Postgraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2014 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2014 and 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)
Off-campus (Alfred Hospital, Burnet Institute, Caulfield, Clayton)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences Research Degrees Office: telephone +61 3 9905 4313; email med-research.degrees@ or visit

Course coordinator

Dr Elizabeth Douglas


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • 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 offered by the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. Candidature involves the independent investigation of a research problem that has been formulated by the candidate. It is expected that the research undertaken will make a significant contribution to the knowledge and understanding of the chosen discipline. Doctoral candidates are supported by a minimum of two supervisors throughout their candidature.

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.


Successful completion of the program will signify that the candidate has successfully completed a course of postgraduate training in research under academic supervision, and has submitted a thesis that the examiners have declared to be a significant contribution to knowledge and which demonstrates the candidate's capacity to carry out independent research.

Candidates will also 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 doctoral candidature, nor for more than 50 per cent of the coursework. Credit will not be given for coursework credited to another degree or diploma. Credit may be granted for coursework and/or supervised practice already completed and equivalent to particular units and practical work, 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 credit will be given for the elective units in this course.

Candidature rules

For all candidature rules and other important information for DPH candidates refer to the Handbook for Doctoral DegreesHandbook for Doctoral Degrees (


This course consists of coursework units, practicum in a public health setting, research and a thesis component.

Areas of research

This course may be undertaken in any of the areas of public health researchareas of public health research ( offered by the faculty.

Areas of study


Candidates must, in consultation with and under the direct supervision of a member/s of the academic staff:

(a.) carry out a program of research on an agreed topic approved by the faculty in the candidate's chosen discipline for a specified period, including attending and/or presenting at seminars and other related activities as indicated by the faculty

(b.) submit for assessment a thesis of not more than 70,000 words on the program of research which meets the requirements of the examiners. The thesis should embody the results of the candidate's investigation, which demonstrates independence of thought and the candidate's ability to carry out research in that discipline. Submission of the thesis based on or partially based on conjointly published or unpublished work, or a portfolio of work may be permitted.

Coursework and practicum placements

Coursework is conducted over two 12-week semesters in the first year and one 12-week semester in the second year of the course. The public health practicum will occur in the second year of the course. Assessment is by examinations, oral presentations and written reports.

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

Elective units may be selected from any 'MPH' or 'EPM'-coded postgraduate units offered by the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

To identify possible electives use the filters in the Browse units toolBrowse units tool ( in the current edition of the University Handbook.


Doctor of Public Health