PhD in Health Promotion and Prevention Research
The Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health (COPH) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Health Promotion and Prevention Research (HPPR). The degree is awarded by the UAMS College of Public Health in recognition of scholarly achievement evidenced by a period of successful advanced study, the satisfactory completion of prescribed examinations, and the defense of a dissertation addressing a significant issue relevant to social and behavioral sciences in public health. The curriculum of the HPPR program provides extensive training in basic and applied research methodology that will allow public health scientists to serve as Principal Investigators responsible for developing an extramurally funded program of independent research. Integrated within the multidisciplinary environment of an academic health sciences center, the Ph.D. program is uniquely positioned to advance the understanding of interactions among biological, behavioral and cultural processes that are associated with the etiology and prevention of major chronic illnesses that constitute a significant public health challenge in Arkansas. An advanced understanding of these complex interactions will expand the current knowledge base and foster the development and evaluation of new health care strategies and public health initiatives that subsequently can be implemented to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and communities throughout the state of Arkansas. A strong emphasis on applied and community based research methods provides graduates with a solid foundation in the design and evaluation of public health service programs. This perspective will foster collaboration with public health practitioners in the development of programmatic research that is truly responsive to the health needs of Arkansas residents and makes optimal use of public health infrastructure in the state.
This program is supported by the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education.
Individuals who have earned an MS or equivalent degree in a health-related field from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or from a foreign institution with similar requirements for the MS degree, are eligible to apply for admission to the Doctoral Program in Health Promotion and Prevention Research. Master-level coursework should address core public health sciences, an overview of behavioral theories and methods relevant to public health, and a basic foundation in research design and methods. Applicants’ master theses should address a scientific question relevant to the application of behavioral and public health sciences either through secondary analysis of an existing data set or by collecting and analyzing new data. Master-level course work and research experience will be evaluated and approved prior to admission.
Students who have not earned an MS or equivalent degree may petition the Admissions Committee to consider an exception to this eligibility requirement. All applicants (with or without an MS or equivalent degree) must demonstrate basic core competencies in public health, behavioral science, research design, and statistical methods in order to be considered for admission. Competencies in these areas may be demonstrated through the award of an MS or equivalent degree in a health-related field, successful completion of relevant course work at a regionally accredited institution of higher education or documented practical experience demonstrating the application of relevant skills. Individuals determined by the Admissions Committee to have demonstrated strengths in multiple core competencies may be considered for admission.
Any individual desiring admission to this program must submit application materials through the on-line centralized School of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS).
It is the applicant’s responsibility to request that an official copy of the applicant’s academic record be sent directly to SOPHAS from EACH college or university that the applicant has previously attended. The academic record must include all courses, grades, semester credits attempted, and degree(s) earned. Official transcripts must show completion of at least one graduate-level course in each of four key areas: health behavior and education; biostatistics; epidemiology; and research design. Courses must have been completed within the five (5) years immediately preceding the requested semester of admission. Applicants who have not completed these courses, but whose applications show exceptional potential for success, may be conditionally admitted to the Ph.D. program, but will be required to complete the courses through available COPH course offerings with grades of “B” or better before registering for core required courses in the Ph.D. program.
A minimum cumulative grade-point average of 2.70 (A=4.00) or better on all undergraduate and graduate coursework attempted at a regionally accredited institution of higher education is required. Should an applicant fail to meet this requirement, the program may petition on behalf of the applicant the Dean of the College of Public Health to consider an exception to this requirement.
All applicants must submit a copy of their master thesis or a written report demonstrating a comparable level of research experience and expertise that has been prepared in a manner consistent with publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The thesis or research report will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee to evaluate the relevance and quality of the applicant’s research experience. The review will specifically consider: relevance and adequacy of literature review; significance and specificity of a well-defined hypothesis or research question; appropriate and effective application of experimental methods; selection and description of appropriate intervention and assessment methods; description and application of an appropriate data analysis plan; presentation and interpretation of results; discussion and integration of results within the public health literature.
Graduate Record Examination
Competitive applicants will have Graduate Record Examination scores (quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, analytic writing) at or above the 50th percentile. The GRE must have been taken within five years immediately preceding the requested semester of admission. Programs may petition the Dean of the College of Public Health, on behalf of the applicant, to consider an exception to this requirement.
The Ph.D. Program will require a minimum of sixty-six (66) semester credit hours and can be completed within a three-year period of full-time study. Completion of all PhD in Health Promotion and Prevention Research requirements ensures that graduates have attained the PhD in Health Promotion and Prevention Research:
Core Content Areas
Students enrolled in the PhD program must complete: 6 semester hours of core required coursework in Behavioral Science; 6 semester hours of core required coursework in Community Science; 6 semester hours of core required coursework in Quantitative Methods; and 6 semester hours of core required coursework in Qualitative Methods. In order to develop research skills required to function as an independent investigator, students must complete 30 semester hours of Applied Research Methods that include professional and scientific presentations examining issues addressed by core public health disciplines (3 hrs), grantwriting (3 hrs), mentored research (6 hrs), and dissertation research (18 hrs).
Area of Specialization
During the first year of graduate study a Doctoral Advisory Committee will be appointed to assist the student in developing a degree plan that will best serve his or her professional and academic goals. In consultation with the Doctoral Advisory Committee, the student will identify didactic electives, mentored research experiences, and dissertation research comprising one of two areas of specialization: Behavioral Science or Community Science. In addition to coursework required of all students in each of the core content areas, the degree plan will specify 3 semester hours of didactic electives required in each of 3 core content areas (Behavioral Science, Community Science, Quantitative Methods) and an additional 3 semester hours of didactic electives that may be selected from any of the core content areas.
The 12 hours of didactic electives and 6 hours of mentored research experience identified in the degree plan will establish a conceptual and practical foundation for the development of dissertation research. These 18 elective semester hours in conjunction with 18 or more semester hours of dissertation research comprise for each student a uniquely defined area of specialization in either Behavioral Science or Community Science. In addition to consulting with the student in the development of a degree plan, the Doctoral Advisory Committee also will approve the initial dissertation proposal as well as the final written dissertation and oral defense. The dissertation must address a scientific question relevant to the application of behavioral and public health sciences either through secondary analysis of an existing data set or by collecting and analyzing new data. Successful defense of the dissertation will demonstrate competence in the selected area of specialization. Students who complete all coursework and successfully propose and defend a dissertation are awarded a PhD in Health Promotion and Prevention Research.
Doctoral Advisory Committee
A Doctoral Advisory Committee must be appointed within the first year of graduate study. This committee will assist the student in selecting a course of study that will best serve his or her professional and academic goals. Approval of the initial dissertation proposal and of the final written dissertation and oral defense will be determined by this committee. At the time the committee is appointed, notification of the committee membership must be forwarded to the Health Behavior and Health Education Department Office. The committee will include no fewer than five (5) UAMS Graduate Faculty members, one of whom will be designated as chair.. Three members of the committee must hold primary faculty appointments in the COPH. One person who is not a UAMS faculty member may serve as a required committee member but not as chair.
Doctor of Philosophy Candidacy Exam
Candidates for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must pass a candidacy examination administered after approximately one year of study in the doctoral program. Results of the examination will be submitted to the HBHE Student Coordinator immediately following the examination. After the student has passed the Doctor of Philosophy Candidacy Examination, the student must register for at least one (1) semester credit hour of dissertation for each semester and one (1) semester credit hour of dissertation for each summer session until the degree is awarded. Registration for a minimum of eighteen (18) semester credit hours of dissertation is required of doctoral degree candidates.
The dissertation must address a scientific question relevant to the application of behavioral and public health sciences either through secondary analysis of an existing data set or by collecting and analyzing new data. Students who complete all coursework and successfully propose and defend a dissertation are awarded a Ph.D. in Health Promotion and Prevention Research. A public defense is required along with approval by 80% of the Doctoral Advisory Committee for acceptance of the dissertation.
Time Frame for Completion of Degree
After passing the candidacy examination the degree must be completed within seven consecutive calendar years.
Grade-Point Average to Receive a Degree
In order to receive a degree, a candidate must present a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on all graduate courses required for the degree. Failing to earn such an average on the minimum number of hours, the student is permitted to present up to six (6) additional hours of graduate semester credit in order to accumulate a grade-point average of 3.0; but in no case shall a student receive a degree who is obliged to offer more than six (6) additional hours of semester credit beyond the minimum. In the computation of grade point, all courses pursued at this institution for graduate semester credit that are part of the degree program (including any repeated courses) and the thesis (if offered) shall be considered. A student who repeats a course in an endeavor to raise his grade must count the repetition toward the maximum of six additional hours.
For More Information
Paul Greene, PhD
Department of Health Behavior and Health Education
4301 West Markham, Mail Slot #820
Little Rock, AR 72205