FAQ for Doctoral Degrees

How does the PhD Program Differ From the DrPH?

It boils down to focus, coursework and length of training, and careers. Read more

What is the typical funding package offered by the department? 

For the autumn of 2016 and subsequent years, the Department of Sociomedical Sciences will offer five years of funding to accepted students. The funding package will include tuition, fees, and funds for living expenses through either a stipend or a GRA-ship. These five-year packages will in some cases combine funding from existing NIH training programs or endowed scholarships with additional funds provided by the department and/or school. The amounts provided for living expenses and the work requirements vary across these programs. The specifics of each package will be detailed in the funding offer letter, which will be sent to each admitted student soon after the letter of acceptance.

Prospective students are encouraged to apply for external funding at the same time as they are applying to the program. Matriculated students who are funded by the Department or by one of our NIH training programs will be encouraged, as is the case with our current students, to make efforts to secure independent funding. SMS doctoral students have an outstanding record of success with NSF Graduate Research Fellowships and with NIH F31 awards, and the department provides additional support. 

Is having a Master's Degree a requirement for applying to the doctoral program? 

An MPH or equivalent professional degree is required for students applying to the DrPH program.

A master’s degree is not required for application to the PhD program. Admission is extremely competitive, and many of the small number of students admitted each year have some form of post-baccalaureate coursework. However, a number of outstanding doctoral students entered the program with a BA. Browse current student bios more info on typical applicant experience.

Can students in one concentration or program have a primary mentor who is in a different concentration or program? 

Yes. There are instances in which students concentrating in one discipline benefit from having a dissertation sponsor in another. Most students have faculty from another discipline or program as one of the five members of their dissertation committee. However, applicants should review the research interests of the faculty in Sociomedical Sciences, both in general and within the specific concentration or program to which they are applying, to ensure faculty are working in areas of interest.

If the PhD is granted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, why do students not apply through GSAS? 

As of Fall 2011, all Mailman School applications at the master’s and doctoral level were moved to the Schools of Public Health (SOPHAS) common application. The PhD degree continues to be granted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

The SOPHAS application contains a number of questions on public health work experience and public health leadership aspirations. PhD applicants must answer those questions but should know that they 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.

Where can I learn more about faculty and courses available in the GSAS departments in which PhD students take courses? 

Prospective students should look at the Arts and Sciences’ department pages for more information on faculty and courses: Anthropology, History, Political Sciences, Psychology, and Sociology. After the first year, students may also take courses at NYU, the CUNY graduate center, Princeton, and other institutions that participate in the consortium. 

Where can I find bios and contact information for current students in the department? 

Most of our current students have online bios.  

Who should I contact if I want to know more about the doctoral programs offered by Sociomedical Sciences? 

Please see the Contact Us page for complete information on whom to contact for general questions and for each concentration or program.