Population Health, PhD

Helen H. Suh, ScD 

Director of the Population Health Program

This program seeks to train students to become public health leaders through simultaneous examination of multiple determinations of health, including social, environmental, nutritional, and behavioral risk factors. Our students investigate the underlying causes of adverse health, including disease, disparities, and disability, through training in core population health disciplines—biostatistics, epidemiology, and health services—together with individual-specific and specialized training in topics related to student research. Importantly, our students are mentored by Northeastern’s distinguished faculty, who individually and together conduct innovative, solution-focused research in critical population health topics.

Our population health doctoral students have an opportunity to learn to conduct research that addresses five key health determinants:

1.      Social and community context

2.      Environment and neighborhoods

3.      Health and healthcare delivery

4.      Education

5.      Economic stability

Our diverse faculty has expertise in numerous population health disciplines, including health services research, health disparities, environmental and social epidemiology, biostatistics, exercise science, medical sociology, public policy, personal health technologies, and mental health. Students have the opportunity to work side by side with faculty in conducting cutting-edge, transdisciplinary research in these fields.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.


Qualifying examination
Annual review
Dissertation committee
Dissertation proposal
Dissertation defense


Health Services
PHTH 5232Evaluating Healthcare Quality3
or PHTH 5234 Economic Perspectives on Health Policy
Population Health
PHTH 6400Principles of Population Health 13
PHTH 6410Principles of Population Health 23
PHTH 5202Epidemiology3,4
PHTH 6202Intermediate Epidemiology3
Research Ethics
BIOL 6381Ethics in Biological Research2
or PHSC 6212 Research Skills and Ethics
Research and Analysis
PHTH 5210Biostatistics in Public Health3
PHTH 6210Applied Regression Analysis3


Complete one of the following options:

Social and Environmental Determinants of Health Option

PHTH 5224Social Epidemiology3
PHTH 6440Advanced Methods in Biostatistics3
Complete 5 semester hours from the elective list below.5

Health Services and Policy Option 

ECON 5110Microeconomic Theory4
PHTH 5234Economic Perspectives on Health Policy3
Complete 4 semester hours from the elective list below.4


CIVE 7388Special Topics in Civil Engineering2,4
ECON 5110Microeconomic Theory4
ECON 5140Applied Econometrics4
ECON 7200Topics in Applied Economics4
EXSC 5200Cardiopulmonary Physiology3
EXSC 5220Advanced Exercise Physiology3
EXSC 5230Physical Activity and Exercise: Effects on Musculoskeletal Health and Disease3
HINF 5200Theoretical Foundations in Personal Health Informatics4
HRMG 6220Health Organization Management3
PHSC 6216Human Physiology and Pathophysiology2
PHTH 5212Public Health Administration and Policy3
PHTH 5214Environmental Health3
PHTH 5226Strategic Management and Leadership in Healthcare3
PHTH 5228Advances in Measuring Behavior3
PHTH 5230Global Health3
PHTH 5440Community-Based Participatory Research: Environmental Health3
PHTH 5540Health Education and Program Planning3,4
PHTH 6200Principles and History of Urban Health3
PHTH 6204Society, Behavior, and Health3
PHTH 6208Urban Community Health Assessment3
PHTH 6232Neighborhood and Public Health3
PHTH 6320Qualitative Methods in Health and Illness3
SOCL 7257Contemporary Issues in Sociology3
SOCL 7287Social Movements in Health3
STRT 6220Strategic Management for Healthcare Organizations3

Dissertation Courses

Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:

PHTH 9990Dissertation0

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

33 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required