Suggested Timeline

First Year

  • Begin required core courses (27 credits) and elective work (21 credits). It is suggested to focus on the core courses before taking elective credits. All elective credits must be pre-approved by the faculty advisor/chair. Refer to the PhD worksheet for a detailed list of requirements.
  • Complete two consecutive full-time semesters (at least nine credit hours each semester).
  • Start the pre-requisites to be eligible for the General Examination. The general exam is typically taken the second year:
      • PBHLT 7100 - Biostatistics II
      • PBHLT 7101 - Data Analysis Using SAS
      • PBHLT 7200 - Public Health Principles and Practice
      • PBHLT 7300 - Epidemiology II
      • PBHLT 7311 - Advanced Research Methods
      • PBHLT 7410 - Advanced Policy and Leadership
      • PBHLT 7640 - Research and Evaluation of Health Behavior
  • Sign up for the General Examination (May or December) if applicable
  • Take the General Examination (May or December) if applicable

Second Year

  • Continue coursework.
  • Complete two consecutive full-time semesters (at least nine credit hours each semester) if not completed your first year.
  • Sign up for the General Examination (May or December) if applicable.
  • Take the General Examination (May or December) if applicable.
  • Depending on the progression of coursework it is recommended to identify your committee chair at the beginning of the second fall semester. One role of the committee chair is to approve and help find appropriate elective work.
  • After passing the general exam or during the second spring semester you should identify your 5 person supervisory committee and start developing a research proposal for your dissertation work.
      • Compile supervisory committee. Return supervisory committee form to your academic advisor.
      • Begin research into a dissertation topic and compose your 5 page concept proposal. Formatting and guidelines can be found in the public health policy guide. (Page 42).
      • The 5 page concept proposal must be approved by your supervisory committee before moving on to your 25 page concept proposal and qualifying examination.
      • After receiving approval from your supervisory committee in regards to your concept proposal, complete the Concept Proposal Approval form, which your committee will sign. Return the form to your academic advisor. 
  • After approval of your 5 page concept proposal you are now ready to develop your full dissertation proposal using the PhD Full Dissertation Proposal Format Guidelines found in the Handbook on the Thesis Office website.
  • Once your committee has approved of your 25 page concept proposal, please submit the Full Dissertation Proposal Defense form signed by supervisory committee to your academic advisor.
  • Complete IRB documentation and submit the IRB Documentation for Dissertation form to your academic advisor with the appropriate signatures.
  • Submit your formal presentation to your supervisory committee for preparation of the Qualifying Examination.

Third Year

  • Continue coursework as necessary (62 credit hours).
  • Prepare for the Qualifying Examination. The qualifying exam shares a similar format to the general exam and is based around your 25 page concept proposal.
  • Pass the written Qualifying Examination.
  • Arrange a time and place for the oral Qualifying Examination. All arrangements are done with your supervisory committee.
  • Pass the oral Qualifying Examination.
  • After you have passed both the oral and written sections of the qualifying exam, please submit the Report of the Qualifying Examination form to your academic advisor. Please note that your qualifying exam and final dissertation defense cannot be completed in the same semester.
  • Begin formal dissertation work and register for dissertations credits (14 credits in total).

Fourth Year

  • Apply for graduation. Please review the student Resources Tab > Graduation Forms on the Public Health website for detailed instruction on how to apply for graduation.
      • Apply for graduation through your CIS portal under the graduation title.
      • Complete your program of study (candidacy form) before the designated deadline and return the form to your academic advisor.
  • Continue working on your analysis and dissertation.
  • Begin writing dissertation in the required format. Review the Graduate School Thesis Office for dates, formats, style guides, etc.
  • Make use of the Thesis Office Preliminary Review. Arrange a preliminary review by turning in a chapter or more of a manuscript to the Thesis Office, or sign up for a 20-minute, in-person format review consultation. Preliminary reviews will be conducted by the Thesis Office up to two weeks before the first manuscript deadlines. Following that time, no requests for preliminary reviews will be accepted until the next semester. Manuscript deadlines can be found on the Graduate School Thesis Office Website.
  • Arrange a time and place for your final defense. Arrangements should be made with your supervisory committee. Please note that 4 of the 5 members must be in attendance.
  • The date and time of your final defense must be widely publicized to the entire department at least ten business days prior to the date of your defense. Please use this defense announcement to publicize your event and return this announcement to your academic advisor for dispersal.
  • Submit a final copy of the dissertation to the chair of your supervisory committee no later than three weeks prior to the final defense.
  • Submit a final copy of your dissertation to the rest of the committee no later than two weeks prior to the final defense.
  • After the completion of your final defense, your Committee will sign off on the Report of Final Examination form if the defense meets the requirements and is deemed satisfactory. Please return this from to your academic advisor.
  • Complete your dissertation with any changes requested by the supervisory committee within 60 days of the final defense.
  • Submit all three publishable-quality articles to journals.
  • When the final dissertation has been read and found satisfactory, it must be signed off by each member of the Supervisory Committee. Submit a copy of the Doctoral Supervisory Committee Approval and Final Reading Approval forms to your Academic Advisor once signed. Keep the original copies to be later submitted with your manuscript. It is advised to take these forms to your Defense for signatures, you will include both of these forms when submitting your manuscript to the thesis office. Original signatures are required.
  • After the chair of your Supervisory Committee has read the dissertation in the final form and has found that (1) its format, citations, and bibliographic style are consistent and acceptable; (2) its illustrative materials including figures, tables, and charts are in place; and (3) the final manuscript is satisfactory to the Supervisory Committee it is ready for submission to the Graduate School after the Final Reading Approval form has been submitted and approved by Dr. VanDerslice for final review. Please provide Dr. VanDerslice with at least 10 business days to review your manuscript. Dr. VanDerslice requires your final manuscript to be printed and bound for his final review.
      • It is advised that you contact Dr. VanDerslice’s Assistant, Stacey Board, Stacey.Board@hsc.utah.edu to coordinate dates and times to drop off your final manuscript for Dr. VanDerslice's review.
      • NOTE: The Chair/Dean signature block must read James A. VanDerslice.
  • Submit the dissertation in the proper format to the Thesis Office with required forms (Doctoral Committee Approval and the Final Readings Approval). Please be mindful of thesis deadlines for submission of your manuscript. Deadlines can be found on the Thesis Office’s website. By not meeting these deadlines graduation may be delayed.
  • Submit a red bound hard copy of the final approved manuscript to the Division of Public Health (red book with white lettering on the cover and spine). For potential printing options, please contact your academic advisor.

Please note, that this is a very aggressive timeline for full-time students and may vary depending on the individual student.

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For more Information

April Sanders-Aboulila
Academic Program Manager
Phone: 801-581-6385
Email: april.aboulila@utah.edu

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