Mar 21, 2023  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Public Health, DrPH

Program Coordinators by Concentration Area:

  • Environmental and Occupational Health: Greg Kearney (Lakeside Annex 8, 125; 252-744-4039;
  • Health Policy, Administration, and Leadership: Ruth Little (Lakeside Annex 7; 252-744-3123;

The goal of the doctor of public health (DrPH) program is to educate leaders who can transform the health system into one that provides high quality care; reduces per capita costs of health care; improves population health; and addresses health needs of the rural, poor, underserved multicultural populations to reduce health disparities. The DrPH is a terminal degree for individuals who intend to pursue leadership careers in applied, practice-based, public health research and leadership.

The DrPH program offers two concentrations: (1) environmental and occupational health, and, (2) health policy, administration and leadership. Both concentrations have specific course content that embeds rural health throughout the plan of study. Graduates of this program will be prepared for leadership positions in government (local, state, or federal public health institutions), non-profit institutions (health advocacy or community service), or for-profit institutions (health care organizations, health research organizations, health insurance, pharmaceutical industry and health-related industries) with preparation for research and teaching in higher education.

The DrPH is a 51 s. h. to 75 s. h. program. The minimum degree requirement depends on the student’s academic background. Students with an MPH from an accredited program will have taken the 24 hours of foundational courses and will have met that requirement. Those without an MPH degree or equivalent will be required to take the foundational courses before taking the doctoral level courses.

Consistent with a practice-focused degree and with public health discipline expectations, the degree will require both a practicum/field placement and a dissertation. Special consideration will be provided for those with exceptional backgrounds or unique skill sets (e.g., first degrees in medicine). The program offers flexibility for today’s working professional seeking an advanced degree while at the same time, ensuring that graduates of the program demonstrate the skills needed to be transformational leaders in public health.

The basic curriculum plans for each level of experience and each concentration are as follows:

Doctor of Public Health - Environmental and Occupational Health Concentration

(51 s. h. - 75 s. h.)

1. MPH graduate with experience in public health or related fields - 51 s. h.

2. MPH graduate with little or no experience in public health or related fields – 75 s. h.

d. Specialty areas - 9 s. h.

(Choose a specialty area.)

f. Dissertation - 15 s. h.

g. Field experience - 6 s. h.

Doctor of Public Health - Health Policy, Administration and Leadership Concentration

(51 s. h. - 75 s. h.)

1. MPH graduate with experience in public health or related fields - 51 s. h.

2. MPH graduate with little or no experience in public health or related fields – 75 s. h.

Academic Requirements

In order to remain in good academic standing, students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in all coursework once they have earned a total of 9 semester hours attempted.  Students who fail to meet this criteria may be placed on probation or dismissed from the program.


Candidates selected for admission to the doctor of public health program should have previous experience in public health practice and have successfully completed an MPH degree or graduate degree in a closely related field from an accredited program.  All applicants must complete an online application to the Graduate School and comply with ECU graduate admission requirements.

Transfer Credits

With the support of the graduate program director, up to one third of the credit hours in a graduate degree program may be transferred from a regionally accredited college or university. Exceptions may be made with the permission of the program director and the dean of the Graduate School, but in all cases, students must earn at least one-half of the credit hours in a graduate degree program at East Carolina University. Program directors and students should discuss transfer credit options.