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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Course

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Managing facultyMedicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Abbreviated titleDPH
CRICOS code038563G
Standard duration of study (years)4 years FT, 8 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Alfred Hospital, Burnet Institute, Caulfield, Clayton)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Research Degrees Office, telephone +61 3 9905 4313; email or visit

Course coordinator

Dr Robert Hall


  • Applicants must have extensive relevant professional experience in the public health field (minimum of two years).
  • This course requires attendance at off-campus practical placements which may occur in a range of locations.


The Doctor of Public Health (DPH) is a research degree with both coursework and clinical components, and requires the candidate to submit a thesis. The work undertaken as part of this research degree must constitute a significant contribution to the knowledge and understanding of the field of public health, and must demonstrate the capacity of the candidate to carry out independent research.

The DPH is offered by the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. For information about research in the faculty visit The degree provides suitably qualified health professionals with a balanced training in the theory and practice of public health, equipping them to enter a wide range of careers in epidemiology, public health practice and research.

A candidate for the DPH is required to conduct a prescribed program of research for a specified period under the direct supervision of a member of the academic staff. The supervisor, in consultation with the candidate, is responsible for developing the research program to be followed by the candidate, and for reporting at regular intervals on the candidate's progress


Following the completion of prescribed coursework, practical experience and a research project, graduates will be able to:

  • appreciate the need for evidence-based practice in public health
  • critically appraise published research studies
  • formulate, conduct and report independent research
  • apply research findings to professional practice
  • develop skills in the formulation and evaluation of community-based health interventions
  • develop skills in writing professional reports
  • present research findings to professional and lay audiences
  • formulate public health policy
  • demonstrate the capacity to provide leadership in public health.

Credit for prior studies

Credit will not be given for work completed more than 10 years prior to admission to candidature, nor for more than 50 per cent of the coursework. Credit will not be given for coursework credited to another degree or diploma. The Faculty Board may grant credit provision for candidates who have completed coursework and/or supervised practice of equivalent standing, up to a maximum of three units. Appropriate methods for assessment of equivalence of prior study will be applied either through a viva voce, written examination, submission of referees' reports and/or presentation of written work. No credits will be given for elective units. A minimum enrolment period of two years will apply to all later-year applicants.

Research component

70 per cent

Candidature rules

Duration of candidature

The total permissible period of candidature is four years full-time, or its equivalent in part-time candidature up to a maximum of eight years part-time, after which the candidature will lapse. The minimum period of candidature is two years (four years part-time). Candidates are encouraged to complete their theses as quickly as possible.

Probationary candidature

Probationary candidature applies for all doctoral candidates, except where doctoral candidates have transferred from a masters by research program. Candidature will be confirmed subject to the receipt of a satisfactory report of progress at the end of one year (full-time) or two years (part-time) period of probationary candidature.

Progress reviews

Supervisors and academic units monitor the progress of candidates throughout their candidature. All candidates are required to complete an annual questionnaire in order to review the conditions of their candidature. The academic progress of candidates is formally reviewed via three candidature milestones: confirmation of candidature; mid-candidature review; and pre-submission seminar.

The mid-candidature review and pre-submission seminar are mandatory requirements for all candidates who commenced their candidature from 1 January 2010.

Time available for study

Throughout their candidature, all candidates must regularly attend their department, school, centre or faculty and participate fully in the intellectual, research and academic life of their academic unit. Full-time candidates must be able to devote the equivalent of a minimum of four days a week to the pursuit of their research project; all part-time candidates must devote the equivalent of one-and-a-half days a week to their studies. The half-day should normally be a week day.

Employment restrictions

Full-time candidates are permitted, with the approval of their main supervisor, to undertake a strictly limited amount of paid employment throughout the year, being no more than 15 hours of work per week on average. Up to a maximum of six hours only on average of this employment may be undertaken during normal working hours (9 am to 5 pm, Mondays to Fridays). However, this may be extended to a maximum of eight hours if the employment is limited to one weekday. The candidate's supervisor(s) must be satisfied that any part-time work undertaken does not interfere with the candidate's study program and progress. International students need to be aware that the employment restrictions outlined above apply even though a student visa permits students to work up to 20 hours a week.


This course comprises:

  • six coursework units (four core units, and two electives chosen from a wide range of units)
  • a 13-week practicum in a public health setting
  • research culminating in a thesis.

Assessment is by thesis, examinations, oral presentations and written reports.



Students submit a thesis of approximately 60,000 to 70,000 words. The word length for a thesis does not include footnotes, references or appendices, nor does it include equations, tables, diagrams or other illustrations. The thesis may be in the form of a traditional monograph or as a thesis by publication.

The work presented for examination must be the original work of the candidate, except where due reference is made in the text. A candidate may include published work which is directly relevant to the argument of the thesis, provided such work has been written during the period of candidature. Candidates may not present in, or in support of, a thesis any work which the candidate has presented for any other degree or diploma at this University, or any other institution, except with the permission of the Research Graduate School Committee.

The research project is expected to provide a significant original contribution to knowledge and/or practice in the field of public health and to demonstrate the capacity of the student to conduct independent research.

Work towards the thesis will occur throughout each 48-week year.

Coursework and practicum placements

Coursework sessions will be conducted over two 13-week semesters in the first year and one 13-week semester in the second year. The public health practice component will occur in the second year of the course.

Core units

  • DPH6001 Advanced epidemiology
  • DPH6002 Statistical methods for public health
  • DPH6003 Advanced research methods in public health
  • DPH6004 Health leadership and management
  • DPH6005 Public health practice

Elective units

one elective unit selected from any 'MPH' or 'EPM'-coded postgraduate units offered by the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine

Elective units may be selected from any postgraduate MPH or EPM unit offered by the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine.


Doctor of Public Health