2022-23 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.  A significant shortage of professors and clinical science leaders exists in many health science disciplines. There is a need to replace and fill these positions now and in the future. To help meet the shortfall of faculty and clinical research scientists, this PhD degree focuses on specific areas within the 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 human health across the lifespan. The social health sciences track focuses on psychological issues affecting human health across the lifespan.

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 Adviser, assigned to each student, will guide the types of emphasis courses based on the program of study. Students will also select a Dissertation Chair 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 Dissertation. 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:

Biochemistry (two semesters - 8 hours)

Molecular Biology

Systems Physiology (muscular, cardio, respiratory)


Stats-specific coursework

Special Topics (e.g., 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 (e.g., vulnerable populations, public health policy, children, pain management, symptom management)


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 3.5 grade point average (GPA) on all prior graduate level course work is strongly preferred.
  2. A completed course in statistics (adequacy will be evaluated by the committee).
  3. A completed graduate level research course.
  4. A completed 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. Two of the three must be academic references with at least one of those from a previous graduate program faculty member or administrator.
  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.  if applicable to the discipline.
  9. A curriculum vita or résumé.

Applicants who do not meet the 3.5 GPA, but who have a 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 GRE, GPA on graduate level course work, research interest, scholarly activities, professional leadership, and work history.

Use the following application deadlines. This is the deadline 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:

Feb. 1