The Doctor of Philosophy in Community Health Sciences (CHS) program was approved by The Board of Regents in 2010.  This degree will be administered by the Behavioral and Community Health Sciences (BCHS) Program of the LSUHSC School of Public Health and awarded by the LSUHSC School of Graduate Studies.

The new generation of public health professionals must be able to identify and examine determinants of health that operate at individual, familial, organizational, and community levels and develop effective multi-level interventions to address these factors. Training in Community Health Sciences is uniquely suited to prepare public health professionals to meet these challenges. Doctoral candidates will engage in studies and interventions that focus on the multiple determinants of health at the individual, social, and population levels. The program curriculum will include coursework, research, and practical instruction in community health promotion, health education, systems theory, research and intervention design including traditional (experimental), applied (community-based participatory) and other approaches, as well as statistical methods, data analysis and interpretation. The program of study will culminate in an empirical dissertation based on independent and novel research that generates new knowledge in the field of community health sciences. Graduates will be positioned to join the faculty of major universities, serve as senior executives in local, state, and federal government, industry, and non-profit entities, and share expertise with public leaders and community partners, and the media.

Graduates completing the Community Health Sciences PhD will have the ability to:

  • Examine and evaluate the role of cultural, social, and behavioral determinants of health and health disparities.
  • Synthesize advanced socio-ecological theory, research methodology, and statistical procedures to design, implement and evaluate CHS research and interventions.
  • Formulate policy changes needed to support and sustain CHS interventions.
  • Synthesize research results for the purpose of oral and written communication, instruction, and dissemination.
  • Distinguish and prioritize individual, organizational, and community concerns, assets, resources and deficits relevant to CHS interventions and policy change.


A limited number of assistantships are available to full-time students pursuing a PhD in Community Health Sciences.  Assistantships entail a commitment of up to twenty hours per week working with faculty on research projects or in a teaching capacity.  See here for a list of anticipated research opportunities that are anticipated to provide some of the available stipends.

Program Requirements

A total of 60 minimum credit hours are required for students with a prior MPH degree and a minimum of 83 credit hours for those without a prior MPH degree. Total 19 core curriculum credited hours are required for students with MPH in Community Health Sciences. Students will choose a minimum of 16-18 credit hours from the 35 credit hours of electives in the following three groups. Students without a prior degree in MPH will additionally need to take the relevant core courses required by the MPH program during their initial years in the doctoral program.

Transfer Curriculum

Students applying for the PhD degree may receive up to 18 semester hours of transfer credit at the discretion of the Community Health Sciences Program, providing that those courses were completed with a “B” or better, are judged to be equivalent to courses offered by the School of Public Health, and were not used to receive another degree.

Community Health Sciences Curriculum:

  • BCHS 7201 Ecological Approaches to Community Health Sciences (3)
  • BCHS 7202 Health Behavior Change (3)
  • BCHS 7203 Advanced Research Methods in Community Health Sciences (3)
  • BCHS 7207 Advanced Community Analysis, Ecology, And Health Disparities (3)
  • BCHS 7410 CHS Teaching Practicum (2)
  • BCHS 7700 Community Health Sciences Seminar I (1)
  • BCHS 7701 Community Health Sciences Seminar II (1)
  • BCHS 7702 Community Health Sciences Seminar III (1)
  • BCHS 7900 Dissertation Research (15)
  • BIOS 6102  Biostatistical Methods II (4)
  • BIOS 6308 Multivariate Methods (3)
  • EPID 7202  Grantsmanship and Proposal Development for Epidemiologic Research (3)
  • PUBH 6221 Foundations of Public Health Ethics (1)
  • Content Electives (6)
  • Methods Electives (6)
  • BIOS Electives (6)
  • Total (61)

Content Electives

  • BCHS 7218 Advanced Principles of Rural Health (3)
  • BCHS 7220 Advanced Issues in Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (3)
  • BCHS 7222 Advanced Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (3)
  • BCHS 7223 Advanced Public Health Implications of an Aging Society (3)
  • BCHS 7224 Advanced Health Related Physical Activity (3)
  • BCHS 7225 Advanced Infectious Disease: A Public Health Response (3)
  • BCHS 7351 Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Health Disparities(3)
  • BCHS 7352 Mental Health Promotion in Community Health Science (3)

Methods Electives

  • BCHS 7217 Advanced Community Based Participatory Programming (3)
  • BCHS 7221 Advanced Survey Design (3)
  • BCHS 7350 Translational Research (3)
  • EPID 6217 Database Management (3)
  • HPSM 6225 Health Outcomes Research (3)
  • PUBH 6201 Geographic Information Systems for Health Care (3)

Biostatistics Electives

  • BIOS 6202 Applied Linear Models (3)
  • BIOS 6210 Categorical Data Analysis (3)
  • BIOS 6314 Clinical Trial Methodology (3)

Other Electives

The remaining 23-25 credit hours necessary to meet minimum requirements will be chosen from Dissertation Research (maximum of 15 hours) and other doctoral level elective courses, including those that may be taken to obtain a minor in another discipline, as described below.


PhD students in Community Health Sciences will therefore identify a minor field(s) and program of study, which must be approved by the student’s PhD Advisory Committee. A minimum of 12 credit hours in courses within this discipline must be completed to meet the minor requirement.  Minors for Community Health Sciences Program may include, but are not limited to, graduate-level courses in the following areas:  Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Genetics, Microbiology and other disciplines in the School of Public Health or School of Graduate Studies.

Qualifying Exams

All PhD students will be required to pass a comprehensive written examination before being formally admitted to candidacy or registering for dissertation research credits. The written exam is based on materials covered in the PhD core courses and is thus taken after completion of these courses.


All doctoral candidates are expected to complete and defend a dissertation that is a significant contribution to the field, suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal of international repute.

For more information about the PhD in Community Health Sciences at the LSUHSC, contact:

William Robinson, PhD
Director of Graduate Studies for Behavioral and Community Health Sciences