The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree programme is the highest professional degree for individuals focusing on Public Health practice. It is intended for leaders and future leaders in public health who want a flexible career which combines high-level leadership, management and research. Their career pursuits may include applied research, teaching and/or practice in the field of health services and public health administration.
Public health practice is the strategic, organised and interdisciplinary application of knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to perform essential public health services and other activities to improve the population’s health (Association of Schools of Public Health, US).
The goal of the DrPH programmes is to provide a broad knowledge of public health combined with a specific knowledge in the student’s area of interest. It is oriented towards applied research in the organisation, direction and evaluation of public health programme rather than towards academic research and teaching (the province of PhD).
The DrPH program prepares students to become leaders in public health and health services policy and practice based on their ability to synthesise and translate the science base to public health practice.
This enables students to develop the knowledge, skills and practical experience necessary to advance research and shape public health policy as leaders in the academic institution, government organisation, non-governmental organisation or private industry. Students develop the values and attitudes that reflect a commitment to community advocacy, leadership, services and scholarship.
The DrPH is a highly structured program with an emphasis on coursework in all five core public health areas and assurance of the candidate’s mastery of knowledge and skills, and completion of a research thesis.
The entry criteria for the DrPH are the same as for the PhD, except that relevant experience in public health management and/or leadership is required. The standard, rigour and volume of the work are doctoral level, but appropriate to the career development of senior public health professional.
The following are the stated objectives of the 3-Year Doctor of Public Health Program which seeks to produce a Public Health Specialist who will be:-
- technically competent in the broad field of Public Health with an understanding of the relationship between public health, socio-cultural and other factors that affect the health of the community, (and thus be able to function as a generalist public health doctor),
- equipped with adequate specialised knowledge and skills in a particular discipline of Public Health of his/her choice (thus be able to function as a specialist in that discipline),
- able to develop a vision and philosophy in public health and be able to provide professional leadership and managerial expertise together with managerial skills required by the employing agency,
- able to analyse issue and problems in public health using critical evaluation, applied research, qualitative and quantitative skills to produce evidence-based reports and be able to take appropriate action to resolve any public health problem identified,
- able to analyse decision-making processes in organisations, formulation of public health policies and practices by the study of programme implementation in institutions and the community, and
- an advocate for Public Health at various levels (national and international) and be able to work effectively with other relevant agencies (private, public and voluntary) for the promotion of health and better standards of living
Programme of study
The programme of study shall be named the Degree of Doctor of Public Health which is a programme of study comprising two parts (Part 1 and Part 2). Part 1 consists of courses including an internship course and Part 2 consists of research that leads to a thesis. Except where prior written approval has been obtained from the Dean of the Faculty, a candidate must successfully complete Part 1 before embarking on Part 2.
Students must complete a minimum of 3 years to complete the programme. The component of the program are as follows:
Part 1 is for advanced studies in the speciality chosen. It includes coursework, tutorials, assignments, field visits, practical training in the chosen speciality (internship/attachment) and the preparation of a research proposal for a research project in an approved subject of the chosen speciality. Satisfactory performance in the coursework, attachment and submission of the research proposal; as well as pass in both the written and oral Part I examination leads to 2 years of research work and thesis preparation.
The candidate will undertake the research project on-site or based in the department. The conduct and progress of the research will be monitored by both the field and academic supervisors. This is by on-site visits or presentation at the department. Upon satisfactory completion of the research project and thesis, the candidate will sit for the Part II examination. This will include defence of the thesis. Upon satisfactory performance in the examination, the candidate will be awarded the Doctor of Public Health degree.
Overview of the Courses
Entry Requirement (2009)
- MPH from University of Malaya or equivalent qualification approved by the Senate; AND
- Must have a good pass in any of the Master’s Degree; AND
- Have adequate working experience in public health-related field;
- Minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based), or 213 (computer based), or 80 (internet based) or
IELTS band 6.
Places for the DrPH programme is limited to a total of 15 candidates only per year.
International candidates have the option of undertaking research in their countries. They will have to comply with regulations specific for this purpose.
How to apply?
Those who are interested to apply for the course can browse for information for the application for postgraduate studies on the Institute of Postgraduate Studies website.