The PhD in Applied Science-Global Public Health (PhD-PH) program(s) provides postgraduate education to prepare students for a career in several essential and innovative areas of interdisciplinary specialization through a sound foundation in the biomedical, engineering, and data sciences. Like the MPH program, the PhD-PH program recognizes the need of the practitioner to be cognizant of the social, behavioral, policy and regulatory dimensions of public health in the regional and global context of todays world. This program, through its implementation science and engineering perspective, will prepare practitioners with a mission of innovation, implementation, education, and service as global citizens committed to health, disease identification, mitigation and prevention. This is essential to meet global public health workforce needs in our region. The graduate will be empowered to conduct independent and innovative research that addresses challenges and implements solutions, through engagement of policy-makers and train future leaders in the health sector, regionally and globally.
Program Goals and Objectives
The mission of the PhD in Applied Science-Global Public Health is to prepare graduates to advance the public’s health through research, education, health promotion, and the improvement of health outcomes of populations and individuals domestically and globally by fostering the critical thinking, leadership, and decision-making of a knowledgeable workforce and scholars.
1. Implement a competency-based curriculum and systematic assessment to ensure that graduates are prepared with the knowledge, values, and skills to assume leadership roles in global public health, as researchers and practitioners;
2. Integrate experiential inter-professional teamwork with social and global perspectives into coursework, fieldwork, and thesis projects designed to foster the development of core public health competencies and a commitment to achieving health equity in community service in diverse communities;
3. Link public health research and practice by engaging faculty, students, public health and medical professionals and the community in conducting public health scholarly projects and applied research designed to advance the field and practice.
4. Establish a synergy between disciplines with the focus of translation, implementation, and assessment outside the classroom.
5. Foster a holistic approach that respects the individual, the public, the global community, and the environment to ensure sustainability and responsibility and accountability.
The following outcomes for the Programs in Global Public Health are based on the recommendations of the CePH, the accrediting body for Public Health. They also reflect the core public health competencies identified by the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH).
Global PH Program Outcomes
Upon completion of the PhD [Concentrations in Environmental Health, Precision Health, or Global Public
Health Policy and Management) graduates will be prepared to:
1. Function with competency in the general five pillars of public health (Social & Behavioral Sciences, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, and Health Policy and Management) as well as other functional competency areas identified by CePH
2. Collaborate with communities and community-based health care professionals on public health initiatives
3. Assume beginning leadership roles in public health (specific to tracks) and in organizations and coalitions that advance public health
4. Critically analyze research evidence and relevant data (e.g. big data) to determine health care trends, best practices, and develop appropriate public health interventions
5. Manage public health projects through assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation and sustainability to realize best practices
6. Communicate effectively and efficiently to foster collaboration, teamwork, and achievement of knowledge-practices dissemination and health outcomes for improved wellness, quality of life and optimal intervention
7. Conduct independent and innovative research that addresses challenges and implements solutions, through engagement of policy-makers and train future leaders in the health sector, regionally and globally.
A distinguishing feature of the proposed PhD-PH. The Precision Health track elucidates our commitment in providing our students training in an emerging, innovative, and growing area of expertise. US National Institute of Health [NIH (2017)] is promoting the initiative into Precision Health by initiating the “All of Us” research program with the goal of using new technology to create some of the largest and most diverse longitudinal cohorts in history. The Dean of Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Minor (2016), highlighted the importance of fostering Precision Health as a way to promote new integrations between health and other fields such as engineering, computer science, and business innovation to achieve our biggest common end: making people healthy. Precision Health, as interpreted in the proposed programs, brings together strengths in targeted delivery of nanoformulation (drugs, genes) with the personalized-medical approaches of biomarker diagnostics, pharmaco- and toxicogenomics, and gene-environment interactions. It takes a holistic systems approach of the “omics” disciplines (genomics, proteomics, metabalomics), internal environment (e.g., microbiome), external environment, in identifying risk and intervention in nervous system disorders and mental wellbeing. It is based on an appreciation of individual differences that impact on intervention and therapy. These programs, built on engagement, are also intimately keyed in to the need for interpretation of risk to the public through health communication. Health communication is essential to motivate healthy behavior and reduce health risk, and the burden of disease in communities, as well as at institutions and agencies throughout the nation and region, including the Ministry of Health and Population, the World Health Organization, US Agency for International Development (USAID), and governorate and local health departments, as well as the media.
Students that may be interested in the PhD-D degrees are students with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from an accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their major or higher including natural sciences, engineering, medicine, pharmacy, and nursing, as well as the social and behavioral sciences. : 1) Current AUC students in the MSc in Engineering, Interdisciplinary programs, or other MSc. 2) Students from other academic institutions with a wide range of backgrounds who are interested in expanding their career options in public health particularly current employees from local Departments and Ministries of Health and health agencies such as hospitals, physicians, nurses, safety engineers, agricultural engineers and chemists. 3) current employees with an MSc, such as professionals working in hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, sustainability and other areas seeking to improve their skills and be eligible for a wider range of career options.
A Bachelor’s degree in the sciences, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, nursing or engineering, with a minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0, or equivalent, and an MS or MPH from an accredited institution are required for PhD-PH program. Students with backgrounds in the social and behavioral sciences, policy, management and business can be admitted into selected tracks, but are subject to the core curriculum. Admission is also subject to the general university requirements for graduate programs. For those students whose grade records indicate promising ability, but who otherwise may lack adequate preparation in sciences, biomedicine, or engineering, admission may be granted under the requirement that additional probationary courses will be taken.
The objectives of the PhD-PH are:
- To introduce students to a combination of fundamentals and field implementation research experience with an appreciation for community engagement, communication, and empowerment in affecting change through behavior, best practices, and policy pertinent to Public Health within the local, regional and global communities. It is also aimed at creating a knowledgeable and needed workforce to tackle the challenges and goals of the UN SDGs.
- Train students to function with competency in the general five pillars of public health (Social & Behavioral Sciences, Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Environmental Health, and Health Policy and Management) as well as other functional competency areas identified by the Council on Education for Public Health (CePH).
- Prepare and enable students to collaborate with communities and community-based health care professionals on public health initiatives.
- Empower students to assume beginning leadership roles in public health (specific to tracks) and in organizations and coalitions that advance public health.
- Educate students to critically analyze research evidence and relevant data (e.g. big data) to determine health care trends, best practices, and develop appropriate public health interventions
- Prepare and enable students to manage public health projects through assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation and sustainability to realize best practices.
- Train students to communicate effectively and efficiently, in writing and orally, to foster collaboration, teamwork, and achievement of knowledge-practices dissemination and health outcomes for improved wellness, quality of life and optimal intervention.
PhD-Specific Program Objectives
The mission of the Ph.D. program in Applied Sciences in Global Public Health (concentration) is to provide in-depth training to students in Global Public Health and take the lead in conducting original research leading to a doctoral dissertation.
The primary goal of the program is to provide students with an opportunity to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of applied sciences pertinent to Global Public Health. The program is aimed at providing students with the opportunity to develop their professional knowledge and expertise to a high caliber and to qualify for leadership positions in teaching, in research, in administration and management and in policy analysis and program development. The program caters to demands of industry and research institutes and places a strong emphasis on original thinking, professional behavior and ethical conduct.
Doctoral of Philosophy Degree Requirements
Students going through this program are expected to successfully complete the following requirements:
- Pass the required course work with a GPA 3.0 or higher: This ensures the breadth of knowledge of the Ph.D. student.
- Pass a Qualifying Examination: This signifies that course work is completed and that the student has sufficient background knowledge in her/his field of specialization.
- Present and defend a proposal of the intended research work: This demonstrates that the candidate has defined her/his research problem and is capable of identifying the research methodology that she/he will adopt.
- Submit a written Dissertation and defend it in a final Oral Defense: This marks the completion of the requirements for the Ph.D. degree.
As part of the process of achieving candidacy, a doctoral student must complete a set of courses known as the doctoral candidacy coursework. It includes at least thirty-six (36) credit hours of relevant graduate coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree, of which at least eighteen (18) credit hours must be earned at AUC. Students who change their major specialization from that used for their master’s degree to a new specialization for their Ph.D. degree may have to take more than thirty-six (36) hours to fulfill the course requirements. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program and in order to ensure sufficient breadth of study, the program is designed to include required core coursework in areas outside one’s main specialization. In addition, the student must complete 3 credit hours of Seminar courses and register for thirty-three (33) credit hours of Dissertation research work. Courses for each specialization will be listed at the 5000 and 6000 levels in addition to remedial courses to be taken at the 4000 level whenever deemed necessary.
The Academic Advisor and the Research Advisory Committee
The academic advisor is determined by the specialization of the student, and is particularly important for assistance in the preliminary course planning of a student’s Ph.D. program. Each specialization has at least one faculty member advisor (usually the Graduate Program Director of the discipline). The academic advisor will be available to the student to help in her/his preliminary choice of the courses. As the student progresses in the program she/he chooses the members of the Research Advisory Committee, which consists of the Chair of the Committee (Dissertation supervisor) and at least two other members. This committee plays a greater role in finalizing the courses for the student’s Plan of Study and in advising her/his research work. It is the responsibility of the student to find an AUC faculty member willing to serve as the Chair of the Research Advisory Committee and to choose in consultation with her/him the other members
Ph.D. Plan of Study for Qualification and Candidacy
The Ph.D. Plan of Study is intended to help the student select courses and will ensure that she/he has an academic program that meets the Ph.D. coursework requirements. The Plan of Study will also allow the students to identify a sequence of courses that meets her/his professional objectives. A preliminary Plan of Study will be drafted in consultation with the student’s academic advisor and should be submitted before the student signs up to take the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination.
As the student advances in the program, she/he should choose the members of her/his Research Advisory Committee. The final plan of Study will be drafted in consultation with the Research Advisory Committee. A final up-to-date copy must be submitted before the student applies to take the qualifying exam.
The Plan of Study must contain a listing of the courses the student has taken or intends to take to satisfy the qualification coursework requirements and must constitute a coherent program within the scope of the chosen specialization. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that all requirements are met. Any departure from the requirements must be requested by written petition, which should normally flow starting from the supervisor, to the director of the specialization area, then the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research for final approval.
Doctoral Qualifying Examination
The purpose of the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination is to evaluate the student’s ability to analyze problems and to synthesize solutions. It should demonstrate the ability of the student to interrelate basic concepts and ideas in her/his field of study. At least twelve (12) weeks prior to the examination, the student must submit a request indicating her/his intention to take the examination. The Ph.D. Qualifying Examination will be administrated by an Examining Committee in each specialization. Following the examination, the Examining Committee will submit an evaluation of the student’s performance to Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research. The qualifying examination is typically taken in the semester immediately following the completion of the coursework credit hours, but no later than during the fourth semester since admission into the program. Any deviation from this schedule must be made by written petition and subsequent approval as indicated earlier.
The Proposal Defense
Typically in the semester immediately after the successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student has to write a research proposal under the guidance of the Dissertation supervisor and will give a Proposal Presentation in front of the Research Advisory Committee. Upon the acceptance of the proposal by the Research Advisory Committee, the student makes an oral presentation of the research proposal, including relevant background material. During and after the presentation, the committee will explore the research project with the student in order to provide guidance and make an evaluation of its suitability. They will report their recommendation to the Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research. In case the student does not present an acceptable proposal, the student must take immediate steps to refine the proposal in consultation with the dissertation supervisor. The Proposal Presentation requirement are completed when the Research Advisory Committee chair reports a successful proposal presentation to the office of the associate dean for graduate studies and research at the School of Sciences and Engineering.
Following acceptance of the proposal, the Dissertation Defense Committee is finalized. This consists of the three members of the Research Advisory Committee in addition to two external examiners. The external examiners should be well qualified and highly-established experts in the candidate’s field of study. The external examiners will be selected in consultation with the supervisor, the Research Advisory Committee and the director of the specialization area and approved by the PhD program director and the associate dean for graduate studies and research at the School of Sciences and Engineering.
The candidate is expected to have as a minimum two accepted peer-reviewed international research publications before the dissertation defense, one of which must be a journal publication. The publications should be originating from the PhD (not from a previous MSc).
The Dissertation and Its Defense - Final Oral Defense
Upon completion, the dissertation will be sent to the external examiners for evaluation. The examiner will be contacted by the PhD program director two months before the final oral defense and will be asked to provide detailed written evaluations of the dissertation. The examiners recommendations will inform the decision of the PhD program director and the associate dean for graduate studies and research on whether the student proceeds to final oral defense or whether major revisions - including additional work - are needed. Copies of the external examiners reports will be shared with the student before the defense in order to have them addressed. The student will defend the dissertation in an open examination before the committee. The remote attendance of an international external examiner residing abroad in the final oral defense is permitted. Each member of the Dissertation Defense Committee will submit a written evaluation of the dissertation after the Oral Defense. Following the successful oral defense, the student must consult with the dissertation supervisor about any changes required by the committee, and must address these changes before final submission of the dissertation to the school dean.
Consistent with the Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health (ASPPH) Definition of the PhD and DrPH in Public Health and the Doctorate Model for Public Health: Definition: The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in the global public health concentration is designed to prepare the student for a profession in teaching and research. PhDs and Doctor of Science (ScD) in public health continue their careers teaching at a university, conducting research in a national laboratory, or doing field work with populations across the globe.
A PhD in Public Health is much more research based and covers topics ranging from disease and injury prevention to health informatics and communication. Common areas of focus include Bioethics, Environmental Health (Industrial Hygiene, Toxicology), Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Laboratory Sciences, Genetics and Genomics…etc. Each of these areas is rooted in public health but are focused in their scope. Because of this, classes and curriculum will be focused and centered around research in the context of public health issues.
Competencies are essential and include: The ability to synthesize and apply evidence-based research and theory from a broad range of disciplines and health-related data sources to advance programs, policies, and systems promoting population health.
- Apply theoretical and evidence-based perspectives from multiple disciplines in the design and implementation of programs, policies, and systems.
- Interpret quantitative and qualitative data following current scientific standards.
- Design needs and resource assessments for communities and populations.
- Develop health surveillance systems to monitor population health, health equity, and public health services.
- Synthesize information from multiple sources for research and practice.
- Evaluate the performance and impact of health programs, policies, and systems.
- Weigh risks, benefits, and unintended consequences of research and practice.
Course and Research Requirements
Minimum number of credit hours beyond the B.Sc. degree: 72
Dissertation hours 33
Seminar hours 3
Course hours 36 (See below)
The required number of semester credit hours of coursework to be taken for the Ph.D. degree is dependent upon the M.Sc. degree and is determined by the academic advisor or program director of the student at the time of admission. At least eighteen (18) credit hours of course work must be earned at AUC.
Case 1: MPH or M.Sc. from AUC
Case 1A: MPH from AUC A candidate may receive up to 24 hours of credit to be counted towards the Ph.D. degree
Case 1B: M.Sc. in a different Applied Sciences or Engineering discipline from AUC.
A candidate may receive up to 18 hours of credit to be counted towards the Ph.D. degree
Case 2: MPH or M.Sc. achieved outside of AUC
Case 2A: MPH or M.Sc. in the same Applied Sciences or Engineering discipline discipline achieved outside AUC. A candidate may receive up to 18 hours of credit to be counted towards the Ph.D.
Case 2B: M.Sc. in a different Applied Sciences or Engineering discipline achieved outside AUC.
A candidate may receive up to 12 hours of credit to be counted towards the Ph.D. degree
The courses of the core and tracks were selected or developed to reflect the themes supported by the association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) (2012) Framing the Future: The Second 100 years of Education for Public Health”, the WHO Eastern Mediterranean priority of Human Resources for Health (http://www.who.int/alliance-hpsr/projects/middleeast-polforum/en/), and emerging challenges in Public Health, regionally and globally. These include non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular, diabetes, obesity, malnutrition, congenital defects, mental and neurodegenerative disorders), early detection, surveillance and intervention (Precision Health) [The State of Health in the Arab World, 1990-2010: An Analysis of the Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors. (2014). The Lancet, 383:309-320].
These tracks are:
- Environmental Health (GHEH):
- Precision Health (GHPH);
- Public Health Policy and Management (GHPM)