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Ph.D. in Applied Health Research and Evaluation

The Department of Public Health Sciences offers a 64-hour Ph.D. in applied health research and evaluation. There is a nationally recognized need for researchers skilled in rigorously evaluating clinical and population health programs, capable of working across disciplinary boundaries. Professionals with such training are in high demand in state and federal agencies, private research and evaluation firms, academia, and in health systems. Read the program brochure.

Am I a good fit for this program?

The Ph.D. in applied health research and evaluation is designed for individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, career interests, and employment settings. The program is well suited for:

  • Those who wish to pursue a career in academia, industry, as well as government and non-profit sectors
  • Individuals who want to become independent researchers focused on real-world health problems
  • Aspiring methodologists who seek advanced skills in research design, mixed-methods, data-science, and quantitative methods

Why this program?

  • The curriculum includes a core of conceptual courses that foster a thorough understanding of health issues and contemporary technical issues in healthcare delivery and population health.
  • Students, under one or more faculty mentors, are involved in assisting with teaching, research and evaluation, during their first semester on campus.
  • The combination of a strong conceptual framework, advanced research skills, program evaluation and application to a cognate area (elective courses chosen from departmental and cross-campus offerings) is designed to provide graduates with a depth and breadth of knowledge in applied health research and evaluation.
  • Our learning framework combines rigorous instruction in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of health data, and practical experience in applying these tools and methods to improve health systems performance and population health.
  • Departmental faculty have expertise, and funded research, in the following areas: health promotion and behavior, epidemiology and outcomes research, public health informatics, global health, and evaluation.
  • Clemson is an internationally respected, “top 20 national public university”, and the Department of Public Health Sciences has trained professionals going into a variety of health settings for over 25 years.

What are the Requirements for Completing the Ph.D. degree?

  • The Ph.D. requires a total of 64 hours of approved coursework (must be completed in 5 years).
    • NOTE: 12 credits of graduate courses may be approved for transfer for those entering with a master’s degree, reducing the total requirement to 52 hours of coursework.
  • Ph.D. students must successfully pass a comprehensive exam (after completing core coursework) as evaluated by a committee composed of departmental faculty.
  • Ph.D. candidates must successfully complete a dissertation proposal (during the 3rd year in the program) as evaluated by a committee composed of members approved by the department and university.
  • Ph.D. candidates must successfully defend the final dissertation (during the 4th or 5th year in the program) as evaluated by a committee composed of members approved by the department and university.

Coursework (64 credit hours):

Core Courses (34 credit hours)

  • HLTH 8030 – Theory and Determinants of Health
  • HLTH 8110 – Health Care Delivery Systems
  • HLTH 8210 – Health Research I: Design and Measurement
  • HLTH 8220 – Health Research II: Qualitative and Mixed Methods
  • HLTH 8090 – Epidemiological Research
  • HLTH 8290 – Epidemiology II: Study Design & Data Analysis
  • HLTH 8410 – Foundations of Evaluation in Health
  • HLTH 8420 – Applied Evaluation Methods in Health
  • HLTH 8310 – Quantitative Analysis in Health Research I
  • HLTH 8320 – Quantitative Analysis in Health Research II
  • HLTH 8890 – Doctoral Seminar (one-hour class repeated four times)

Cognate Courses (12 credit hours)

  • Cognate courses are elective graduate courses (chosen with approval of the department) that improve the depth of understanding of the student’s primary research interest area.  A minimum of twelve 12 credit hours is required, one of which must include 3 credits in advanced statistics, analysis or methodology relevant to the student’s research area.  

Dissertation (18 credit hours)

  • HLTH 9910 – Doctoral Dissertation Research

Other Requirements

  • Comprehensive exam
  • Dissertation Proposal
  • Final Dissertation Defense


For More Information

Rebecca Coffey Moses, M.S.
Graduate Student Services
Department of Public Health Sciences
503 Edwards Hall
(864) 656-5502

Tanya Staton, M.P.H.
Graduate Recruiter
Department of Public Health Sciences
423 Edwards Hall
(864) 656-3841

Program Brochure

MS applied health research evaluation