The Sociomedical Sciences PhD program is interdisciplinary, with study divided between the Mailman School of Public Health and one of several departments in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Anthropology, History, Psychology, or Sociology ). The PhD is designed for individuals who wish to combine training in history or in a social or behavioral science discipline with research on questions significant to public health and medicine. We train students to advance knowledge in their discipline of choice while also answering questions central to public health.
This includes applying social science theory and methods to the study of social factors related to health status and healthcare needs, exploring the social structure of healthcare delivery systems, and analyzing the relation between these systems and the populations they are designed to serve.
Fellowships are awarded to incoming students in recognition of academic achievement and in expectation of scholarly success. Research experience is considered an important aspect of the training of graduate students, and most graduate fellowships and graduate research assistantships involve some form of research apprenticeship. (See Approved Dissertation Sponsors below.)
When applying to the School, applicants to the PhD program complete a Statement of Academic Purpose. In that area, applicants are encouraged to clearly indicate the discipline in which they intend to concentrate (anthropology, history, psychology or sociology), to articulate the questions they hope explore at the intersection of that discipline and public health, and to discuss how that area of prospective scholarship will advance knowledge in that discipline or answer vital questions in public health. Applicants should also note the faculty members with whom they would be interested in working.
Applicants to the PhD program should note that as of Fall 2011, all Mailman applications at the Master’s and Doctoral level were moved to the Schools of Public Health (SOPHAS) common application, which contains a number of questions on public health work experience and public health leadership aspirations. PhD applicants should answer those questions but should also know that these questions are not weighted heavily in the admissions process. For the PhD program we seek students with a demonstrated capacity for academic excellence and the ability to ask innovative and important questions at the juncture of their discipline of choice and public health.
In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one official transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a Statement of Academic Purpose*, a writing sample (a course paper, term paper, etc.) and three letters of evaluation from academic sources. All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.
(Applicants note: The Department is not admitting students into the political science concentration for the 2013-2014 academic year.)
Deadline for Fall Admission
Deadline for Spring Admission
No spring admission
Yes (no more than 10-15 pages)
*Applicants applying for the Predoctoral Fellowship in Gender, Sexuality and Health must note their interest in gender and sexuality and briefly outline a prospective area of research for their doctoral dissertation in their Statement of Academic Purpose.
Our DrPH graduates find faculty positions in leading research and teaching institutions, both in the United States and around the globe; assume senior positions in research and policy, and program development at public health agencies; and apply their research and critical thinking skills working with community-based organizations or in the private sector.
Job titles of selected graduates:
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Pomona College, California
Associate Professor, Dept. of Sociology and Dept. of Anthropology, Purdue
Assistant Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, UMASS Amherst
Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health, George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services
Deputy Director of Research, Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging & Longevity, Hunter College, City University of New York
Research Scientist, The Fenway Institute
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Winston-Salem State University
Assistant Professor, Family Science Department, School of Public Health, University of Maryland
Associate Professor, Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, University of Texas School of Public Health
Associate Professor, Drexel University, School of Public Health
Assistant Professor of Global Health Policy, UNC Chapel Hill
Assistant Professor of Gerontology, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Senior Director, Health Equity Research and Policy, American Association of Medical Colleges
Approved Disseration Sponsors
View competencies, course requirements, sample schedules and more in our Academics section.