Thomas Jefferson University
Population Health Sciences

Doctoral Degree (PhD)

Program Length


Varies by pace and number of credits transferred into the program.

Program Format

On-site w/ some online


Masters Prepared Professionals


Rolling Admission

Students can begin the program in September or January. Applications are considered when submitted.

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Thomas Jefferson University’s PhD in Population Health Sciences prepares leaders to analyze the determinants of health and to develop, implement and evaluate health policies and systems that improve the health and quality of life of populations. More specifically, the PhD program prepares leaders to be scholars, researchers, educators and practitioners in core aspects of population health.

The PhD in Population Health Sciences requires completion of 77-80 credits, including preliminary and comprehensive examinations and dissertation. Students specialize in one of four areas: health policy, healthcare quality and safety, applied health economics/outcomes research and behavioral/health sciences. Preference is given to applicants who have completed a master’s degree or master’s level coursework in appropriate fields of study such as public health, social work, health policy and behavioral sciences. Students may transfer a maximum of 30 applicable graduate credits into the program from other accredited institutions or from other Jefferson College of Population Health graduate programs. 

Program Outcomes

As scholars, graduates of the PhD program are able to:

  • Demonstrate innovative, creative and original contributions to the state of knowledge in population health
  • Develop policy based on research and communicate the role of research in the development of policy related to population health
  • Critically evaluate research proposals and peer-authored manuscripts in population health
  • Prepare and write manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication
  • Prepare and write grant proposals for research in population health
  • Teach, advise and mentor future students/learners in various areas of population health

As researchers, graduates of the PhD program are able to:

  • Conceptualize, design and lead interdisciplinary research involving the distribution of health outcomes (e.g., mortality, morbidity, quality of life) and the health determinants (e.g., medical care, socioeconomic status, genetics, public health) that influence this distribution
  • Apply sound theoretical and ethical frameworks and advanced quantitative and qualitative methodologies in the development and conduct of research
  • Translate research into policy and public health practice

As educators, graduates of the PhD Program are able to:

  • Demonstrate application of competent teaching and instructional skills for both face-to-face (f2f) and online learning formats
  • Develop curricula in population health sciences that reflects sound pedagogical practice

As practitioners, graduates of the PhD program are able to:

  • Collaborate with policy makers, organizations and communities to plan, conduct and translate research into health policy and practice.
  • Work with, build and lead interdisciplinary teams that contribute to coalition building
  • Critically appraise grants, participate in the grant writing and review process and write proposals
  • Integrate application of health IT into multiple areas of research and practice
  • Use decision support and clinical information systems in optimal ways that contribute to research and policy development
  • Identify, manage and evaluate


The PhD in Population Health Sciences requires 77-80 credits, including preliminary and comprehensive examinations and dissertation. 



Admissions Considerations

  • 17-30 credits of previous graduate coursework in an appropriate field
  • Graduate course or demonstrated competency in basic statistics
  • Graduate course in research methods
  • Graduate course in basic epidemiology
  • Competency in medical terminology
    (applied health economics and outcomes research and
    healthcare quality and safety specializations only)
  • GRE scores that are less than 5 years old
  • Interview prior to application

901 Walnut Street, 10th Floor   
Philadelphia PA 19107