Population Health, PhD

This program seeks to train students to become public health researchers and 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 contexts

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.

Please visit Bouvé College Learning Outcomes for the specific student learning outcomes for this program.

Complete all courses and requirements listed below unless otherwise indicated.


Qualifying examination
Annual review
Dissertation committee
Dissertation proposal
Dissertation defense

Core Requirements

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 5202Introduction to Epidemiology3
PHTH 6202Intermediate Epidemiology3
Research Ethics
BIOL 6381Ethics in Biological Research2
or PHSC 5212 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 6224Social Epidemiology3
PHTH 6440Advanced Methods in Biostatistics3
PHTH 6800Causal Inference in Public Health Research3

Health Services and Policy Option 

ECON 5110Microeconomic Theory4
PHTH 5234Economic Perspectives on Health Policy3


Data Mining Techniques
Special Topics in Database Management
Microeconomic Theory
Applied Econometrics
Topics in Applied Economics
Cardiopulmonary Physiology
Advanced Exercise Physiology
Physical Activity and Exercise: Effects on Musculoskeletal Health and Disease
Theoretical Foundations in Personal Health Informatics
Health Organization Management
Human Physiology and Pathophysiology
Public Health Administration and Policy
Environmental Health
Strategic Management and Leadership in Healthcare
Global Health
Community-Based Participatory Research: Environmental Health
Health Education and Program Planning
Principles and History of Urban Health
Society, Behavior, and Health
Urban Community Health Assessment
Qualitative Methods in Health and Illness
U.S. Healthcare Reform: Past, Present, and Future
Contemporary Issues in Sociology
Social Movements in Health
Strategic Management for Healthcare Organizations


Complete the following (repeatable) course twice:

Program Credit/GPA Requirements

33 total semester hours required
Minimum 3.000 GPA required