PhD in Public Health

Panoramic photo of the Oval and Main hall

Mission Statement

The mission of the UM doctoral program in Public Health is to prepare the next generation of public health research team scientists who will collaborate across disciplines to produce new knowledge that contributes to solving complex health problems of local, regional, and global significance. To apply, students must have a Master of Public Health (or equivalent) degree. The PhD in Public Health at UM is a research-oriented doctoral degree, appropriate for training aspiring public health professionals, tenure-track faculty, and researchers.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the application deadline?

PhD students can start the program during the fall or spring semesters.

For the Fall Semester, the application deadline is January 15.

For the Spring Semester, the application deadline is September 1.

Late applications may be submitted after the deadlines.  However, they may not be considered if available positions have been filled.

Since your Master of Public Health program is online, is your PhD program online too?

No, the PhD program is an on-campus program.  The expectation is for students to be in Missoula working with their Research Advisors throughout the duration of their doctoral program.

Is the GRE required for admission to the program?


What sources of funding are available to support PhD students in Public Health?

Although funding for doctoral students is not guaranteed, there are opportunities for student support through grant-funded projects, program stipends, and teaching stipends. Students are encouraged to apply for scholarships and fellowships to support their work.

I am an out-of-state applicant.  How soon after I enter the State of Montana can I be get "in-state" status for tuition and fees?

These rules and designations change over time and are applied system-wide.  Students are encouraged to contact the Graduate School for assistance and additional information.

What are the program pre-requisites?

Applicants must have earned (or on track to earn) a Master of Public Health or equivalent degree by the date of matriculation to be considered for entry into the program. 

How many credits does it take to complete the program?

The entire program is 60 credits. 

Can I transfer graduate credits from either UM or another institution to my PhD degree in Public Health at UM?

Students can transfer up to 15 credits into the program per approval.

PhD Program Milestones

Students are expected to maintain “reasonable progress towards the degree” which includes not only the completion of coursework in a timely fashion with a 3.0 GPA or above, but also a series of procedures by certain deadlines eventually leading up to graduation.  Below is a summary of those milestones.  Regular annual progress towards the degree are assessed by the student’s Research Advisor, the student’s Advisory Committee, and the Ph.D. Program Coordinator.

Suggested Timeline Towards Graduation

Event Guideline/Deadline
Selection of Research Advisor End of 2nd semester
Appointment of Advisory Committee Prior to 3rd semester
Plan of Study Prior to 3rd semester
Research Proposal Middle of 5th semester
Comprehensive Exam End of 6th semester
Application for Graduation 1 semester prior to graduation
Dissertation Draft to Committee 2 weeks prior to defense
Public Notice of Defense 1 week prior to defense
Defense / Final Dissertation to Graduate School To meet Graduate School Deadline
Final Dissertation to Graduate Program Coordinator Following successful dissertation defense