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DrPH in Health Policy and Social Justice

Program: Doctor of Public Health in Health Policy and Social Justice

Degree: DrPH

Credits: 60

Program Length: The DrPH program is designed to be completed in 3-4 years. Students are allowed up to seven calendar years from the date of initial registration to complete and successfully defend a dissertation.

Entry Term: Fall

Application Deadline: All doctoral applicants must submit a complete application by January 15 to be considered for the Fall 2016 term.

GRE Code: 2194 (Do not use departmental codes)

Overview: The DrPH in Health Policy and Social Justice offers a methodologically rigorous doctoral training program in health policy that comprises both formal classroom training and guided research and policy analysis with faculty mentors. This program will prepare students to play strong professional roles in developing and implementing policies that improve public health by focusing on those who are most vulnerable.

Dornsife School of Public Health is the only accredited school of public health in the Greater Philadelphia Region. The mission of the school is to promote the health of communities through an integrated program of education, research, service and practice. The school enhances the health of communities by creating partnerships based on community values, strengths and assets. To advance this mission, graduates of the DrPH in Health Policy and Social Justice will generate new knowledge about social justice and will use this knowledge in the analysis, evaluation and modification of existing policy as well as the design and delivery of new policy affecting public health practice. This program is the first of its kind offered by an accredited school of public health. It is also the only program focused on the interplay between policy and social justice in the Philadelphia region.

Program Description: As a top-tier research institution, Drexel University provides students with an integrated learning environment that applies general knowledge and skills, research, applied skills and public health practice in Health Policy and Social Justice.

The DrPH program requires students to complete coursework, demonstrate practical competencies in public health leadership, research and/or advocacy beyond the classroom, to pass a doctoral examination, and to complete a dissertation of publishable quality on a substantial policy analysis project.

The goal of the DrPH Program in Health Policy and Social Justice is to prepare graduates to play strong professional roles in developing and implementing policies that improve public health by focusing on those who are most vulnerable. By studying important racial and ethnic, social class and gender differences within the larger social justice framework, students will emerge from the program with a sound theoretical and practical foundation for critical scholarship in health disparities, cultural competency and social justice. Furthermore, students will gain the tools to develop, implement and evaluate health policies in both public and private health sectors.

Career Opportunities: There is a growing need for doctoral level professionals in public health across the Greater Philadelphia Region and nationwide. The doctoral program prepares DrPH candidates for leadership roles in education, research, government, policy making, and institutional administration among other areas.

Degree requirements: Completion of the DrPH in Health Policy and Social Justice requires:

  • Completing a minimum of 60 quarter credit hours of course work beyond the master's degree as prescribed by the program's curriculum;
  • Having a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.3;
  • Passing the doctoral comprehensive examination;
  • Passing the candidacy oral examination;
  • Completing a dissertation of publishable quality;
  • Passing the final defense of the candidate's dissertation.

Curriculum: The coursework credits are comprised of:

  • Doctoral core courses (12 credits);
  • Departmental required DrPH courses (18 credits);
  • Practicum (3-6 credits);
  • Electives (minimum 12 credits);
  • Dissertation research (minimum 12 credits).

University Catalog: To view detailed course description, please visit the University Catalog at

Faculty: The core program faculty has training in health management and policy and social justice. They are engaged in a variety of research and policy-related activities. These areas include:

  • Health Care Management
  • Health Care Disparities
  • Health Economics
  • Health Services Research
  • Human Rights
  • Nonviolence
  • Poverty and Hunger Policy
  • Public Policy Development
  • Public Policy Ethics
  • Trauma-Informed Care

Students will receive group advising during their first year.  Upon becoming familiar with the faculty's research and scholarly interests, students may formally affiliate with a supervising professor.

To view a complete list of faculty and staff, along with a sampling of their research and practice areas, please click here.

Admission Requirements: Applicants to the DrPH in the Health Policy and Social Justice Program must meet the following requirements:

  • MPH degree or master’s degree in a related field.
  • A minimum of one year post master's degree experience in public health.
  • Potential for high level of performance in the DrPH program and subsequent contributions to the field of Public Health Policy.

The application package will include:

  • Undergraduate and graduate transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty or professionals who can evaluate the applicant’s promise as a graduate student
  • Official Graduate Record Examination scores
  • Written statement of career and educational goals, professional experience, and area of research interest.

An in-person or telephone interview is required of all finalists.

Application Procedures: The deadline for application to the program is January 15th. Prospective students are encouraged to visit the SPH website or contact Graduate Admissions for more detail on application procedures. Online applications are accepted through

Financial Aid: The Department of Health Management and Policy will make every effort to help secure funding support for students accepted into the DrPH program.

For More Information:

Graduate Admissions
Online Contact Form

DrPH Health Policy and Social Justice
Dornsife School of Public Health
Dept. of Health Management & Policy
Nesbitt Hall
3215 Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Telephone or email inquiries about the DrPH program can also be directed to the Academic Program Coordinator, Allison H. Keene, MS in the Department of Health Management and Policy, at 267.359.6032 or