Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences


Ph.D. in Health Sciences

The Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences degree program is designed to prepare allied health professionals to assume major leadership, research and educational positions within their professions, as well as to provide career advancement opportunities. The PhD in Health Sciences is a broad-based, interdisciplinary/interprofessional degree that will allow graduates to place their individual health field in the context of the allied health disciplines, the health care delivery system as a whole, and the larger issues of health and wellness across the continuum of the health care system. Graduates will be well prepared to assume essential roles as faculty and researchers at colleges and universities, as well as assuming leadership roles in clinical agencies, governmental and health care organizations, and industry.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences offers specialization tracks in Emergency Medical Sciences, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Speech-Language Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies and Respiratory Care, as well as a generalist concentration in Health Sciences. The program of study for the Doctor of Philosophy degree includes formal courses and electives in research design, statistical methods, health systems management, communications (publications and grant writing), education, leadership, and advanced course work in a health science professional track.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete 98 semester credit hours (SCH) in order to graduate from the program. For students entering with a master’s or professional doctoral degree (e.g., DPT, OTD) the minimum number of semester hours required for completion of the PhD degree in Health Sciences will be 68 semester credits (SCH). Students holding a master’s degree or professional doctoral degree will be able to transfer up to 30 SCH into the PhD program. Students holding a professional doctorate (e.g. DPT, OTD) may request that up to 21 SCH of additional course work completed in their professional doctoral program be transferred in and applied toward their professional track PhD program requirements.

Students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree will be required to complete a master’s degree in an allied health related area or complete 30 SCH of other acceptable graduate credit. Including the master’s degree course work (30 SCH), a total of 98 SCH is required for award of the PhD for students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree.

After passing a comprehensive written qualifying examination on fundamental principles related to the Health Professions and the chosen area of specialization, students must complete and successfully defend their dissertation research proposals (i.e. dissertation prospectus) as certified by their advisory committees. The PhD program is intended to advance the science and practice of the allied health sciences by providing a link between the sciences, clinical research and practice.  Award of the PhD degree demonstrates the capability of independent research and recognizes a unique contribution to scientific knowledge. Upon completion of candidates’ research projects, successful defense of the dissertation is required in order to meet degree requirements.