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PhD Degree Programs

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is an advanced research degree emphasizing depth of knowledge and original research skills. The PhD prepares students for a career in which research predominates, often in academia or in an industry or government research position.

The PhD involves specialized coursework and a major original research effort – the dissertation. The PhD is offered by each of the School’s five departments: Biostatistics, Community Health Sciences, Epidemiology, Environmental Health Sciences or Health Policy and Management.

Below, you can learn more about the PhD degree programs offered by each department.

Program Program Summary
Biostatistics At-a-Glance

PhD in Biostatistics

The PhD degree program trains statisticians who can apply statistical methods to solve problems in the health field and who can conduct theoretical research in statistical methodology. Training in the program combines mathematical statistics, biostatistical methods and a third-field specialization.

Total Required Units (based on quarter system):

Additional Degree Requirements:

In addition to course requirements:

  • Written comprehensive examinations
  • Doctoral Seminar (weekly, each quarter)
  • Consulting: Biostatistics 409 (doctoral statistical consulting seminar: Field training course)
  • Oral Qualifying Examination
  • Dissertation and Defense 

Typical time to complete degree:
4 years

Program start date:
Fall Academic Quarter

Minimum Admission Requirements (in addition to the University's minimum requirements)*:

  • Mathematics preparation should include at least two years of calculus
  • Biostatistics preparation should include: Biostatistics 202B (Topics in Evaluation), Biostatistics 200A, B, C (Biostatistics), Biostatistics M215 (Survival Analysis)

How to Apply

Application Deadline:
December 1 for the following Fall Quarter

Total mandatory fees, per year**:

New student, Resident $15,929.74
New student, Non-resident: $31,031.74

Please see FSPH Financial Opportunities page for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment and need-based aid. 

Possible Career Paths:

Graduates with a UCLA PhD are exceptionally well prepared for academic careers and for industry and government careers. Graduates from UCLA's Biostatistics programs are recruited by top-notch employers. Our students get jobs at excellent universities, companies, and government agencies. Many graduates stay in the Los Angeles area or elsewhere in California, but our graduates are recruited by employers across the United States and around the world. 

Who to contact for more information:

Roxy Naranjo at rlnaranjo@ph.ucla.edu or 310.267.2186.

* Admission requirements listed are Departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

** Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

| Department website | Full description
Community Health Sciences At-a-Glance

PhD in Community Health Sciences

The PhD is an academic degree that prepares students for a career in which research predominates. The curriculum integrates basic and applied approaches to address public health problems in the community, using the key tools of assessment, planning, and evaluation.

Total Required Units (based on quarter system):

Additional Degree Requirements:

  • Course work in the major and minor fields
  • Written qualifying examinations
  • Proposal for the dissertation
  • Oral qualifying examination on the proposal for the dissertation (advancement to candidacy)
  • Dissertation
  • Oral defense of the dissertation

Typical time to complete degree:
6 years

Program start date:
Fall Academic Quarter

Minimum Admission Requirements (in addition to the University's minimum requirements)*:

  • Masters degree in Public Health or an appropriately related field with a grade point average of at least 3.5 for graduate studies
  • Acceptance by an initial doctoral advisor in the department
  • Although not required for admission, work experience in the field is viewed favorably when competing applications are judged

How to Apply

Application Deadline:
December 1 for the following Fall Quarter

Total mandatory fees, per year**:

New student, Resident $15,929.74
New student, Non-resident: $31,031.74

Please see FSPH Financial Opportunities page for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment and need-based aid. 

Possible Career Paths:

Graduates generally assume teaching, research, and managerial positions in universities, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, international health agencies, and research centers.

Who to contact for more information:

Jennifer O'Brien at jobrien@ph.ucla.edu or 310.825.8314.

* Admission requirements listed are Departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

** Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

| Department website | Full description
Environmental Health Sciences At-a-Glance

PhD in Environmental Health Sciences

The PhD in Environmental Health Sciences is an advanced research degree that emphasizes depth of knowledge and original research skills. Students may choose to concentrate on any field of environmental health sciences. Such areas of academic focus may include: air quality; environmental biology; environmental chemistry; environmental health practice and policy; industrial hygiene; toxicology; or water quality. Interdisciplinary research is encouraged.

Total Required Units (based on quarter system):

Additional Degree Requirements:

  • Course work in the major field 
  • Written qualifying examinations, including proposals related to the dissertation
  • Oral Qualifying Examination on the proposal for the dissertation (advancement to candidacy) 
  • Dissertation
  • Oral defense of the dissertation 

Typical time to complete degree:
4-6 years

Program start date:
Typically Fall Academic Quarter

Minimum Admission Requirements (in addition to the University's minimum requirements)*:

  • Bachelor's (or master's) degree in public health, environmental health, life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, environmental science or a related field.
  • Applicants with non-science majors who meet the following course work requirements will be considered for admission:
    • 1 university-level course or equivalent in Calculus, Linear Algebra, or Statistics
    • 1 university-level course in Chemistry or equivalent
    • 1 university-level course in Biology or equivalent

Students who do not have the prerequisites at the time of application may take equivalent courses at UCLA in their first year.
How to Apply

Application Deadline:
December 1 for the following Fall Quarter

Total mandatory fees, per year**:

New student, Resident $15,929.74
New student, Non-resident: $31,031.74

Please see FSPH Financial Opportunities page for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment and need-based aid. 

Possible Career Paths:

Graduates of the department have pursued careers in both the private and public sectors as researchers, educators, managers, policymakers, and practitioners. 

Who to contact for more information:

Rebecca Greenberg at rgreenberg@ph.ucla.edu or 310.206.1619.

* Admission requirements listed are Departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

** Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

| Department website | Full description
Environmental Health Sciences - Molecular Toxicology At-a-Glance

PhD in Molecular Toxicology - Environmental Health Sciences

This interdepartmental PhD program brings together 32 faculty from 16 different departments in the School of Medicine, the School of Public Health and the College of Letters and Science. Areas of particular strength in the program include chemical carcinogenesis, repair of DNA damage, air pollution toxicology, nanotoxicology, and the environmental causation of Parkinson's disease.

Total Required Units (based on quarter system):

Additional Degree Requirements:

  • Course work
  • Laboratory rotations
  • Written and Oral qualifying examinations
  • Dissertation
  • Defense of the Dissertation

Typical time to complete degree:
5 years

Program start date:
Fall Academic Quarter

Minimum Admission Requirements (in addition to the University's minimum requirements)*:

  • A minimum of a four (4) unit undergraduate course in statistics
  • A master's degree is not a pre-requisite. The ideal training for an undergraduate would be to major either in Chemistry or Biology and to have a solid background in both of these disciplines with some quantitative training

How to Apply

Application Deadline:
December 1 for the following Fall Quarter

Total mandatory fees, per year**:

New student, Resident $15,929.74
New student, Non-resident: $31,031.74

Please see FSPH Financial Opportunities page for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment and need-based aid. 

Possible Career Paths:

Many graduates pursue careers in research, as toxicologists, and in related areas in academia, government and other organizations.

Who to contact for more information:

Rebecca Greenberg at rgreenberg@ph.ucla.edu or 310.206.1619.

* Admission requirements listed are Departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

** Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

| Department website | Full description
Epidemiology At-a-Glance

PhD in Epidemiology

The PhD in Epidemiology is geared towards students who wish to pursue a career in teaching and/or research in universities or research organizations. Students follow an intensive curriculum in the area of methodology and biomedical sciences and usually minor in a mathematical, biologic, or social science.

Total Required Units (based on quarter system):

Additional Degree Requirements:

  • Course work in Epidemiology and outside the Department of Epidemiology
  • Written and Oral qualifying examinations
  • Dissertation
  • Final oral examination

Typical time to complete degree:
6 years

Program start date:
Fall Academic Quarter

Minimum Admission Requirements (in addition to the University's minimum requirements)*:

  • Satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); 
  • At least a 3.0 junior/senior grade-point average and at least a 3.5 grade-point average in graduate studies; and 
  • Approval by the department admissions committee, an academic adviser, and the department chair.

How to Apply

Application Deadline:
December 1 for the following Fall Quarter

Total mandatory fees, per year**:

New student, Resident $15,929.74
New student, Non-resident: $31,031.74

Please see FSPH Financial Opportunities page for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment and need-based aid. 

Possible Career Paths:

An epidemiologist may work in a wide variety of settings, including international health agencies, state and local health departments, federal government agencies and health programs, health maintenance organizations, colleges and universities, and numerous research institutions, both privately and publicly sponsored.

Who to contact for more information:

Joy Miller at jdmiller@ph.ucla.edu or 310.206.3901.

* Admission requirements listed are Departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

** Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

| Department website | Full description
Health Policy and Management At-a-Glance

PhD in Health Policy and Management

The PhD in Health Policy and Management trains students to assume the highest level of professional responsibilities. The PhD is an academic research degree emphasizing the in-depth expertise necessary for a research career. It includes classroom instruction, non-credit seminars, independent study, research projects, academic apprenticeships, and interaction with faculty, fellow students, and other professionals within and outside the UCLA campus.

Total Required Units (based on quarter system):

Additional Degree Requirements:

  • Course work in the major and cognate/minor fields
  • Written qualifying examination
  • Proposal for the dissertation
  • Oral qualifying examination on the proposal for the dissertation (advancement to candidacy)

Typical time to complete degree:
4-5 years

Program start date:
Fall Academic Quarter

Minimum Admission Requirements (in addition to the University's minimum requirements)*:

  • A master’s degree in public health or other appropriate graduate degree in a related field with a grade-point average of at least 3.5 for graduate studies is recommended
  • Although not required for admission, work experience in the field is viewed favorably when competing applications are judged. 

How to Apply

Application Deadline:
December 1 for the following Fall Quarter

Total mandatory fees, per year**:

New student, Resident $15,929.74
New student, Non-resident: $31,031.74

Please see FSPH Financial Opportunities page for information on awards, scholarships, training opportunities, employment and need-based aid. 

Possible Career Paths:

Many graduates of the program pursue research and teaching careers in health care management and health policy analysis.

Who to contact for more information:

Anna Lim at apark@ph.ucla.edu or 310.825.7863.

* Admission requirements listed are Departmental requirements, and are in addition to the University's minimum requirements. Many programs receive more applicants than can be admitted, so meeting the minimum requirements for admission does not ensure admission. Every effort is made to ensure minimum admissions requirements are up to date - for the most up-to-date information on the University's minimum requirements, please visit the UCLA Graduate Division.

** Fees are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. For the most up to date fees and more information on fee breakdown, visit the registrar's office.

| Department website | Full description