Choice of Research Degree
Which Research Degree: MPhil/PhD or DrPH?
People give many different reasons for taking a research degree. They include things like wanting to examine an important question or problem; intellectual stimulation and intellectual curiosity; for career needs; to contribute to knowledge in a certain area; to enhance status and recognition. Most people will have more than one reason, but depending on the primary reason, you may choose one of two research degrees at the School: DrPH or MPhil/PhD.
If you envisage yourself primarily as a professional, but want a high degree of flexibility in your future career, with skills in both management and research, then a DrPH might be the choice for you. If, on the other hand, you anticipate a career in which research plays a major role, or you have a particular problem or issue you want to research, then an MPhil/PhD may be what you select.
MPhil and PhD – aimed at students who anticipate a career in which research plays a major role and who want to focus on an independent piece of research. The British MPhil and PhD research degrees involve the presentation of a thesis on a research topic, which will be in a field appropriate to the student's or their sponsor's needs. Under the supervisor's guidance, students develop the intellectual and technical skills required for research and gain insight into the nature of research, which will provide the foundation for an excellent future research career.
DrPH – intended for leaders and future leaders in public health who want a flexible career which combines high level leadership, management and research skills. It is aimed at public health professionals who see research as only part of their careers. Entry criteria for the DrPH are the same as for the PhD, except that relevant experience in public health management and/or leadership is required. The standard, rigour and volume of the work are doctoral level, but appropriate to the career development of senior public health professionals.
The School also offers opportunities to undertake study through a mix of London-based and distance learning modules.
The Nature of the Research Degree (DrPH or MPhil/PhD)
The decision to do a research degree is often exhilarating, but it is important to understand why you want to take one - so that you choose the right degree - and also to understand what it means - what you are letting yourself in for! The nature of a research degree differs worldwide - for example, in the USA, students undertake taught courses first, and then do a thesis; in the UK the main emphasis is on the thesis - and the process of undertaking the research. Students may take some taught courses, but these are not necessarily an integral part of doing an MPhil/PhD, though they are a compulsory element of the DrPH.