Population Health Sciences Program

Population Health Sciences Program

Reductions in morbidity and mortality during the 20th century resulted in large part from effective health promotion and disease prevention programs. In the 21st century, these activities will continue to be central to improving population health and reducing health disparities. The Population Health Sciences (PHS) Graduate Program prepares students to conduct, communicate, and apply research aimed at the protection, promotion, and restoration of health in human populations.

Curricula within the program share a population health perspective that explores the interplay of individual biological and behavioral factors with aspects of the physical, social, and policy environments. Research focuses on health risks, determinants, outcomes, and interventions in clinical and community settings and in unique occupational or patient groups.

Training emphasizes the development and mastery of high-level quantitative skills in data collection and analysis.

Degree Offered

PMCH currently offers a PhD in Population Health Sciences. This degree is fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).

Logo for CEPH Accredited Programs


Applications for the PhD in Population Health Sciences program should be submitted through SOPHAS. The application for Fall 2021 opens in mid-August and the Admissions Committee will begin reviewing applications on November 1, 2020. 

For more information on the application requirements, please visit our Prospective Students webpage.



The curriculum plan for the PhD in Population Health Sciences includes a total of 61+ credit hours and contains core program requirements as well as curriculum-specific courses. Research projects and elective courses can be tailored to meet an individual student’s interests and career goals.

The student’s mentor and advisory committee guide the student in developing a course plan that includes all curriculum specific requirements.  Students select elective courses from among the diverse offerings of this and other GSBS Programs.

The typical PhD curriculum plan includes two years of course work. The student takes the qualifying examination in the third year to demonstrate proficiency in the required knowledge and skills and to show readiness to conduct independent research.  Submission of an approved dissertation proposal advances the student to candidacy for the degree. Completion, presentation, and defense of the dissertation project are the final requirements.

Population Health Sciences Curriculum

  • Biostatistics (PHS 6343; 3 cr.)
  • Introduction to Epidemiology (PHS 6330; 3 cr.)
  • Principles of Public Health (PHS 6289; 2 cr.)
8 total credits
  • Introduction to Linear Models (PHS 6344; 3 cr.)
  • Epidemiological Methods (PHS 6333; 3 cr.)
  • Applied Survey Methods (PHS 6374; 3 cr.)
  • Categorical Data Analysis (PHS 6341; 3 cr.)
  • One of the following:
    • Survival Data Analysis (PHS 6321; 3 cr.)
    • Correlated Data Analysis (PHS 6313; 3 cr.)
15 total credits
  • Applications of Population Health Research (PHS 61xx; 1 cr.)
  • Health Services Research Methods (PHS 62xx; 2 cr.)
  • Health Services Research Analysis (PHS 62xx; 2 cr.)
  • Translation, Implementation, and Evaluation Research (PHS 63xx; 3 cr.)
  • Proposal Writing (PHS 63xx; 3 cr.)
  • Social Epidemiology (PHS 6379; 3 cr.)
  • Health Care Economics (PHS 6339; 3 cr.)
  • One of the following:
    • Aging & Health (PHS 6366; 3 cr.)
    • Minorities, Aging, & Health (PHS 6312; 3 cr.)
20 total credits
  • Ethics of Scientific Research (MEHU 6101; 1 cr.)
  • Ethics in Public Health (PHS 6137; 1 cr.)
  • Research/Research Rotation (PHS 6011/6097; 9+ cr.)
  • Dissertation (PHS 6099; 9+ cr.) - Students start their dissertation after passing written and oral qualifying exams.  

Our Faculty

The PHS Graduate Program includes faculty from several clinical and basic science departments providing students access to facilities across the campus. You can find out more information about our faculty here

Alumni Spotlight


Rob Buschmann, a 2018 graduate of the PhD in Population Health Sciences program, describes his time at UTMB and how it prepared him for his current job. Click here to read more...


Facilities associated with the individual curricular tracks can be made available to all PHS students with related research interests. PHS faculty members have access to and experience with a wide range of population health data sets including:

  • the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES)
  • the Hispanic Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly (H-EPESE)
  • cancer data from the SEER Program
  • the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS)
  • Medicare data
  • the Health and Retirement Study (HRS)
  • mortality data for the Department of Energy nuclear workers
  • health insurance claims data on approximately 36 million United Health enrollees
  • trauma-related data
  • data from EPIC medical records


Preventive Medicine Graduate Programs
University of Texas Medical Branch
301 University Boulevard
Galveston, Texas 77555-1110

Phone: (409) 772-6635


small_peek M. Kristen Peek, PhD
Director, Public Health Graduate Program
Amber_Anthony_smAmber Anthony
Program Manager
(409) 772-6635
Email: alanthon@utmb.edu