Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Total Number of Credits Required: 45 (some of which may be in the form of Advanced Standing credit, as determined after matriculation)

Required Courses:

College Core Course
HRPR 5001Current and Emerging Issues in Public Health and Health Professions 10
Health Policy Theory Courses
HPM 8005Theor Hlth Policy Making3
HPM 8008Health Economics3
HPM 8014Comparative Health Policy3
HPM 8015Public Health Policy and Legal Issues3
Research Methods Courses
EPBI 8012Multivariable Biostatistics3
EPBI 8212Grantsmanship in Health Research3
HPM 8013Research Methods in Health Policy3
Electives 218
Select electives in Research Methods:
Structural Equation Modeling
Multilev Mod in Int Res
Data Management and Analysis
Qualitative Research Methods
Research in State Politics
Research Methods in Public Health
Econometric Methods for Health Services Research course
Select electives in Health Policy Theory:
Public Health Advocacy
HPM 5105
Seminar in Current Issues in Public Health
Legislative Behavior
Non-Didactic Courses 36
Preliminary Examinations
Dissertation Proposal Research
Dissertation Research
Total Credit Hours45

Culminating Events:
Area Paper:
Prior to completing the Health Policy Comprehensive Examination, students must write a published or publishable paper in their chosen area. The purpose of the paper requirement is to demonstrate critical and interpretive knowledge in specialized areas of one's chosen program, as well as a high proficiency in written communication and a capacity to contribute to generalizable knowledge in the field. The paper can be written in one of a variety of formats, including a systematic review, an empirical paper, or a theoretical piece relevant to the field. The student must be the lead or sole author.

The Director of Graduate Studies determines if the paper meets the writing requirement. The review is similar to a peer review of a journal article and evaluated as either passing or failing the writing requirement. Students who fail the paper requirement are allowed to submit a revision. The evaluators set a reasonable timeline for doing so, usually within one term.

A student cannot advance to the Health Policy Comprehensive Examination without passing the paper requirement. Failure to satisfactorily complete the area paper requirement within the specified time frame can result in dismissal from the Ph.D. program. Students who are entering the Ph.D. program and have already published a peer-reviewed paper related to their programmatic subdiscipline can request to waive this requirement by completing a waiver application and submitting it along with the published document to the Director of Graduate Studies.

Oral Presentation:
Prior to advancing to the Health Policy Comprehensive Examination, an oral presentation of 30 to 45 minutes is also required. This presentation can focus on the student’s area paper, research experiences, or grant proposal developed in EPBI 8212 Grantsmanship in Health Research. The topic for the oral presentation must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies prior to scheduling the presentation. The Director of Graduate Studies assists in scheduling the time and location for the oral presentation, which is open to College of Public Health students and faculty. Faculty provide comments about the study after the presentation. The Director of Graduate Studies determines if the oral presentation meets the oral communication requirement. Students who fail the oral presentation requirement are allowed an additional opportunity to demonstrate their oral communication skills in a public oral presentation.

Article Critique:
A third requirement prior to advancing to the Health Policy Comprehensive Examination is the student's prepared critique of a published article selected by the Director of Graduate Studies. Questions to be addressed by the critique are provided to the student. This critique is limited to two single-spaced pages with one-inch margins in a font sized at least 11 point. The critique is then reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies, who decides whether it is approved, rejected, or approved pending revisions.

Health Policy Comprehensive Examination:
After completing the area paper, oral presentation, and article critique requirements, all students are required to successfully complete the Health Policy Comprehensive Exam prior to defending their dissertation research proposal. The exam should be taken within one term of completing all coursework. The student must register for 1 credit of HPM 9994 Preliminary Examinations in the term in which the examination is taken. To register for HPM 9994, the student must have completed all coursework or be enrolled in final courses in the term in which the examination is taken. The examination cannot be taken until all Incomplete and/or "NR" grades are removed and the area paper, oral presentation, and article critique requirements have been satisfied. Students are required to meet with their advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies before the beginning of the term in which they plan to take the examination to establish eligibility. Special authorization is required to register for HPM 9994.

The Health Policy Comprehensive Examination is based on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies. This topic will likely be related to the student’s proposed dissertation topic, and the exam will provide background information for the dissertation. For the examination, the student composes a concise review paper that is no more than six single-spaced pages with one-inch margins in a font sized at least 11 point and addresses the following items:

  • Prevalence of the health condition or behavior today and historical trends
  • Environmental and social factors impacting the specific topic
  • Policy interventions to address the topic
  • Systems-level interventions to address the topic
  • Existing evidence base to support interventions
  • The challenges of translating research into practice

To prepare for the examination, the student meets with her/his advisor and the Director of Graduate Studies to review her/his paper. The role of the advisor is to:

  • ensure that the student understands the nature of the exams;
  • work with the student to ensure that s/he is adequately prepared for the comprehensive examination; and
  • maintain regular communication with the student regarding the comprehensive exam.

The Director of Graduate Studies provides all of the basic information regarding the comprehensive examination. The advisor is a second line of information and is a safeguard to ensure that each student is on track to successfully complete the exam.

Dissertation Proposal (HPM 9998):  
After passing the Health Policy Comprehensive Examination, students may enroll in HPM 9998. Students must be enrolled for 1 credit of HPM 9998 each term until they file their dissertation proposal with the Graduate School.

All students must form a Doctoral Advisory Committee (DAC) with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies. The DAC is composed of at least three Graduate Faculty members: two members, including the chair, must be from the Ph.D. program faculty of the relevant department. The DAC Chair must be approved as Doctoral Graduate Faculty by the Dean of the College of Public Health and by the Graduate School. The Chair is responsible for overseeing and guiding the student's progress; coordinating the responses of the Committee members; and informing the student and the Director of Graduate Studies annually of the student's academic progress.

To fulfill the requirements of HPM 9998, students must submit a dissertation proposal, successfully defend it orally before their Committee, apply for IRB approval for the proposed research, and submit the proposal to the Graduate School. Students have a maximum of one year from the time of completing their Health Policy Comprehensive Examination to develop and defend their dissertation proposal. Thus, students may enroll in HPM 9998 for only two terms without permission. Students needing more time may, with the support of their advisor, formally petition the Director of Graduate Studies for an extension, although an extension is not guaranteed. Failure to meet these requirements can result in dismissal from the program.

Once the proposal is defended, the student is elevated to candidacy and eligible to register for dissertation credits.

Dissertation (HPM 9999):
The doctoral dissertation is an original theory-based research study that makes a significant contribution to the field of Public Health. It should expand existing knowledge and demonstrate the student's mastery of theory and research methods, particularly within a concentration or specialty area. The research should be rigorous, while upholding the ethics and standards of the field. It is expected that the study will result in publication and presentation to professional audiences.

To fulfill the dissertation requirement, students must prepare and orally defend the final dissertation in a public meeting. Students should present their plans for publishing their dissertation as part of their defense. Students must be enrolled continuously in HPM 9999 until their dissertation is successfully defended. The Graduate School requires a minimum of 2 credits of HPM 9999. Students must be enrolled in the term that they graduate.

The Dissertation Examining Committee (DEC) consists of the DAC plus at least one additional external reviewer. The external reviewer must be doctorally prepared. If this person is not a member of the Temple University Graduate Faculty, s/he must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, the Dean of the College, and the Graduate School to take part in the final dissertation examination. The DEC evaluates the student’s written dissertation and oral defense, including the student’s ability to articulate orally the research question; methodological approach; primary findings; interpretation of the findings; and implications for theory, research, and practice. The DEC votes to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation.

If a student needs to change a member of a committee, the new member must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and registered with the Graduate School.

Students who are preparing to defend their dissertation should confirm a time and date with their DEC and work with their department’s administrative assistant to secure a room. This should be done at least one month in advance of the proposed date. The Administrative Assistant arranges the time, date, and room within two working days. After the time, date, and room are secured, the student must send to the Graduate School a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form, found in TUportal under the Tools tab within “University Forms.” This must be submitted at least 10 working days before the defense. The department posts flyers announcing the defense, and the Graduate School lists the defense on its website.