2006 - 2007 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Health Studies/Therapeutic Recreation, Ph.D.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines
Application Deadline:

Fall: January 15

As admission is highly competitive and students are admitted only once each year for the fall semester, applications must be complete by the January 15 deadline in order to be processed and reviewed by the Ph.D. Admissions Committee. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that all required transcripts, GRE scores, recommendations, and written materials are received on or before the deadline. Applications that are completed after the January 15 deadline are held for review until the following year. International applicants should submit all material by December 1 if they wish to be considered for fellowship support.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 3

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from evaluators who can provide insight into your abilities and talents, as well as comment on your aptitude for graduate study. Recommendations from college/university faculty members are preferred.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

Applicants are expected to have completed coursework in the natural and social sciences related to health. Preference is given to applicants who have a background in the health professions or in health communication.

Master's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:


Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:


Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals, which should be 500-1,000 words in length, should specify your current research interests and how these interests link to long-term career goals. It should further describe how the Ph.D. in Health Studies—and the cognate concentration you expect to pursue—will help you meet specific career goals.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. GRE scores are part of the entire portfolio considered for admission. Admitted applicants typically score 500 or higher on the verbal and quantitative sections.


A resume is required.

Writing Sample:

Scholarly articles, technical reports, or professional papers are preferred. The sample should be no more than 10 pages unless it is a published work.

Advanced Standing:

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

Program Requirements
Campus Location:

Main Campus

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m.

General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Master's: 42

Required Courses:

Core Courses (3 s.h. each):

PH 510: Epidemiology

PH 520: History and Bioethics

PH 534: Theoretical Foundations of Health Behavior

One of the following courses:

HRP 561: Seminar on Behavioral Change

PH 526: Models of Teaching

PH 550: Program Planning

PH 688: Health Communication

Research and Statistics (15 s.h.):

HRP 952: Doctoral Research Seminar

PH 951: Research Design

and 9 s.h. of doctoral-level statistics and research by advisement

Cognate Specialization and Electives (45 s.h. by advisement, including up to 30 s.h. Advanced Standing credits)

Preliminary Examinations:

HRP 799 (1 s.h.)

HRP 899: Pre-dissertation Research (3 s.h.)

HRP 999: Doctoral Dissertation in Health Studies (6 s.h.)

Cognates and Electives by Advisement:

HRP 561, TR 511, 512, 521, 521, 563, 570, 574, 575, 601, 958.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Preliminary Examinations:

The preliminary examinations should be completed no more than one semester after completing all coursework. A student must register for HRP 799 in the semester or summer session in which the examinations are taken. Students work with the Ph.D. Program Preliminary Examination Coordinator to prepare. Preparation sessions cover expectations related to content, process, and format and such details as date, time, and room. To register for HRP 799, the student must have completed all coursework or be enrolled in final courses in the semester in which the examination is taken. The examinations cannot be taken until all Incomplete and/or "NR" grades are removed. To enroll, students are required to meet with their advisor before the beginning of the semester in which they plan to take the examinations to establish eligibility.

The preliminary examinations include four subject areas: history and bioethics, scientific foundations, program planning and evaluation, and research and statistics. They test the student's breadth and depth of knowledge in the multidisciplinary field of health studies. The examinations evaluate the student's ability to apply theory, concepts, and research methods effectively.

The preliminary examinations are prepared by the Preliminary Examination Coordinator, in consultation with the graduate faculty. Graduate faculty administer all examinations. Preliminary examinations are scheduled in November, March, and August. Two or more days are needed to complete all four parts of the examination.

Preliminary examinations are each read by two or more graduate faculty members assigned by the Director of the Ph.D. Program. Each reader provides a written score on a 10-point scale that establishes the minimum passing score. To pass, the student must meet the minimum score. If the two readers are more than one point apart, they confer with the Ph.D. Program Director who may appoint a third independent reader. No single faculty member makes the decision on whether a student passes or fails. If the student fails one or more examination questions, a member of the faculty provides oral and written feedback to the student, identifying areas of failure and providing suggestions for remediation. A student who fails one part of the examination may retake that part; if two or more parts are failed, the entire examination must be retaken. A student may attempt the preliminary examinations no more than twice.


The doctoral dissertation should be an original, theory-based, empirical study that makes a significant contribution to the field. It should expand existing knowledge and demonstrate the student's mastery of theory and research methods, particularly within his/her area of cognate specialization. The research should be rigorous, while upholding the ethics and standards of the field. It is expected that the study will be result in publication and presentation to professional audiences.

The Dissertation Advising Committee (DAC) oversees the student's doctoral research. The Committee is composed of at least three graduate faculty members: two members, including the chair must be from the Ph.D. Program Faculty of the Department of Public Health or Department of Therapeutic Recreation. Committee membership is approved by the Ph.D. Program Director. The chair is responsible for overseeing and guiding the student's progress, coordinating the responses of the Committee members, and informing the student annually of his or her academic progress.

Dissertation proposals include the content required for the first three chapters of the dissertation. Proposals must include: a statement of purpose, detailing the need for the study; research questions and/or hypotheses; a review of relevant literature, placing the proposed study in a theoretical context; a detailed presentation of the methods to be used; and a proposed timeline for completing study phases. In the preparation of the proposal, the most common practice is for the student, under the direction of the dissertation chair, to develop an initial draft of the proposal. This draft is circulated among the members of the Committee for discussion. The DAC officially meets for an oral defense of the proposal. Approved proposals are signed and placed on file with the Graduate School.

The Dissertation Examining Committee (DEC) evaluates the student's dissertation and oral defense. The Final Defense Committee consists of the DAC and at least one additional graduate faculty member from outside the Departments of Public Health and Therapeutic Recreation. The outside examiner must be a member of the graduate faculty or must be approved to serve by the Dean of the Graduate School. The outside examiner should possess expertise in the study area and be identified no later than the beginning of the semester in which the student will defend the dissertation.

The Final Defense Committee evaluates the student's ability to describe and defend his/her research approach, specific questions/hypotheses, methodologies, primary findings, and implications. The Committee votes to pass or fail the dissertation and the defense at the conclusion of the public presentation. Students who pass receive written instructions on any changes that are required or recommended before filing the final copy with the Graduate School within 30 days of the Final Defense.

If a student needs to change a member of a Committee, the new member must be approved by the Ph.D. Program Director and registered with the graduate administrative assistant and the Graduate School.

Candidates preparing to defend their dissertations should confirm a date and time with each member of the Final Defense Committee and register with the graduate administrative assistant at least 15 days before the defense is to be held. The graduate administrative assistant will arrange the date, time, and room within two working days, post public notice of the meeting, and forward the appropriate forms to the student.

After the graduate administrative assistant has arranged the date, time, and room for the defense, the student must send a completed "Announcement of Dissertation Defense" form at least 10 days before the defense to the Graduate School . The graduate administrative assistant will post official notices announcing the defense.


Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Ph.D. Program in Health Studies

College of Health Professions
313 Vivacqua Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Department Contacts:


Sylvia Kai-Kai

Program Coordinator:

Dr. John Shank


Graduate Chairperson:

Dr. John Shank




Dr. Jay Segal

Ph.D. Program Director

About the Program

The mission of the Ph.D. program in Health Studies is to provide specialized areas of study in Public Health (Environmental Health, Health Communication, or Health Education) and Therapeutic Recreation. The program prepares graduates to be independent researchers in the multidisciplinary applied social-behavioral health sciences. The academic focus of the degree prepares students to integrate social and behavioral health sciences with substantive knowledge of particular populations (e.g., children, youth, elderly) and specific intervention modalities (e.g., health communications, community or patient education, therapeutic recreation). The integration of knowledge and skills is achieved through specialized cognate areas that emphasize multidisciplinary approaches to social, behavioral, and educational research with applications in a wide variety of settings and diverse populations. The program offers students the opportunity to work with outstanding researchers within the Departments of Public Health and Therapeutic Recreation, and in related departments on Main Campus, at the Medical School, at the College of Health Professions, and in affiliated institutions (e.g., The Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple Children's Hospital) in the Philadelphia area. Required courses for the degree in the College of Health Professions are listed in the Schedule of Classes under Health Related Professions (HRP), Public Health (PH), and Therapeutic Recreation (TR).

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 7 years

Campus Location:

Main Campus

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m. Students are able to complete the degree program on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester).

Department Information:

Ph.D. Program in Health Studies

College of Health Professions
313 Vivacqua Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19122


Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

There are two primary areas of specialization within the Ph.D. Program: Public Health (Environmental Health, Health Communication, or Health Education) and Therapeutic Recreation. Each student, in consultation with an advisor, develops a curriculum plan, called a "contract," during the first semester following matriculation. The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 82 semester hours of graduate credit. Most courses are 3 credits. Upon admission, students may receive advanced standing credits for graduate coursework that was taken as part of a master's degree in a closely related field. Cognate courses are used to develop expertise in a broad area of interest related to research in Public Health (Environmental Health, Health Communication, or Health Education) or Therapeutic Recreation. A minimum of 5 cognate courses (15 s.h.) with an interdisciplinary focus must be taken by advisement. Cognates include supervised independent study or research with faculty. These are strongly recommended and arranged by advisement.

Job Placement:

Graduates of the Health Studies Ph.D. Program are typically faculty members or researchers in colleges and universities or hold research-related positions in a wide range of organizations. Graduates are employed in health systems, hospitals and clinics, public health departments, and public health and other healthcare and human service agencies that provide public health and therapeutic recreation. Some graduates are employed by schools at the local, state, and federal levels. Graduates also work in pharmaceutical companies, non-profit and for-profit corporations, foundations, and consulting firms.


Research affiliations of the graduate faculty of the Ph.D. in Health Studies include the Center for Asian Tobacco Control; the Department of Nursing; the Fox Chase Cancer Center; the Fox School of Business and Management's Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Department; the Institute on Aging; the Institute on Disabilities; the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; the School of Communications and Theater; Temple University School of Medicine and Children's Medical Center; and Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. Additional research opportunities include the Institute for Survey Research, the Social Science Data Library, and the Testing and Measurement Center.

Interdisciplinary Study:

Students are encouraged to develop programs of study that are interdisciplinary in nature, involving coursework across departments, schools, and colleges. Research in affiliated units is encouraged.

Study Abroad:

Temple University has campuses in Japan, London, and Rome where independent research can be pursued by advisement. Faculty are also currently engaged in projects in China and in Kiev, Ukraine.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Students are permitted to take up to 9 s.h. of coursework before matriculation. If accepted to the program, those courses may be applied toward the degree requirements. Course selection should be made in consultation with an advisor, and students should be aware that completion of coursework does not ensure admission into the program.

Financing Opportunities

Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants provide 20 hours of service per week. Teaching Assistants may be assigned to assist in teaching of courses, including grading examinations and papers or teaching laboratory sections. Some TAs independently teach undergraduate courses. Research Assistants perform supervised research activities. Both Teaching and Research Assistantships carry a minimum stipend and full tuition remission for up to 9 credits per semester. Applications for assistantships are available from the Department of Public Health and the Department of Therapeutic Recreation and must be submitted by January 15 for the following fall semester. The application requires: a statement of previous teaching and/or research experience, areas of interest, and future goals; unofficial copies of transcripts; and a curriculum vitae. The department makes offers of assistantships following admission to the program. Applications should be addressed to Dr. John Shank, Chair of the Department of Therapeutic Recreation, 313 Vivacqua Hall, Temple University, P.O. Box 2843, Philadelphia, PA 19122-0843.

Other Financial Opportunities