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 8012Multivariate Biostatistics3
EPBI 8212Grantsmanship in Health Research3
HPM 8013Research Methods in Health Policy3
Electives 218
Select electives in Research Methods:
EPBI 8201
Structural Equation Modeling
EPBI 8204
Multilev Mod in Int Res
EPBI 8208
Data Management and Analysis
POLS 8002
Qualitative Research Methods
POLS 8112
Research in State Politics
SBS 8001
Research Methods in Public Health
Econometric Methods for Health Services Research course
Select electives in Health Policy Theory:
HPM 5500
Seminar in Current Issues in Public Health
POLS 8103
Legislative Behavior
Non-Didactic Courses 3
HPM 9994Preliminary Examinations1
HPM 9998Dissertation Proposal Research2
HPM 9999Dissertation Research3
Total Credit Hours45

This common College Core course is required of all incoming graduate students in the College of Public Health. It is available completely online and designed such that students can complete the modules at their own pace over the course of their degree program.


Other electives may be selected with the approval of a faculty advisor.


The Graduate School requires that students complete a minimum of 6 credits, including HPM 9994, HPM 9998, and HPM 9999. Of the 6 credits, at least 2 credits must be earned at the dissertation phase in HPM 9999.

Culminating Events:
Area Paper:
Prior to sitting for the preliminary examinations, 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 published paper meets the writing requirement. If a student is not submitting a first-authored, peer-reviewed, and published (or in press) article, two faculty reviewers review the paper to assess whether it is of publishable quality. The second reader may not be the student’s advisor. 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 preliminary examinations 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.

Preliminary Examinations (HPM 9994):
After completing the paper requirement, all students are required to take the preliminary examinations prior to defending their dissertation research proposal. The preliminary examinations cover all of the core components of the students’ training, including the specific program. The exams should be taken within one term of completing all coursework. The student must register for 1 credit of HPM 9994 in the term in which the examinations are 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 examinations are taken. The examinations cannot be taken until all Incomplete and/or "NR" grades are removed and the area paper requirement has been satisfied. Students are required to meet with their advisor and Director of Graduate Studies before the beginning of the term in which they plan to take the examinations to establish eligibility. Special authorization is required to register.

The preliminary examinations consist of the following components:

  • Core exam, which is a one-week take-home written examination on the history, bioethics, and scientific foundations of Public Health, with an emphasis on the student’s concentration.
  • Methods exam, which is a four-hour in-class examination on research methods and statistics.
  • Oral exam, which is a two-hour oral examination by a panel of three faculty members on any areas covered in the three written examinations, the area paper, and the students’ concentration.

Students who fail the written examination do not proceed to the oral examination. They may have one opportunity to take the examination again. A second failure results in automatic dismissal from the Ph.D. program.

Dissertation Proposal (HPM 9998):
After passing the preliminary examinations, 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. A fourth, external reader is also required at the time of the final dissertation defense. This person must be a member of the Graduate Faculty at Temple or approved by the Dean of the College to take part in the final dissertation examination. This fourth member is not required to be present at the defense of the proposal.

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 preliminary examinations 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 for at least 3 credits of dissertation research 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.