design.

  • Do students complete a dissertation in this program?

    Yes. It has the same components as a traditional PhD dissertation but with one extra chapter that is a “plan for change” that, if implemented, would improve the public’s health.

    Students begin planning their dissertations during the first year and spend most of the third year completing it. While most students complete their dissertations in three to four program years, up to five years is permitted.

  • Do I need GRE or GMAT scores to apply?

    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.

  • Is financial support available for students in the DrPH 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.

  • How much are tuition and fees for the DrPH program?

    Tuition and fees are $500 per credit hour for in-state students and $1500 for both out-of-state and international students.