2017-2018 Graduate Catalog

PhD in Health Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences Program of Study (54 semester credit hours)

Mission Statement:

The mission of this PhD program is to shape the next generation of faculty, scholars, and clinical scientists within the health sciences.

Program Description:

This PhD program will prepare individuals for research and teaching careers in academia and industry. In many health science areas, a significant shortage of professors and clinical scientific leaders exists to replace and fill much needed positions now and in the future. To meet the shortfall of faculty and clinical research scientists, this PhD degree focuses on specific areas of health sciences in one of two tracks: Physical Health Sciences and Social Health Sciences.

The physical health sciences track focuses on physiological and epidemiological issues related to the human body from one of four different graduate departments in Harris College (i.e., kinesiology, nursing, speech & hearing disorders, nurse anesthesia).

The social health sciences track focuses on psychosocial issues of human beings from one of the five different graduate departments in Harris College (i.e., speech & hearing disorders, social work, kinesiology, nursing, nurse anesthesia).

The student will be admitted into a specific area of emphasis based on a declared department/unit affiliation. Each track will have a total of 18 hours of emphasis courses and a research seminar class each semester designed to develop the student’s research interest within that area of emphasis. A major advisor will be assigned to each student who will guide the types of emphasis courses based on the program of study. The student will also select a research mentor either at the beginning of the program or as soon as they identify their research interest area. The PhD in Health Sciences Handbook includes specifics about the student’s committee. Examples of possible emphasis courses for each track are provided below. Some of the emphasis courses will be focus seminars.

Physical Health Science Track-Emphasis Examples:

Biochem (two semesters - 8 hours) - prereq

Molecular Biology

Systems Physiology (muscular, cardio, respiratory)


Stats specific coursework:

Special Topics (eg., immunology, genetics, thermo regulation)

Social Health Science Track Emphasis Examples:

Psychology (clinical, exercise, performance)

Sociology (family, cultural, diversity)

Quality of Life

Measurement/Assessment Tools

Theories of Practice

Stats specific coursework:

Special Topics (eg., population, health, public health policy, children, homelessness, pain mgt, symptom mgt)


All applicants must meet the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School. In addition to these general requirements, Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences requires the following for admission to the Ph.D. program:

  1. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 on all prior graduate level course work is strongly preferred.
  2. A graduate level course in statistics.
  3. A course in research at the graduate level.
  4. A master’s degree or higher in a related field from a program accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body.
  5. A completed thesis or comparable project from the master’s or higher prepared degree.
  6. Three letters of recommendation.
  7. A letter discussing research interest area(s) and professional goals.
  8. A current license to practice in related field of study in the U.S. (e.g. nursing, social work, speech pathology, K-12 teaching) – if applicable to the discipline.
  9. A curriculum vita or resume.

Applicants who do not meet the 3.5 GPA, but who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on prior graduate level course work may be considered for provisional admission on an individual basis. Factors that will be considered in the admission decision are GPA on graduate level course work, research interest, scholarly activities, professional leadership, and work history.

In order to be considered for admission, please use the following application deadlines. These are the deadlines for all materials to be submitted including the application, all transcripts, reference letters, CV, and letter discussing research interest area and professional goals.

Semester for Admission:


Submit application no later than:

February 1