Doctoral Degree

Doctoral training has been part of Yale’s mission since early in its history. The university awarded the first Ph.D. in North America in 1861, and the doctoral program in public health began with the establishment of the department in 1915. Seven years later, in 1922, Yale conferred the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Health on two candidates.

Within the Yale academic community, the Ph.D. is the highest degree awarded by the university. The School of Public Health offers studies toward the Ph.D. degree through its affiliation with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The graduate school makes the final decisions on accepting students into the program, admission to candidacy, and awarding the degree.

The primary mission of the doctoral program in Public Health is to provide scholars with the disciplinary background and skills required to contribute to the development of our understanding of better ways of measuring, maintaining, and improving the public’s health. The core of such training includes the mastery of research tools in the specialty discipline chosen by the candidate. Public health spans disciplines that use tools available in the laboratory, field research, social sciences, the public policy arena, and mathematics. Students engage in a highly focused area of research reflecting scholarship at the doctoral level but are exposed to a broad view of public health as seen in the diverse research interests of the school’s faculty.