The Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.) program prepares individuals for leadership positions in public health practice in health-care systems, governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and community setting. The competency-based curriculum delivers advanced public health education with specific focus within disciplines, and applied practice and integrated learning experiences that address the doctoral foundational and discipline specific competencies. Students may enroll on a full- or part-time basis; however, it is recommended they advance to candidacy within three years of entering the program, and complete the program within five years, (They may not exceed the University maximum allowable time for degree completion of seven years for a doctoral degree.) Concentrations are available in:

Dr.P.H. degree concentrations offer preparation for careers in which advanced expertise in program planning, implementation, evaluation and policy analysis are required. Students’ doctoral projects (integrated learning experiences) and applied practice experiences are key components in the development of critical thinking and leadership skills.

A minimum of two years is generally required to complete coursework, for full-time students. Program plans are described under individual majors. The number of units of course work required to complete the program may be reduced but is not to be fewer than 54 units plus applied practice experience and integrated learning experience units at Loma Linda University.

The overall Dr.P.H. curriculum is designed using a faith-based lens to accurately reflect the mission and vision of Loma Linda University and the School of Public Health. Additionally, nine units of courses offered by the LLU School of Religion are included in the curriculum to allow the students to enhance personal spiritual development as well as application of faith-based values to professional practice.

Dr.P.H. Foundational Competencies

The Dr.P.H. core curriculum is based on the doctoral foundational competencies from 2016 CEPH criteria. These include:

Critical Analysis: Ability to synthesize and apply evidence based research and theory from a broad range of public health disciplines and health related data sources to advance programs, policies, and systems promoting population health. 


  1. Analyze quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods and policy analysis research and evaluation methods to address health issues at multiple levels (individual, group, organization, community and population).
  2. Design a quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, policy analysis or evaluation project to address a public health issue.
  3. Explain the use and limitations of surveillance systems and national surveys in assessing, monitoring and evaluating policies and programs and to address a population’s health.

Leadership, Management and Governance:  Ability to create, communicate and apply shared vision, inspire trust and motivate others, build capacity and strategies, and identify and analyze ethical issues in addressing public health problems.  


  1. Propose strategies for health improvement and elimination of health inequities by organizing stakeholders, including researchers, practitioners, community leaders and other partners.
  2. Propose strategies to promote inclusion and equity within public health programs, policies and systems. 
  3. Create a strategic plan 
  4. Create organizational change strategies 
  5. Propose human, fiscal and other resources to achieve a strategic goal. 
  6. Cultivate new resources and revenue streams to achieve a strategic goal. 
  7. Assess one’s own strengths and weaknesses in leadership capacities including cultural proficiency.  
  8. Facilitate shared decision making through negotiation and consensus building methods. 
  9. Integrate knowledge, approaches, methods, values and potential contributions from multiple professions and systems in addressing public health problems. 
  10. Communicate public health science recognizing different communication styles and tools to diverse stakeholders including individuals at all levels of health literacy, for purposes of influencing behavior and policies.  

Policy, Advocacy and Programs: Ability to design system-level interventions that influences population health outcomes in transdisciplinary team approaches that promote health equity and disease prevention across diverse communities and cultures. 


  1. Design a system-level intervention to address a public health issue.
  2. Integrate knowledge of cultural values and practices in the design of public health policies and programs.
  3. Integrate scientific information, legal and regulatory approaches, ethical frameworks and varied stakeholder interests in policy development and analysis.
  4. Propose inter professional team approaches to improving public health.

Education and Workforce development: Ability to develop and apply pedagogical principles and skills to identify learning needs of a population and promote learning in academia, organizational and community settings. 


  1. Assess a population’s knowledge and learning needs.
  2. Use best practice modalities in pedagogical practices. 
  3. Deliver training or educational experiences that promote learning in academic, organizational or community settings.
Applied practice and integrated learning experience

All Dr.P.H. students will engage in an applied practice experience (AP) that results in a final product that is relevant to public health organizations. The culminating activity is an integrated learning experience (ILE) that includes a field-based project emphasizing advanced practice. Both AP and ILE will demonstrate integration of foundational and concentration-specific competencies.

Dr.P.H. degree corequisites

Students must have an M.P.H. from an accredited institution or complete courses in PHCJ 606 Public Health FundamentalsEPDM 509 Principles of EpidemiologySTAT 521 Biostatistics I or AHRM 514 Biostatistics (that covers SPSS and R, SAS), and equivalent courses prior to taking doctoral level public health core courses.

Advancement to candidacy

Advancement to candidacy is granted by the Academic Dean. When the doctoral foundational coursework is completed, the student must successfully pass a written comprehensive examination.  The next step is the qualifying examination. The student is required to submit a concept paper describing the proposed doctoral project, and proposed Doctoral Project Guidance Committee. Students are advanced to candidacy when they successfully present their doctoral project proposals that include the rationale and significance to the field, approach and tools, and outcomes (deliverables). Successful completion of the doctoral project also requires a high quality written document (guidelines outlined in the SPH Dr.P.H. Handbook).

Teaching experience

Each doctoral student is required to serve as a teaching assistant for a minimum of one quarter. Additional information is detailed in the SPH Dr.P.H. Handbook.

Professional Development

All doctoral students are required to present their work (applied practice experience or integrated learning experience) at a scientific or professional conference either as a poster or as a short oral presentation.