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Public Health Sciences

Applied Health Research & Evaluation, Ph.D.

Applied Health Research & Evaluation, Ph.D.

The Department of Public Health Sciences offers a Ph.D. in Applied Health Research and Evaluation (AHRE). This innovative, advanced research program rigorously prepares future scholars to conduct relevant research on issues critically important to public health.

Students in this program learn to design and employ cutting-edge methodologies with community, private sector, and public partners to provide effective solutions to challenging health problems. The core curriculum emphasizes a full spectrum of methodological skills that enable students to design and implement research focused on health outcomes, effective and efficient health delivery services, comparative effectiveness of clinical and cost outcomes, and program evaluation, with substantial attention devoted to implementation science: that bridge between health research and health practice. This combination of advanced research skills and strong conceptual framework produces independent leaders in health research capable of working across traditional disciplinary boundaries.

AHRE graduates possess skills to analyze and interpret complex health problems and data and provide structure for data-informed decision making to empower change in population health and healthcare practice, making them highly employable in state and federal agencies, private research and evaluation firms, health delivery systems, and academia.

Applications for the fall terms are due by December 31st.

  • Why this program?
    • Rising health care costs, limited resources, and the need to make timely, evidence-based decisions about program impact on population health are driving the demand for researchers skilled in making meaningful use of data collected across diverse settings.
    • This program responds to a nationally recognized need for researchers skilled in rigorously evaluating clinical and population health data and are capable of working across traditional boundaries.  Professionals with such training are in high demand in state and federal agencies, private research and evaluation firms, academic, and health systems.
    • Students, under one or more faculty mentors, are involved in assisting with teaching, research, and evaluation beginning on day one of the program.
    • Departmental faculty have expertise and funded research in the following areas: health promotion and behavior, dissemination and implementation, epidemiology and outcomes research, public health informatics, global health, healthcare economics, and evaluation.
    • Our learning framework combines theory and application through rigorous instruction in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of health data and practical experience applying these tools and methods to improve both health systems performance and population health.
    • The AHRE PhD program fosters transdisciplinary faculty collaboration and involves research partnerships in communities and healthcare settings in the region.
    • We have a 100% employment rate for AHRE PhD programs.  See Graduate Program Alumni for more details.
    • Clemson is an internationally respected, Tier One Research Institution, and the Department of Public Health Sciences has trained professionals going into a variety of health settings for over 25 years.
  • 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:

    • Scholars who desire to become leading, independent researchers solving real-world health problems
    • Aspiring methodologists who seek advanced skills in research design, mixed-methods, data science, and quantitative methods
    • Those who wish to pursue a career in academia, industry, government, and non-profit sectors

    Graduates of this program possess skills to assess program/intervention effectiveness, enhance oversight and accountability, improve the efficacy and efficiency of health services, and provide structure for data-informed decision making to empower change in population health and healthcare practice.

  • What are the requirements for completing this degree?
    • The Ph.D. in applied health research and evaluation requires a total of 64 hours of approved coursework, including a 34-credit core, 12-credit cognate, and 18-credit dissertation. 
    • Upon completion of core coursework (between years 2 and 3), Ph.D. students sit for a comprehensive exam.  Successful passage of the comprehensive exam marks the transition into candidacy.
    • Ph.D. candidates must successfully present and defend their dissertation proposal before their dissertation committee during the 3rd year of the program.
    • Ph.D. candidates must successfully defend the final dissertation, usually during the 4th or 4th year in the program.

    Coursework (64 credit hours):

    Core Courses (34 credit hours)

    • HLTH 8030 – Theory and Determinants of Health
    • HLTH 8090 – Epidemiological Research
    • HLTH 8110 – Health Care Delivery Systems
    • HLTH 8210 – Health Research I: Design and Measurement
    • HLTH 8220   Health Research II: Qualitative and Mixed Methods
    • HLTH 8290 – Epidemiology II: Study Design & Data Analysis
    • HLTH 8310 – Quantitative Analysis in Health Research I
    • HLTH 8320 – Quantitative Analysis in Health Research II
    • HLTH 8410 – Foundation of Evaluation in Health
    • HLTH 8420 – Applied Evaluation Methods in Health
    • HLTH 8890 – Doctoral Seminar (1-credit, repeated 4 times)

    Cognate Courses (12 credit hours)

    Elective courses planned by the student and academic advisor and approved by the department that improve the depth of understanding of the student’s primary research interest area.  A minimum of 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
  • How can I find more information?

    For more information about the program, please contact our program coordinator at

Department of Public Health Sciences
Department of Public Health Sciences | 503 Edwards Hall