Is there a handbook?

Yes, the PHS Student Handbook.

Do I need to take the GRE?

Yes, all students must have a current (five years) GRE regardless of whether they hold a relevant master’s degree or not.

May I switch emphasis?

Yes you may switch emphasis. Switching requires approval from the program director, your faculty mentor, and the graduate school.

Do I need to have a master’s degree to apply?

No, you do not need to have a master’s degree; however, this is a quantitatively rigorous program. You may need to take prerequisites prior to beginning the PhD curriculum. Research experience is desirable.

What degree do I need to have before I apply?

At minimum you must have a bachelor’s degree. We recommend you have a foundation in statistics and epidemiology. Research experience is desirable.

Do I have to have a research dissertation topic defined before I apply?

No. Your research dissertation topic can be developed with your faculty mentor during the first two years of the program and your with your supervisory committee once you have formed one.

Do I have to identify a faculty mentor during my application?

No. You will be assigned a faculty mentor during the admission process. You may change your faculty mentor with permission from the faculty involved and the program administration.

What are the career opportunities after I complete the PhD?

The majority of graduates are expected to accept positions in academics, government, health systems, policy institutes, think tanks, insurance companies, or independent research labs.

Is priority given to in-state applicants?

Priority is given to applicants with strong academic track record and research experience.

How much coursework will I be required to take?

A minimum of 44 classroom credits and 18 dissertation credits are required for individuals holding a relevant master’s degree. Individuals entering the program without a master’s degree or without a foundation in biostatistics and epidemiology will take a minimum of 62 classroom credits and 18 dissertation credits.

Why should I pursue a degree in Population Health Sciences?

Our population health sciences program focuses on the biostatistical and research methods needed to improve health and the interaction between the patient and the health system; there are many complementary themes and collaborations with programs that cross public health, epidemiology, and population health sciences, math, economics, public policy.

Do you offer a master’s degree in population health sciences?

No, at this time there is no master’s degree offered.

What is a relevant master’s degree?

Master’s degree programs that include graduate level courses in statistical inference, commonly used approaches to analysis of population health data (e.g. regression, survival analysis) basic skills in statistics analysis programming, and epidemiology are ideal. A master’s degree in statistics, public health, epidemiology, or clinical sciences, economics, public policy, health policy, sociology, and math may be appropriate. Individual assessments of coursework that satisfy prerequisites will occur during the admissions process.

Is funding available for incoming students?

Funding is available and offered on an individual basis. Funding could include scholarships, grants, research assistantships, and teaching assistantships. However, funding is not guaranteed for all students or all semesters.

May I transfer graduate level credits from another institution?

Graduate credit may be transferred from other institutions according to graduate school policy. Credits transferred from another institution may be used for only one degree. Up to six semester hours of transfer credit may be applied toward fulfillment of graduate degree requirements if they are of high letter grade (B or higher; ‘credit only’ grades are unacceptable), are recommended by the student’s supervisory committee, and were taken within four years of semester of admission to the University of Utah for master’s students and within seven years of semester of admission to the University of Utah for doctoral students.

Can I take courses part-time?

No, the Population Health Sciences PhD program is a full-time program and students are expected to take a minimum of 9 credit hours a semester.

Education Team

Maureen Murtaugh

Maureen Murtaugh, PhD
Director of Graduate Studies



Marcie Leek, MPA
Academic Program Manager


Questions? Contact us by phone or email:

Phone: 801-587-2100
Email: phsphd@hsc.utah.edu

Williams Building, Room 1N490
295 Chipeta Way
Salt Lake City, UT 84108