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Doctorate of Public Health Program

The accredited, online DrPH program consists of 46 credits including 10 dissertation credits. The curriculum is delivered using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities including three summer visits to campus. Students will participate in a cohort model and the program is designed to be completed in three years.
Doctorate of Pubic Health Program at MCW

Message from the Director

David Nelson, PhDDavid Nelson, PhD, MS, Program Director
DrPH Program
drph@mcw.edu
(414) 955-4510

Hello and welcome to our website with information about the Doctorate of Public Health (DrPH) program at the Medical College of Wisconsin. If you are looking for a public health program that addresses real health issues found in our communities, we hope that you will strongly consider our program. Our faculty come from a variety of disciplines and have engaged in public and community health practice and research in both urban and rural settings. Our cohort model of learning will deepen your connections to the topics and to others who care about the health of the public as much as you do. We invite you to join us at one of our virtual open houses or contact us to schedule a time for a one on one conversation. Here’s to taking your next step in becoming a public health leader.

Doctorate of Public Health Program Details

About the Program

About the Program

MCW's Institute for Health & Equity offers the first online DrPH program in Wisconsin designed to prepare experienced public health practitioners with the competencies needed to lead community health improvement efforts. Training will be self-directed, faculty and dissertation advisor guided, and cohort influenced. This will enable students to work on problems together, and to challenge one another in an environment built on trust. Academic relationships and community partnerships developed through this program will support success in the short term and over the course of a career.

Graduates of the program will be prepared to work in senior level leadership positions in a variety of settings such as:

  • Governmental agencies
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Hospitals and healthcare systems
  • Community-based organizations
  • Academic institutions

CEPH Accreditation
The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). The DrPH program is also individually accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) is an independent agency that accredits schools of public health and public health programs offered in settings other than schools of public health.


Admissions

Admissions

Admissions Requirements

  • A master’s degree from an accredited school or program in public health, a master’s degree in a related field, a doctoral degree, or a professional degree (e.g., MD, JD, PharmD). Students without a master’s degree in public health from an accredited school of public health or program may be required to complete an online core public health course.
  • Grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in prior graduate study
  • A current resume or CV
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts from all undergraduate and post-baccalaureate work
  • Personal statement that addresses the following questions:
    • Describe your academic and career goals and how they align with pursuing the DrPH degree.
    • Describe a public health issue that interests you.
    • Describe how you learn best.
    • Describe your most significant professional leadership accomplishment.
    • What do you hope to gain from and contribute to the DrPH program?
  • At least three years of post-graduate experience in public health, healthcare, or a related field with management or leadership responsibilities

 

Application Information
The MCW Graduate School operates on a rolling admissions basis. However, applications accepted by the priority application deadline of January 15th will receive first priority for admission the following Fall.

Competencies and Curriculum

Competencies and Curriculum

Foundational Public Health Knowledge
Students will be grounded in foundational public health knowledge prior to matriculation. The program validates foundational public health knowledge through the completion of a CEPH-accredited master’s degree or completion of an online module that addresses the 12 learning objectives. 

Profession & Science of Public Health
1. Explain public health history, philosophy, and values
2. Identify the core functions of public health and the 10 Essential Services
3. Explain the role of quantitative and qualitative methods and sciences in describing and assessing a population’s health
4. List major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in the US or other community relevant to the school or program
5. Discuss the science of primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention in population health, including health promotion, screening, etc.
6. Explain the critical importance of evidence in advancing public health knowledge
Factors Related to Human Health
7. Explain effects of environmental factors on a population’s health
8. Explain biological and genetic factors that affect a population’s health
9. Explain behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population’s health
10. Explain the social, political, and economic determinants of health and how they contribute to population health and health inequities
11. Explain how globalization affects global burdens of disease
12. Explain an ecological perspective on the connections among human health, animal health and ecosystem health (e.g. One Health)

DrPH Competencies

Upon completion of the DrPH program, students will demonstrate knowledge of the 20 foundational CEPH competencies as well as the 5 DrPH public health practice competencies. Students will achieve these competencies through synchronous and asynchronous coursework, practical experiences, and other applied activities. In addition, the curriculum is grounded in the seven key practices necessary to be a high achieving Community Health Strategist.

Competencies and Curriculum

Community Health Strategist Practices
Practice 1: Adopt and adapt strategies to combat the evolving leading causes of illness, injury and premature death.

Practice 2: Develop strategies for promoting health and well-being that work most effectively for communities of today and tomorrow

Practice 3: Community health strategists will identify, analyze and distribute information from new, big, and real time data sources

Practice 4: Build a more integrated, effective health system through collaboration between clinical care and public health

Practice 5: Collaborate with a broad array of allies – including those at the neighborhood level and the non-health sectors – to build healthier and more vital communities

Practice 6: Replace outdated organizational practices with state-of-the -art business, accountability, and financing systems

Practice 7: Work with corresponding federal partners – ideally, a federal Community Health Strategist – to effectively meet the needs of their communities

Sample Plan

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Course Descriptions

28201 Public Health Practice I-Building a Foundation for Public Health (3 credits)
This is a required course for students matriculated in the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program. The overall goal of the course is to provide the students with an opportunity to read, critically reflect, actively discuss, and write on the issues related to public health. The materials in this course provide a basis of understanding concepts, theories, and applications critical to public and community health.

28202 Public Health Practice II-Building Community Partnerships and Coalitions (3 credits)
This is a required course for students matriculated in the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program. The overall goal of the course is to provide the students with an opportunity to read, critically reflect, actively discuss, and write on the benefits of building community partnerships and coalitions. The materials in this course provide a basis of understanding concepts, theories, and applications critical to public and community health.

28203 Public Health Practice III-Strategies to Eliminate Health Disparities (3 credits)
This is a required course for students matriculated in the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program. The overall goal of the course is to provide the students with an opportunity to read, critically reflect, actively discuss, and write on the issues related to and that contribute to health disparities. The materials in this course provide a basis of understanding concepts, theories, and applications critical to public and community health and a means for designing solutions.

28170 Public Health Practice IV: Public Health Applied Research (3 credits)
This is a required course for students matriculated in the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program. The overall goal of the course is to provide the students with an opportunity to read, critically reflect, actively discuss, and write on the issues related to public health. The materials in this course provide a basis of understanding concepts, theories, and applications critical to public and community health in the context of applied research. The students will develop knowledge and training in the areas of research and data management.

28150 Research Theory (3 credits)
This is a required course for students matriculated in the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program. The overall goal of the course is to provide the students with an opportunity to gain the foundational knowledge needed to develop a personal theory of research within public health. The materials in this course will provide the basis of this understanding and apply it to issues within public and community health.

28160 Public Health Research Study & Design (3 credits)
This is a required course for students matriculated in the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program. The overall goal of the course is to provide the students with an opportunity to identify features of public health research and apply those features to areas of interest by the student. The materials in this course provide a basis of understanding concepts, theories, and applications critical to public and community health.

28106 Introduction to Community Engagement (3 credits)
This course is designed to prepare students to apply translational knowledge and skills in community-based settings. Involving and collaborating with community in a bi-directional manner are vital concepts to improving public health and the health of communities. This course provides students with the foundation for understanding community engagement (CE) and community engagement in research (CEnR), based on principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR). 

18268 Leadership for the Public’s Health (3 credits)
This is a required course for students matriculated in the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program. Leadership for the Public’s Health takes a broad look at leadership within public health practice. An introduction to theoretical and evidence-based research is applied to a wide range of public health leadership crises and challenges. Learners will apply knowledge and personal experiences to newly focused leadership understanding through application to practice. Leadership theory and research will connect to personal leadership critical reflection, political acumen, and peer mentorship in development of a professional development plan/leadership credo.

28301 Public Health Seminar Series (6 courses, 1 credit each)
This is a student-centered, weekly seminar for students matriculated in the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program. The seminar will consist of several types of activities: 1) presentations on content areas by faculty, community organizations, and community and academic partners in collaboration, 2) sessions focused on issues of professional development, 3) sessions focused on specific research skills or methods, 4) workshop and discussion sessions that provide students with a forum for engagement and collaboration around issues of mutual concern, and 5) student presentations.

Doctoral Dissertation (10 credits)
This course is required for the completion of the DrPH degree. After successfully completing all other coursework, the student must complete a field-based doctoral dissertation that is designed to influence programs, policies, or systems applicable to advanced public health practice. The practice-oriented dissertation must address a research question of the student's design and result in the production of a high-quality written product that demonstrates synthesis of foundational and concentration-specific competencies. Prior to writing the dissertation, the student will develop a dissertation proposal that must be approved by the committee. At the completion of the dissertation, the student will submit the dissertation to the committee at least 30 days prior to the dissertation defense. The student is required to enroll in 10 credits for the dissertation.

Applied Practice Experience (no credit)
DrPH students are required to engage in an applied practice experience in which they are responsible for completion of at least one project that is meaningful for an organization and to advanced public health practice. Relevant organizations may include governmental, non-governmental, non-profit, industrial, and for-profit settings. The applied practice experience may be completed within a student’s own work setting. The deliverable must contain a reflective component that includes the student’s expression of personal and/or professional reactions to the applied practice experience. The student will develop a plan under the guidance of the program staff, director, and faculty advisor.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and Fees

If you have questions regarding tuition or your account, please contact the Office of Student Accounts, at (414) 955-8172 or mcwtuition@mcw.edu. Please refer to the All Student Handbook (PDF) for tuition payment policies and information.

Current MCW Employees
Tuition Course Approval Form - Human Resources (PDF)

Financial Aid
Students seeking financial aid please visit the Financial Aid Office website.

Late Fees
There will be a $100 late registration fee for anyone not completing registration by the date indicated on the schedule each semester.

There is also a $250 late payment fee for tuition not paid on time according to the Tuition Payments policy in the All Student Handbook (PDF).

Late payment fee is in addition to any late registration fee.

Virtual Open House

Virtual Open House

We invite you to attend our virtual open house to learn more about what our Doctorate of Public Health program can do for you!
Learn More

DrPH FAQ

all
What is the difference between a PhD and DrPH?
A PhD in public health has a traditional focus on research, whereas the DrPH emphasizes advanced public health practice, applied population health research, and leadership.
How does the MCW DrPH differ from other DrPH programs?

The MCW DrPH does not follow the more traditional tracks offered by other DrPH programs such as epidemiology or health education, but rather is interdisciplinary with a focus on advanced public health practice and leadership.

Is the DrPH program accredited?

The DrPH program is a degree offered in MCW’s Public Health Program which is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).  MCW is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME).

How do I apply to the DrPH program and what is the deadline?
The Graduate School coordinates the admissions process using an online application system. The Graduate School operates on a rolling admissions basis. However, applications accepted by the priority application deadline of January 15th will receive priority for admission the following fall. Completed applications are sent to the DrPH Admissions Committee for review.
What must I submit for the DrPH application?
-Current resume or CV
-Three letters of recommendation
-Transcripts from all undergraduate and post-baccalaureate work. A grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in prior graduate study is required.
-Personal statement that includes reasons for applying to the program, your interests and experience in public health and/or health care, how the DrPH will support your career goals, your professional leadership accomplishments, and why you will be successful in an online program
Do I need a graduate or professional degree to apply to the program?
Yes. Applicants must possess a master’s degree from an accredited school or program in public health, or a master’s degree in a related field, a doctoral degree, or a professional degree (e.g. MD, JD, PharmD). Students without a master’s degree in public health from an accredited school of public health or program may be required to complete an online core public health course.
Must applicants have experience in public health or health care?

Yes. Applicants must have at least three years of post-graduate experience in public health, health care, or a related field with management or leadership responsibilities.

Is there a Graduate Records Exam (GRE) requirement?
No, a GRE is not required for the DrPH program.
When are students admitted to the DrPH program?
Students are admitted for the fall term only.
Does the program accept international students?
Due to Department of Homeland Security rules for online programs, MCW is unable to accept international students for the DrPH program at this time.
Can I transfer credits from another doctoral program or school?
Transfer credits are not accepted for this program.
Are all courses provided in an online format?

Yes. All course work is completed online with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous methods.

What kind of internet connection and software do I need to access coursework?
Students must have a high-speed DSL or cable connection.  A PC running MS Windows OS or a Mac running OS X. Firefox, Safari Chrome, or Microsoft Edge are recommended. Internet Explorer is no longer supported. Microsoft Office 2007 or newer and Adobe Acrobat Reader may be required.
Do I ever need to visit campus?
Yes. Students are required to participate in activities on campus for three to four days in August during the first week of classes each year.  Students are also required to attend commencement in May.
What is the maximum amount of time allowed to complete the program?
The program was developed utilizing a cohort model in which students may complete the program (46 credits) in three years.  However, students have up to five years to complete the program.
How will a DrPH advance my career?
This DrPH program in advanced public health leadership and practice is designed for experienced public health practitioners.  The majority of students in the DrPH program will already be employed and may remain with their current employers when they complete the program. Graduates of the program will be prepared for senior leadership positions in a variety of settings such as governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, hospitals and healthcare systems, community-based organizations, academic institutions, and private companies.
Does MCW offer any financial support?
MCW does not provide any grants or scholarships at this time, but students may apply for financial aid through the Financial Aid Office.
What is the cost of tuition?
Please refer to the Tuition and Fees Schedule for the most current tuition rates and fees.

Additional information coming soon!