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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Public Health

What is a DPH Degree?

The Doctor of Public Health degree is offered by Schools of Public Health and public health programs to prepare researchers, managers, public health leaders and university faculty. It is a research degree for people who already have a Masters in Public Health or in a related field.

How does the DPH degree differ from a PhD in Public Health?

Both are degrees that prepare public health researchers and both require substantial independent research and a dissertation. In general, the DPH is focused more on practice-based research while the PhD puts more emphasis on theory and creation of new knowledge. While public health leaders have debated the relative purposes of the DPH and PhD for years, in practice both degrees prepare people for a variety of leadership positions in public health.

What are job opportunities for CUNY DPH graduates?

CUNY DPH graduates find employment in public health agencies, voluntary health organizations, medical centers, research institutes, community organizations, advocacy groups, private companies and universities as researchers, senior managers, and faculty members. As the aging public health workforce retires, it is expected there will be strong demand for senior public health personnel with strong research and organizational skills.

What sets the CUNY DPH Program apart from others?

Several themes define the unique approaches that distinguish the CUNY DPH Program. These include:

  • Focus on urban public health;

  • Multi-level analysis, research and intervention;

  • Goal is to understand and improve living conditions and health and reduce inequities;

  • Interdisciplinary blend of public health and social, behavioral and natural sciences;

  • Practice and research-oriented;

  • Collaboration with city agencies and public health institutions (e.g. DOHMH, DOE, HHC);

  • Diversity -- CUNY programs, students, faculty.

What tracks are in the CUNY DPH program and what are the goals of each of those tracks?

  • Community, Society and Health (CSH)
    This track prepares researchers and public health practitioners to advance scientific understanding of the social determinants of health, health behaviors, the delivery of health services, and the development of sound health policies. CSH graduates will be able to lead, plan, manage, and evaluate community health interventions. The track draws on the methods and theories from multiple disciplines to prepare students to design and implement public health programs and research/evaluation studies.

  • Epidemiology (EPI)
    The mission of the Epidemiology Track of the DPH Program is to train epidemiologists as researchers and public health practitioners with a set of core competencies making them capable of rigorously applying epidemiological and biostatistical methods to the wide array of public health challenges. This includes the ability to: authoritatively generate, contribute, and disseminate new knowledge to their fields through research; to be critical consumers of evidence generated by others in their field; and to become independent, lifelong learners in development and application of epidemiologic methods. This mission is achieved through the teaching of epidemiologic methods and their applications to pressing public health problems, promotion of independent learning, and hands-on mentoring of rigorous, impactful and innovative epidemiologic research in the dissertation phase.

  • Environmental and Occupational Health (EOH)
    The EOH track trains doctoral-level researchers and teachers about Environmental and Occupational Health problems affecting populations. Students have backgrounds in environmental science, occupational health, industrial hygiene, environmental policy, environmental epidemiology, and other related fields. The program includes a focus on Environmental and Occupational Health regulation, as well as planning and its impact on human health. The curriculum combines an understanding of how elements of the urban infrastructure – e.g., the built environment, commerce and productive activities, energy and communication systems, water, waste management and transport systems – interact with macrosocial trends (e.g., demographic, economic, and political processes) to affect environmental conditions (e.g., air, water, land and workplace) and human health. Coursework and research is aimed at furthering scientific understanding of the ways in which urbanization compromises the physical environment and human health as well as the ways in which it promotes health. topics such as environmental sustainability, environmental justice, economic viability, and political participation are examined.

  • Health Policy and Management (HPM)
    The HPM track prepares students for careers in research, teaching, policy analysis and organizational analysis in the broad fields of health services, health policy, and health management. Students will select a concentration in either Health Policy or Health Management. Students who choose Health Policy as a concentration will develop a nuanced understanding of how a range of mechanisms are systematically associated with policy and influence population health. Students who choose Health Management as a concentration will incorporate organizational theory and analysis in understanding how organizational structures, networks, and behavior influence the health of populations.

    The nutrition concentration prepares students with a prior background in nutrition to conduct research and develop and evaluate interventions on the contribution of food and diet to population health. 

    The Maternal, Child, Reproductive and Sexual Health (MCRSH) concentration prepares students to pursue research or service careers in these areas.

When is the admissions deadline for the CUNY SPH DPH program?

The admissions deadline for the CUNY SPH DPH Program is December 15th.

How long does it take to complete the CUNY DPH degree?

Please see the paths to degree page.

How many credits is the CUNY DPH program?

The degree requires a total of 48 credits post-masters' degree. See the Courses and Curriculum webpage for details.

Can international students apply to the CUNY DPH program?

Yes. Please check the Graduate Center International Students webpage for details.

What are the next steps for learning more about the CUNY DPH program?

1) Please join us for an upcoming Information Session;
2) Determine which Track you would like to apply to;
3) Determine if you have the prerequisites to apply to the Track you are interested in;
4) Contact the Track Coordinator of the Track you are interested in and include:

a) Transcripts (unofficial copies are OK for this purpose)
b) CV/Resume
c) GRE scores (if available at time of inquiry) 


How can CUNY DPH applicants who have been instructed to take Masters Level MPH core before applying to the program register for these courses?

For interested CUNY DPH applicants with a Masters or higher level degree in another discipline, the applicant will need to take five core Masters level public health courses. Please check the Prospective Students, Admissions Requirements webpage for details on the CUNY DPH program and a link to the Graduate Center admissions requirements.

Applicants without an MPH degree must be advised by a CUNY DPH Program Track Coordinator to determine what missing Masters Core must be taken before applying to the program. Please check the What are the next steps for learning more about the CUNY DPH program? drop down on this page. Once an applicant has been informed of missing courses, the applicant should:


  • Proceed to register for course(s) as a non-degree student to a school outside of the CUNY SPH. Please note: it is advised that the applicant forward the course(s) description to the Track Coordinator of intended course of study to make sure that the course(s) will fulfill the DPH program application requirement.
  • If the applicant intends to take a course(s) at the CUNY SPH Brooklyn College or Lehman College campus then the respective campus contact must be contacted with the following documents.  Upon the campus’ approval, the applicant may proceed to register for course(s) as a non-degree student to the CUNY SPH College.  CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College campus contacts

1) Transcripts (unofficial copies are OK for this purpose)

2) CV/Resume

3) GRE scores (if available at time of inquiry)

  • If you intend to take a course(s) at the CUNY SPH at Hunter College you must follow steps 2-7 outlined under the header NON-DEGREE STUDENTS AT CUNY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AT THE HUNTER COLLEGE CAMPUS at the below link. Please note that you MUST be registered as a non-degree student at least two months before the start of classes. Additionally, proof of immunizations must go to the wellness center.