Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Overview - Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

The DrPH programme leads to a doctoral-level qualification and is intended for leaders and future leaders in public health.

The programme aims to equip its graduates with the experience to deal with the particular challenges of understanding and adapting scientific knowledge in order to achieve public health gains, as well as the analytical and practical skills required by managers and leaders in public health. The DrPH therefore has a dual focus on developing both expertise to conduct and evaluate research and skills crucial for leadership roles in public health policy and practice.

Entry criteria for the DrPH are the same as for the PhD except that evidence of relevant experience in areas of public health policy, management and/or leadership is required. The rigour and volume of the work are doctoral level, and are appropriate to the personal development of senior public health professionals. Opportunities for undertaking the DrPH programme are available in all the School's Faculties.

Key components

  • A taught component comprising two compulsory modules
  • Research Study I: an Organisational and Policy Analysis (OPA) project
  • Research Study II: a research project leading to the production of a thesis

DrPH programme FAQs
DrPH programme specifications (pdf)



Listen to staff and students talk about the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) programme at the School.

Ana Amaya, El Salvador
Ana Amaya, El Salvador


"Interacting with the teachers, most of whom are leaders in the field, has been extremely inspiring and useful in terms of my own research."

Research - Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

The School's wide-ranging research programmes examine ways of improving and promoting health and health services and investigate the aetiology, diagnosis and prevention or control of both communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Basic laboratory research aims to improve understanding of the molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions, and more applied work investigates diagnostic methods and therapeutic intervention. 

The work of the School is multidisciplinary and therefore much of its research crosses disciplines, departments and faculties. This is enhanced by interfaculty centres and groups that focus on specific issues. Many research programmes are carried out in collaboration with institutions outside the UK. Such collaborative work enhances the quality of the training experience and is one of the unique aspects of training at the School.

Structure - Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Information for DrPH candidates starting in September 2021

The DrPH team are working to provide the best possible experience for the 2021 cohort. The Term 1 modules will be taught online, including synchronous live taught sessions, panel discussions and other collaborative provision. We are mindful of the issues raised by the differing time zones students may be based in and will accommodate this as best we can in our live provision. We will also be providing other activities that can be pursued asynchronously, both individually and in small groups. Depending on the circumstances at the time we may be able to organise some face-to-face activities in London for any students able to be there, but this would be in addition to, not part of, the teaching delivered in the modules. Please be assured that we plan to offer similar activities in future years to enable everyone to participate in these at some point during their degree programme.  Please visit our Applicants FAQs.

Taught component

The taught component consists of two compulsory modules. In “Understanding Leadership, Management and Organisations” students explore a range of issues and theories relating to management, leadership and organisations and consider the application of these theories both to public health organisations and their own management practice. “Evidence Based Public Health Policy” focuses on key skills required for improving and shaping policy and practice, involving accessing, understanding, developing, disseminating and facilitating the use of the evidence base for better public health outcomes. 
The modules are taught in London between late September and December. They are delivered through a variety of teaching methods including lectures, seminars and small group work. Students are expected to learn through both directed and self-directed study. Modules are assessed through individual written assignments.

Students are not required to take any other modules but may, throughout the remainder of the programme, choose to study some MSc Modules to cover particular skills relevant to their research. This enables students to tailor the programme to their individual backgrounds and needs.

Research Study I: Organisational and Policy Analysis (OPA) project

The OPA project involves research that provides DrPH students with the opportunity to observe and analyse 
the workings of a public health organisation in its policy environment and to gain a better understanding of how to develop effective public health organisations and policy. The project usually involves 3-6 months fieldwork within a host organisation of the student’s choice. The host organisation can be any public, non-profit or private institution that is engaged in public health practice or has a public health mandate.

The OPA project is assessed on the basis of a written report not exceeding 15,000 words examined by viva normally with the research thesis (see below). Progression to the OPA project component is subject to successful completion of the two compulsory core modules.  The OPA project report is normally submitted for formative assessment before commencing the thesis element of the programme.

Research Study II: Thesis project

As for a PhD, the purpose of the DrPH thesis project is 
to enable students to develop as competent independent researchers. By the end of their studies students should
be able to plan effectively and undertake independent research and will have developed key transferable skills. As with a PhD, the thesis topic can be from any public health-related discipline or subject area agreed with the student’s supervisor and the research must be original and make a distinct contribution to the knowledge of the chosen subject.

Unlike PhD students who are registered for an MPhil until they have successfully upgraded, DrPH candidates are admitted directly to the Doctoral Programme; this means that the approval of the research plans are assessed at the DrPH Review, rather than at an ‘upgrading’. Whilst the DrPH research thesis must meet doctoral level standards, due to the time allocated for this component (typically about 18 months), the DrPH thesis is necessarily shorter in length and more limited in scope than a PhD thesis.

The DrPH thesis has a 60,000 word limit, excluding references and appendices. It includes a 1,500 word integrating statement summarising the student’s learning over the three components of the degree and highlighting links between the components.

Programme duration

The period of study for full-time DrPH students is a minimum of three years and a maximum of four years (or four and eight years respectively under part-time or split-study mode). Students are required to be in the School during the first term for the taught programme elements and normally spend time in the School during the preparation of their OPA project. Following completion of the OPA project, students are also expected to spend time in the School preparing and presenting their research project plans to a DrPH Review Committee.  Over the programme of their degree DrPH students are expected to spend at least 9 months full-time in London.

As the timetable of compulsory modules is fixed, all DrPH students need to commence the programme at the start of the UK academic year in September. Compulsory modules are London-based but in all other areas the programme aims to be flexible to meet students’ needs while at the same time adhering to excellence in learning and research.

Part-time study

The School requires students who apply for part-time study to be available to study for at least two days per week. Where applicable, a letter from your employer is required to confirm that at least two days per week will be permitted for work on your degree.

Fees & funding
Fees and Funding - Research Degrees (MPhil-PhD) General 2021/22

Fees 2021/22

  Full-time Part-time Full-time Part-time
MPhil / PhD £5,830 £2,915 £18,280 £9,140
MPhil/PhD - lab-based £5,830 £2,915 £22,220 £11,110
DrPH £5,830 £2,915 £18,280 £9,140
Writing Up Fee £1,140 £570 £1,140 £570

Find out what doctoral scholarships and funding opportunities are available

Entry requirements
Entry Requirements - Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Academic requirements

Applicants for the DrPH study are required to have a minimum of two years' appropriate experience and, normally, a Masters degree.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to meet these requirements: Band B

Please see our English Language Requirements FAQs for information

How to apply
How to apply - Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

Identifying a supervisor

DrPH candidates, like students on other doctoral programmes, work closely with an academic member of staff who acts as their principal supervisor. Applicants are only accepted once a suitable supervisory team has been identified and approved. 

There is no intake quota for the DrPH programme but in practice the size of each year’s cohort is determined by supervisory capacity within LSHTM. Not everyone has an opening for a research degree student each year.

To maximize the chances of a successful application it is recommended that applicants identify and make contact with LSHTM staff with research interests that match their own in advance of making a formal application.

Application for study

Please apply using our online application form.

Please also read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.

Paper application forms are available upon request and will normally incur an administration fee of £50. You must send a copy of the personal details and photograph page of your passport with all paper applications. Your application will not be considered until you have provided the above documents. 

Application deadline

For 20 September 2021 entry, the cut-off date for application submission is:

  • 31 March 2021 for ALL students, including those who require a student visa and those who do not. 

What do the cut-off dates mean?

If you submit a complete application by a cut-off date, we will start to process this for the next entry point. The above deadline also applies to LSHTM staff.

If you are applying for funding via non-LSHTM funding, please submit your application to LSHTM for your desired entry point regardless of whether you have received a decision about your funding, as late applications will be processed for the next entry. You can defer a place that is offered to you for the next entry point if you need to wait to hear about a funding decision.

Deadline for responding to your offer

Applicants are required to respond to their Offer of Admission within 28 days of receipt, or their place will be released and the offer automatically declined.

Please bear the following in mind:

  • If  you apply for a place without already having identified named supervisors then LSHTM will try to match you up with suitable members of academic staff. This process can be quite slow and you should allow at least three months for this stage of the process. If we are unable to identify potential supervisors we will not be able to offer you a place.
  • Once supervisors have been put forward the next stage is for you to be interviewed and then, if successful, offered a place.
  • If you require a visa you will be given instructions for how to apply for it once you have your formal offer letter.

Applications for admission to LSHTM should be made to the Registry and not directly to academic Faculties. All applicants should include with their application a short proposal for their thesis research, Research Study II, (maximum 1,500 words including footnotes and references). This should indicate the area in which the student wishes to specialise for their research thesis, enabling the application to be directed to appropriate potential supervisors.

The Research Study II proposal is also an important way of indicating the extent to which the student already understands the background to their proposed research, and the range of methods that may be employed.

DrPH applicants also need to submit a short outline of their preliminary plans for their Research Study I, the OPA project (e.g. likely organisation or type of organisation the applicant will be based in). It is appreciated that this information will be preliminary and that proposals may change once applicants have started their studies and have had the opportunity to discuss their OPA plans with their supervisor and DrPH teaching staff. The recommended length for the OPA outline is 500 words.