Graduate Study FAQ

How do I apply? (Deadline Jan 15, 2017)

We offer graduate training in public health through UC Merced's graduate emphasis in Social Sciences.  Students will be admitted under the Individual Graduate Program.  Students interested in applying should apply by Jan 15th, 2017 for admission in the Fall of 2017.

For 2017 admission, please indicate that you wish to apply for the Public Health track through the Social Science graduate group. A proposal for a standalone Ph.D. program in Public Health has been submitted for approval. Once approval is received, all students will be transferred from the Social Science graduate program to the Ph.D. program in Public Health.

Our graduate program is a mentor based system, meaning that you will work with a faculty member during your first two years on a research project of mutual interest. To be admitted, you must meet the requirements of the Graduate Division and have a faculty member who is interested in working with you. This faculty member will be your mentor during the first two years.
 
So, if you are interested in applying, take the following steps:
 
Step 1 - Have a look at the faculty descriptions and their websites, particularly their research and teaching interests. See which faculty have interests that match your interests. 
 
Step 2 - Contact the faculty members whose research interests coincide with your own. You can contact more than one faculty member.
 
Step 3 - Apply for admission through UC Merced's Graduate Divison. Details and online application forms are available on the  Graduate Division website.
 
Step 4 - When you submit your application, make sure to indicate in your application that:

  • You wish to apply for Public Health through the Social Science Graduate Group.

             and

  • In your cover letter, indicate the faculty member or faculty members who you are interested in working with.

 

Is there funding for Ph.D. Students?

Yes. At the current time, all Ph.D. students receive financial support through a Teaching Assistantship. There are also a limited number of Fellowships and Graduate Research Assistantships available. For a list of fellowships, go to: http://graduatedivision.ucmerced.edu/financial-support

 

What courses will I be taking?

Our curriculum has a strong base of coursework, including courses in the five core areas of public health (environmental health, social and behavioral health, health services research, epidemiology, and statistics) with specialty areas of study in health disparities and social determinants of health; health services research; and environmental health. A sample course of study is:

Prevention Sciences and Population Health

 
 

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

 

1st Year

 

PH 201: Foundations of Public Health

Soc 210: Statistics 1: Regression Analysis

 

PH 203: Research methods in Public Health

PH 204: Environmental Health

 

PH 202: Epidemiology

Elective Course

 

PH 208: Professional seminar

PH 208: Professional Seminar

 

2nd Year - Elective Courses

 

PH 207: Health Behavior

PH 205: Health Services Research and Policy

 

Soc 211: Statistics 2: Categorical Regression

PH 222 Program Design & Evaluation

 

PH 221: Social Epidemiology & Health Disparities

PH 233: Prevention of chronic and infectious diseases

 

PH 208: Professional seminar

PH 206: Health Communication

 

 

What if I already have a Masters of Public Health or a clinical degree?

The proposed course of study includes a number of courses that constitute the basis of public health. Students who have obtained a masters degree at another university may petition to have courses in the required course of study waived.

 

What are the milestones I have to meet and the time to degree?

The Ph.D. is expected to take four to five years to complete. Students who enter with a Masters of Public Health or a related field can petition to have courses waived. This might shorten the length of time to completion of degree.

Students will be actively engaged in research from the start of their graduate training through the end of their doctoral work. This research emphasizes close work with a faculty mentor, with increasing independence over the years of training. The major milestones students achieve through their course of study include:

Milestone

Description

Timeline

Second Year Research Thesis

Research skills in Public Health are best acquired through classroom instruction and participation in research. The Second Year Research Thesis will be conducted with your major advisor.

End of second year of study

Qualifying exam

The Qualifying Exam in Public Health consists of proposing, completing, and orally defending a substantial research paper.

End of third year of study

Dissertation proposal

The Dissertation Proposal reviews the relevant literature and defines the area of inquiry of the proposed Dissertation, provides a clear statement of actionable research aims, questions, and/or hypotheses that will be addressed in the Dissertation, and outlines the methodological and analytic approach that will enable the proposed research to address these aims, questions, and/or hypotheses.

During fourth year of study

Dissertation

The Doctoral Dissertation is the culmination of the Ph.D., in which the Doctoral Candidate demonstrates the capability to conduct research independently that makes an original contribution to knowledge of a quality that can be published in a reputable scientific journal.

Fourth or fifth year of study