PhD

We offer two PhD degree programs:

The PhD degree programs offer training for careers in which advanced expertise in research and the discipline are required. Students’ doctoral dissertation and peer-reviewed manuscripts are key components in the development of critical thinking, research and scientific communication 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 but is not to be fewer than 54 units plus research units at Loma Linda University. Students whose academic backgrounds include substantial graduate study in a cognate field may be granted advanced standing.

The overall PhD 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.

Program Learning outcomes

Please see the individual program descriptions for the specific program learning outcomes.

Comprehensive and qualifying examinations

Students are required to demonstrate ability and readiness to proceed with doctoral study and research by successfully passing the comprehensive examination. The examination includes writing a grant proposal on a specific topic, conducting independent statistical analyses on a provided dataset, oral examination, and oral presentation of the grant proposal. Organization of the material, professional presentation, and reference to authorities in the field and the literature are expected.

Advancement to candidacy

Advancement to candidacy is granted by the Academic Dean. When the required discipline specific and research methods courses are completed, the student must successfully pass a written comprehensive examination. The next step is the qualifying examination. The student is required to submit a concept paper describing the proposed Dissertation Research, and the proposed Dissertation Guidance Committee. Student is advanced to candidacy when they successfully defend (oral examination) their Dissertation Proposal that includes the background and introduction, rationale and significance of the proposed research, the research methods and data collection and analyses to conduct the study, results and discussion (as peer-reviewed journal articles) and summary and conclusion. The details of this process is described in the SPH Doctoral Handbook.

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 (research) at a scientific conference either as a poster or as short oral presentation.