Learn from Practice & Experience

The DrPH degree programs offers training for careers in which advanced expertise in program planning, implementation, evaluation and policy analysis are required. Students’ doctoral project (Integrated learning experience) and applied practice experience are key components in the development of critical thinking and leadership skills.

A minimum of two years is generally required to complete course work, if full time. Program plans are described under individual majors. The number of units of course work required to complete the program may be reduced accordingly but is not to be fewer than 54 units plus applied practice experience and integrated learning experience units at Loma Linda University.

The overall DrPH curriculum is designed using a faith-based lens to accurately reflect the mission and vision of Loma Linda University and the School of Public Health.  Additionally, nine units of courses offered by the LLU School of Religion are included in the curriculum to allow the students to enhance personal spiritual development as well as application of faith-based values to professional practice.

We offer three DrPH degree programs:

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Loma Linda University Doctoral Alumni Video

A few doctoral alumni talk about their experience at LLUSPH.

The admissions requirements for the doctoral degree programs described below are in addition to the University admissions requirements. The minimum eligibility requirements for admission to a doctoral degree program include the following:

  • an MPH degree or master’s degree in a related field from a regionally accredited institution, with a G.P.A. of 3.5 or above. Applicants with a master’s degree in another field may indicate their relevant training, research experience, or educational background comparable to the MPH. DrPH applicants who are admitted without an MPH may be required to take additional course work at the graduate level to satisfy MPH core competencies. 
  • Religious affiliation is not a requirement; but students are expected to adhere to on-campus requirements of modest dress, abstinence from alcohol and smoking, and attendance at weekly chapel, as applicable.

DrPH Foundational Competencies

Critical Analysis

The common core curriculum is based on the doctoral foundational competencies from 2016 CEPH criteria. These include:

Critical Analyses: Able to synthesize and apply evidence based research and theory from a broad range of public health disciplines and health related data sources to advance programs, policies, and systems promoting population health.


  1. Analyze quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods and policy analysis research and evaluation methods to address health issues at multiple levels (individual, group, organization, community and population).
  2. Design a quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, policy analysis or evaluation project to address a public health issue.
  3. Explain the use and limitations of surveillance systems and national surveys in assessing, monitoring and evaluating policies and programs and to address a population’s health.

Leadership, Management and Governance

Leadership, Management and Governance:  Ability to create, communicate and apply shared vision, inspire trust and motivate others, build capacity and strategies, and identify and analyze ethical issues in addressing public health problems.   


  1. Propose strategies for health improvement and elimination of health inequities by organizing stakeholders, including researchers, practitioners, community leaders and other partners.
  2. Propose strategies to promote inclusion and equity within public health programs, policies and systems.
  3. Create a strategic plan
  4. Create organizational change strategies
  5. Propose human, fiscal and other resources to achieve a strategic goal.
  6. Cultivate new resources and revenue streams to achieve a strategic goal.
  7. Assess one’s own strengths and weaknesses in leadership capacities including cultural proficiency.   
  8. Facilitate shared decision making through negotiation and consensus building methods.
  9. Integrate knowledge, approaches, methods, values and potential contributions from multiple professions and systems in addressing public health problems.
  10. Communicate public health science recognizing different communication styles and tools to diverse stakeholders including individuals at all levels of health literacy, for purposes of influencing behavior and policies.

Policy, Advocacy and Programs

Policy, Advocacy and Programs: Ability to design system-level interventions that influences population health outcomes in transdisciplinary team approaches that promote health equity and disease prevention across diverse communities and cultures.


  1. Design a system-level intervention to address a public health issue.
  2. Integrate knowledge of cultural values and practices in the design of public health policies and programs.
  3. Integrate scientific information, legal and regulatory approaches, ethical frameworks and varied stakeholder interests in policy development and analysis.
  4. Propose inter professional team approaches to improving public health.

Education and Workforce development

Education and Workforce development: Ability to develop and apply pedagogical principles and skills to identify learning needs of a population and promote learning in academia, organizational and community settings.


  1. Assess a population’s knowledge and learning needs.
  2. Use best practice modalities in pedagogical practices.
  3. Deliver training or educational experiences that promote learning in academic, organizational or community settings.

Degree Requirements

Applied Practice Experience and Integrated Learning Experience

All DrPH students will engage in an applied practice experience that results in a product that is relevant to public health organizations. The culminating activity is an integrated learning experience that includes a field-based project emphasizing advanced practice and demonstrates integration of foundational and concentration specific competencies.


Students must have an MPH from an accredited institution or complete 15 units from the public health core (PCOR) prior to taking doctoral level public health core courses.​

Advancement to candidacy

Advancement to candidacy is granted by the Academic Dean. When the doctoral foundational course work is completed, the student must successfully pass a written comprehensive examination. In addition, comprehensive examination on concentration specific courses may occur at the program level. The next step is the qualifying examination. The student is required to submit a concept paper describing the proposed Doctoral Project, and proposed Doctoral Project Guidance Committee. Student is advanced to candidacy when they successfully defend (oral examination) their Doctoral Project Proposal that includes the rationale and significance of the proposed project to the field, approach and tools, and the outcomes (deliverables).​

Teaching Experience

All doctoral students are required to serve as a teaching assistant for a minimum of one quarter. Additional information is detailed in the school's Doctoral Handbook.​​

Professional Development

All doctoral students are required to present their work (applied practice experience or integrated learning experience) at a scientific or professional conference either as a poster or as short oral presentation.​