DrPH Curriculum and Degree Requirements

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Campus Visits

Each cohort of students comes to Chapel Hill or an alternate designated site for three to four days at the beginning of their studies (August), between the fall and spring semesters (early January), and between the spring and summer semesters (May). Otherwise, all learning takes place in the student’s home or office.

Students begin their studies with four days on campus during which they are oriented to the program, the Department, and the University. They are also provided a series of special sessions on leadership, ethics, and cultural competence, and they participate in group discussions with top health care and public health leaders. They are also be introduced to the remainder of the first semester curriculum.

Students come back to Chapel Hill between each semester to conclude work on the preceding semester and begin work on the next semester’s curriculum. The process is repeated throughout the first two years of the curriculum.

In lieu of campus visits, the program may at times elect to meet at other sites, including sites within or outside the U.S., where we may take advantage of additional opportunities for leadership development.

Pace of Program

All students move through the curriculum at the same pace. Every course in the first two years is required of every student. Some students are expert at some elements of the curriculum, but are still required to take those elements. We want students to share their expertise with the others in the cohort. We believe active interaction among students is an important part of good adult learning.

The focus in the third year is on writing the dissertation, although students are free to take a maximum of two electives. Workloads for each course are similar, although some variation occurs. On average, each credit hour requires about 40 hours of student time. Therefore, students spend approximately 240 hours on school work per semester. While demanding, this amount of work (16 hours per week) is reasonable for people working full-time.

For more details, see our Curriculum Plan.

Our program is aligned with ASPPH DrPH Core Competency Model.

Online Access

Students connect to the faculty and their peers mainly via their computers. As a result, they do not need to go to distance education sites, such as videoconference centers, to participate in the program.

PLEASE NOTE: Students must have a high-speed (DSL or cable) connection to the Internet. Dial-up connections will not work with the Department’s technology.

Students receive material (recorded videos, narrative case studies, datasets, readings, etc.) via the Web each week. They study these materials on their own time but must have completed these tasks before the weekly late afternoon/evening sessions when they convene live via Internet video technology. These three-hour synchronous learning sessions are divided into components of the curriculum and led by faculty members and/or guest speakers responsible for each component.

Conflict of Interest Policy

The Doctoral Program in Health Leadership is guided by policies designed to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest associated with financial support from corporate or other sponsors.

Our program policies are aligned with the University’s conflict of interest policy.

In addition: All sponsors are publicly acknowledged on the DrPH web site. Sponsors have no involvement in the development of program curricula.

We accept no conditions from sponsors for how unrestricted funds are spent. Funds earmarked for specific purposes, such as program technology or student scholarships, adhere to all applicable University policies.

The DrPH Advisory Committee discusses proposed external funding relationships and monitors existing ones to ensure avoidance of real or perceived conflicts of interest.

Graduation Requirements

Graduation requirements for the Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership (DrPH) at the University of North Carolina include the successful completion of the following:

  • All courses and course work
  • All comprehensive exams
  • The dissertation, including a formal defense

See a list of recent DrPH grads with links to abstracts of their dissertations.

Content for this page provided by the Department of Health Policy and Management. Please contact the webmaster with any questions or comments on content. For admission questions, please contact the Student Services Office. For questions or problems with the online admissions form, contact the Graduate School.