Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH)

A Professional Research Degree Marrying Research, Practice and Policy in Public Health.

The Doctorate in Public Health is a cross-university initiative employing multidisciplinary approaches in research and training to identify and address local, national and global Public Health challenges. The overall goal of the initiative is to develop the evidence and workforce for the promotion of health and well being in populations, informed by and integrating the disparate influences of society, culture, and the environment.

The Doctorate in Public Health at Brunel is unique for two reasons - it is cross-disciplinary, with staff from Social Sciences disciplines, as well as Health Sciences, involved in the teaching and research, and provides students with the opportunity to receive a practical as well as theoretical education in public health, preparing graduates for leadership in the world of public health.

What is the Doctorate in Public Health? (DrPH)

A three-year research degree (or five years part-time) aimed at creating an integrated, flexible public health professional with a great breadth of knowledge across the disciplines of public health, including public health research)

Introduction to the programme

The DrPH scheme is a three-year/five-year programme combining public health focused research with research experience, along with personal and professional development. The DrPH programme provides advanced training in research, analysis and management of population health with the aim of developing future leaders in public health practice/policy/research or teaching.

Programme Objectives

This programme provides advanced training in the understanding, researching and analysis of population health. The overall aim is to produce doctoral level public health researchers who possess the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to undertake public health roles. It is anticipated that graduates would take up public health positions with EU/UK and Overseas governments equipped for international civil service, and national and international NGOs as well as academic public health.

The programme seeks to do this by adopting a broad definition of public health with a social sciences focus requiring the study of:

  • Relevant theories and methods across a range of disciplines associated with public health,
  • Receive exposure to research/work across diverse areas of public health, and
  • Undertake doctoral level research, which is relevant, multidisciplinary, distinct and original.

The principles of epidemiology, biostatistics, sociology, health economics, health policy, environmental health, (as applied to public health) form the core of the course.

Programme Structure

The programme will cover three years of full-time study or five years of mixed full-time and part-time study. The programme contains 120 taught credits focusing on the essential public health disciplines.

Year 1:

This programme involves two terms of taught modules focusing on core public health competencies and the development and understanding of public health knowledge. The taught modules are at D-Level, and students will be required to achieve a mark of no less than 60% in any taught unit in order to proceed with the rest of the programme.

Students who fail to achieve the requisite 60% average mark in Year 1, but obtain a mark of at least 50% in all the taught units may be awarded a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree (subject to the completion of a research project). Similarly, students who could proceed with their DrPH training but choose to withdraw may be awarded an MPH.

Years 2 and 3:

Students will undertake two or three professionally oriented placement-based research projects over Years 2 and 3 which provide exposure to the professional areas of:

  • Public Health Research;
  • Public Health Policy; and
  • Public Health Practice

Within each setting the focus is on the development and conduct of relevant and original research with each of the projects producing a publishable research report and culminating in a coherent portfolio of work.

The 'public health research' placements will be undertaken within institutions involved in public health related research activities.

Students will be supported to identify potential placements and research that could support their interests and provide high quality exposure appropriate to the aims of the DrPH. Research will be supervised by public health academics at Brunel but will be supported by specific sponsors within each organisation.

Research Areas

Public health, almost by definition, is multidisciplinary. Practitioners in public health who work within departments of health at various levels of government, those who work with international development and global health agencies, community organisations, non-government organisations and with UN and other multi-lateral agencies come to it from disciplines as disparate as nursing, medicine and allied health through to philosophy, computer science and education.

Research interests include:

  • International Health
  • Health and Development
  • Tropical Health
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Medical Sociology
  • Health Economics
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Services Research
  • Epidemiology
  • Health Geography
  • Health and Social Policy
  • Environmental Health
  • Health Psychology
  • Rehabilitation and Disability
  • Health Risk and Security
  • Social Gerontology

Entrance Criteria for DrPH Candidate

International students must have:

  • English Language Proficiency: IELTS 7

Will normally require:

  • Bachelors degree with first or 2.1 honours or Masters degree in a relevant discipline, OR
  • be able to demonstrate equivalence of the above;

Will usually have:

  • At least three years of relevant health or social science related work experience.

Exceptionally, applicants who have obtained a lower qualification than those listed above but whose experience and training can be regarded as suitable preparation may be allowed into the programme.

Useful documents and information

Fees for 2015/16
  • Home: PGR fee full-time
  • Overseas: £16,500 full-time, £TBC part-time

How to Apply

Contact Details/Further Information

Research Administrator
College of Health and Life Sciences
Brunel University London


Page last updated: Monday 10 November 2014