2012 - 2013 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Health Ecology, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall:  March 15

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. All application materials, including transcripts, GRE scores, recommendations, and written materials, must be received by the deadline to be reviewed by the Ph.D. Admissions Committee.

APPLY ONLINE to this graduate program.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from evaluators who can provide insight into the applicant's academic abilities and talents, as well as comment on the applicant's aptitude for graduate study. Recommendations from college/university faculty members are preferred and must be provided on the official university recommendation form.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

Applicants are expected to have completed coursework in the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

Preference is given to applicants who have a background in Health and Human Development and various health-related professions, such as Nursing, Occupational Therapy, and Therapeutic Recreation.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree is required.  Preference is given to applicants who have a background in the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be approximately 500-1,000 words in length and should specify your current research interests and how those interests link to your long-term career goals. It should further describe how the Ph.D. in Health Ecology will help you meet specific career goals.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. Admitted applicants typically score above the 50th percentile on the verbal and quantitative sections and on the analytical writing test.

Minimum TOEFL score needed to be accepted: 79 iBT or 550 PBT.


A resume is required.

Writing Sample:

Scholarly articles, technical reports, or academic professional papers are preferred as a writing sample. Unless it is a published work, the sample should be no more than 10 pages.

Advanced Standing:

After admission, students may apply to the Ph.D. Program Director for advanced standing credits for graduate coursework graded "B" or better from an accredited institution. Credits for courses taken as part of a master's degree will be considered, but credits for theses, fieldwork, clinical practice, or directed projects/readings cannot be used for advanced standing credit. The maximum number of advanced standing credits awarded is 30.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 49

Required Courses:

Core Courses (12 s.h.):

HRPR 8101:  Bioethics and Ethical Decision Making

HRPR 8102:  Cultural Competence in Health Studies

HRPR 8103:  Health Across the Life Span

HRPR 8104:  Systems Theory and Change Theory

Research Methods/Statistics (12 s.h.):

In consultation with their advisory committee, students select a series of quantitative and qualitative courses from across the University based on their research needs. Possible courses include:

EDUC 8102:  Qualitative Data

EPSY 8826:  Multivariate Research Methods

EPSY 8827:  Advanced Analysis of Variance

EPSY 8960:  Problems in Educational Psychology: 21st-Century Issues Confronting Education

HRPR 8201:  Structural Equation Modeling

HRPR 8202:  Multilevel Modeling in Interdisciplinary Research

HRPR 8203:  Systematic Reviews in Health and Human Ecology

PBHL 5012:  Advanced Biostatistics

SOC 8221:  Qualitative Methods

THRC 8161:  Methods in Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) for Health

Cognate Courses (12 s.h.):

In consultation with an advisor, students select from a range of possible courses from across the University, including:

DSST 5401:  Disability Rights and Culture

DSST 5403:  Disability and Social Policy

HRPR 8200:  Special Topics in Transdisciplinary Research

OTHR 5001:  Applied Development Across the Life Span

OTHR 8133:  Family-Centered Care

OTHR 8141:  Concepts of Gerontological Rehabilitation I

PBHL 5009:  Risk Communication and Public Health

PBHL 5204:  Mental Health Epidemiology

SOC 8341:  Sociology of Kinship

SOC 8391:  Medical Sociology

SSWG 8303:  Dynamics of Health, Health Care, and Health Systems

SSWG 8307:  Health/Mental Health Policy

SSWG 8813:  Societal Responses to Aging

THRC 5101:  Health, Activity and Aging

THRC 8150:  Therapeutic Recreation and Disabilities Seminar I

THRC 8160:  Therapeutic Recreation and Disabilities Seminar II

THRC 8280:  Behavior Change Seminar

THRC 9143:  Leisure, Health and Quality of Life

Internship:  An internship is required.

Language Examination:  No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Mentored Research Internship (3 s.h.):

A unique feature of the Health Ecology Ph.D. program is a research internship, which enhances rigorous training in interdisciplinary research methods. The research internship provides an opportunity to participate in ongoing research with multiple faculty members in order to gain exposure to a variety of research topics and environments. Students register for a 1-credit internship for each of three semesters, which affords them the opportunity to work closely with a particular faculty member on a topic of mutual interest leading to a specific outcome, typically a publication-quality manuscript or similar product. With the guidance of their faculty mentors, all students are required to: (a) develop and implement a minimum of one formal research presentation (e.g., at an academic or professional conference); (b) complete a series of three 1-credit research internships within the research laboratories of CHPSW faculty; (c) develop and submit a publishable scholarly manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal; and (d) submit a grant proposal application to a federal agency, national foundation, or equivalent agency.

Mentored Teaching Experience:

Another unique feature of the Health Ecology Ph.D. program is a mentored teaching experience to gain skills in structuring interdisciplinary learning and discourse. The program acknowledges the importance of acquiring advanced teaching skills as one of the triad of research, practice, and teaching. A mentored teaching experience enables students to collaborate with a faculty mentor on structuring course content and process, with a particular focus on interdisciplinary discourse, and facilitating the learning process through lectures and discussion. It is tailored to the student’s experiences and interests and helps train and prepare students to assume both research and teaching responsibilities inherent to a faculty role/position in post-secondary institutions and/or other related settings. When possible, either through team teaching or a teaching assistantship, students have an opportunity to develop and teach a course for which they have primary responsibility.

Dissertation (9 s.h.):

The doctoral dissertation is an original empirical research study that makes a significant contribution to an area of Interdisciplinary or Transdisciplinary Health within the broad spectrum of Health Ecology. It should be an original, innovative research study that integrates conceptual, methodological, and practical rigor and novelty. It should expand existing knowledge and demonstrate the student's mastery of theory and research methods, particularly within her/his concentration or specialty area. It is expected that the study will result in refereed journal article publications and conference presentations to academic and/or professional audiences.

To fulfill the dissertation requirement, students prepare and orally defend in a public meeting the final dissertation. Students should present their plans for publishing their dissertation as part of their defense. Students must be enrolled continuously for at least 1 credit of dissertation research each semester until their dissertation is successfully defended. The Graduate School requires a minimum of 6 credits for the dissertation experience. Students are required to complete 3 s.h. for the dissertation proposal and a minimum of 6 s.h. for dissertation research. Students must be enrolled in the semester that they graduate.

Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Ph.D. Program in Health Ecology

Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences
1700 N. Broad Street, Suite 304

Philadelphia, PA  19122


Department Contacts:


Jacquee Lukawski

Ph.D. Program Director:

Dr. Mark Salzer



About the Program

The Ph.D. in Health Ecology responds to the shortage of and demand for doctorally trained researchers and academicians in the health professions. The uniqueness of this restructured program lies in its mission to prepare doctoral students to become leaders in interdisciplinary approaches that address the complex challenges associated with the maintenance and promotion of health and life quality across the life span by acknowledging the diversity of communities and societies. The program is designed to uniquely leverage a transdisciplinary approach to producing academicians and researchers who are equipped to proactively address micro (e.g., individuals, families) and macro (e.g., socioeconomic, communities, cultural, environmental, institutional systems) issues critical for health, quality of life, and health-care and its interrelationships. Appropriately addressing these issues and their interconnectedness requires leadership that has a broad and integrative perspective, embraced by a cadre of professionals who think and act beyond the disciplinary boundaries in a holistic way. Thinking and acting beyond the limitations of any single discipline add an important dimension to defining and solving problems and challenges in society by employing collaborative and integrative research from a transdisciplinary and holistic perspective.

Time Limit for Degree Completion:  7 years

Campus Location:


Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m. Students complete the degree program on a full-time basis.

Department Information:

Ph.D. Program in Health Ecology

Dept. of Rehabilitation Sciences
1700 N. Broad Street, Suite 304

Philadelphia, PA  19122


Interdisciplinary Study:

The degree program is interdisciplinary by its very nature.


Numerous health care and human service agencies in Philadelphia and the surrounding Delaware Valley region cooperate with the faculty affiliated with the Ph.D. program in Health Ecology. These agencies include the Philadelphia Corporation on Aging, the Temple University Health System, and leading nationally and regionally prominent health facilities such as the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, and MossRehab.

Study Abroad:



The faculty and the program are nationally recognized for excellence in their research and scholarship.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Faculty members specialize and offer learning opportunities in disability studies, gerontology, health promotion and rehabilitation, and physical and mental health.

Job Placement:

Graduates with the Ph.D. in Health Ecology are expected to pursue employment in academia as research faculty and in agencies setting health policy and administering services as well as conducting health-related research.


Not applicable.

Non-Matriculated Student Policy:

Students are allowed to take up to 9 s.h. of coursework before matriculation. Selection of courses must be made in conjunction with the department's Graduate Director.

Financing Opportunities

Funding is not guaranteed, but could be available in various forms, including Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships. Both Teaching and Research Assistantships carry a stipend and partial or full tuition remission. Students admitted to the doctoral program in Health Ecology may be supported through the funded research of affiliated faculty members.

Updated 10.12.12