College of Public Health Guidebooks

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After successfully completing the qualifying examination, the student must complete a field-based doctoral project that is designed to influence programs, policies, or systems applicable to public health practice. The doctoral project must include a minimum of three high-quality, evidence-based deliverables, with at least one written product. The doctoral project must also demonstrate synthesis of competencies across all DrPH curriculum domains in the student's concentration.

To complete the doctoral project, the student will be required to enroll in a minimum of six credits in PHC 7919 Specialized Field Study. The final doctoral project deliverables must be approved by the doctoral project committee prior to graduation, and the student must be enrolled in a minimum of two credits in the semester the doctoral project is completed and approved.

 

 IRB Approval

Institutional Review Board Approval (IRB)

IRB Step by Step

All research investigators at USF are responsible for submitting human subject research for review by the USF IRB (and additional IRBs if required) prior to starting a research study. If it is not clear what type of human subjects (exempt, expedited, full board), approval is required; students should consult the USF Office of Research Integrity & Compliance in collaboration with their advisor. Only the IRB can determine if the research being conducted falls under the exempt category. Research investigators must prepare a protocol giving a complete description of the proposed research, a detailed application and, when appropriate, a sample of the proposed informed consent form. All protocols and related forms must be submitted electronically to the IRB via eIRB, which can be accessed online at www.research.usf.edu/dric/education-program/.

As a part of the application process, the investigator’s IRB application will be electronically routed to his/her Department Chair or designee, or Department Chair of their Advisor, who certifies that adequate scientific review of the research study has been performed. All students who serve as a Principal Investigator are required to have a faculty advisor listed on their IRB application.  The major professor must review the initial application and any subsequent modifications.  All doctoral students must complete the IRB credentialing process and HIPAA training during their first semester following admission. IRB training courses are available online at www.research.usf.edu/dric/education-program/.


The letter from the IRB indicating approval or designation of non research should be submitted as an appendix in their final document for the Doctoral Project and uploaded into box.

***IRB approval from another institution does NOT fulfill this requirement.  As a USF student, you must have a designation regarding human subjects research from the USF IRB.

 Human Research Protections Requirement

All students registering for PHC 7919 Public Health Doctoral project are required to have a current Human Research Protections certificate on file with the USF Division of Research Integrity and Compliance.The Human Research Protections courses are online and take about 2 hours to complete; students taking these courses in multiple semesters will be required to complete a continuing education course when their certificate is out of date. For more information on these requirements please go here: www3.research.usf.edu/dric/hrpp/education.asp. Certificates of completion are available for printing through this link. 

 Field-Based, Evidence-Based Deliverables

The DrPH student must complete a doctoral project that is designed to influence programs, policies, or systems applicable to public health practice. For example, the student can propose to implement and evaluate a project in the field, adapt an evidence-based program to be used on a local level, do a behavioral, economic, or policy analysis, or evaluate a public health intervention.

The student must produce a minimum of three high-quality, evidence-based deliverables, with at least one written product. These can be presented in any form that is acceptable to the committee members. Examples of types of deliverables include the following:

  • publishable quality journal article
  • program manual
  • training program
  • software development 
  • presentation to stakeholders
  • strategic plan developed with stakeholder input
  • needs assessment
  • evaluation plan and instrument development
  • policy document
 Doctoral Project Defense

After the Doctoral Committee has determined that the doctoral project is suitable for presentation, the committee will request the scheduling and announcement of a public doctoral project oral defense. Procedures for conducting the doctoral project defense are as follows:

  1. The doctoral project defense should be conducted at the latest by one month prior to the end of the semester in which the student would like to graduate.

  2. The presentation and defense are open to the public and as such, must meet the requirements of the Sunshine Laws for the State of Florida. The doctoral committee deliberation is not public.

  3. The room selected for the examination should have adequate seating with an alternate room selected in case of problems.

  4. Participation of the student and/or external mentor is permissible via speakerphone or video conference.

  5. The length of the examination period will generally not exceed three hours. Throughout this time the Faculty Chair is to be in charge of all proceedings.

  6. The Faculty Chair, at any time during the course of the examination, may request all visitors to leave.

  7. Presentation:

    • The Faculty Chair should open the proceedings by introducing the candidate and the doctoral committee.

    • The examination should begin with a presentation by the candidate designed to summarize the doctoral project.

    Questions: Following the presentation the student will be questioned about the doctoral project. The order of the proceedings is described below:

    • The examination will consist of questions about the research by the doctoral committee.

    • It is suggested that questioning should be limited to about 15 minutes for each committee member with subsequent rounds of questioning as necessary.

    • Questions from the facultyatlarge and/or the public may be allowed following the presentation. It is suggested that questioning from the general audience be limited up to 5 minutes per person.

    Deliberations and Voting: Following the completion of these proceedings, the Faculty Chair:

    • will ask all visitors and the candidate to leave and will reconvene the doctoral committee only.

    • will preside over the deliberations and voting of the doctoral committee.

    • is responsible for tallying the votes and informing the candidate of the final decision. The voting is to be limited to “pass” and “fail” votes. The vote of the doctoral committee must be unanimous. If unanimous agreement cannot be reached, the Faculty Chair notifies the DrPH Program Director, who will endeavor to resolve the dispute in an expedient fashion.

    • withholds his/her own signature on the DrPH Doctoral Defense From until all required revisions are satisfactory.

8. Doctoral Project Defense Form:

    1. Prior to the defense, the student must fill out the Doctoral Project Defense Form with the following information:
      • required student information
      • description of the doctoral project deliverables
      • list of the DrPH competencies that the project synthesizes (minimum five)
      After a successful defense, the student should obtain signatures from all committee members other than the Faculty Chair(s). The Faculty Chair will sign once all revisions are completed an accepted.
      The signed form must be submitted prior to the end of the semester to Academic and Student Affairs at cophdoctoral@health.usf.edu, and uploaded to the student's document folder in Box: usfhealth.account.box.com/login.
 Doctoral Project Defense Forms

Doctoral Project Defense Form

Prior to the Doctoral Project defense, students must completet the Doctoral Project Defense Form with the following information:

  • required student information
  • description of the doctoral project deliverables
  • list of the DrPH competencies that the project synthesizes (minimum five)

After a successful defense, the student should obtain signatures from all committee members other than the Faculty Chair(s). The Faculty Chair will sign once all revisions are completed an accepted.
The signed form must be submitted prior to the end of the semester to Academic and Student Affairs at cophdoctoral@health.usf.edu, and uploaded to the student's document folder in Box: usfhealth.account.box.com/login.

Doctoral Project Defense Announcement Form

After the Doctoral Committee has determined that the doctoral project is suitable for presentation, and a defense date has been established, students must submit the Doctoral Project Defense Announcement form to cophdoctoral@health.usf.edu for distribution.

 Doctoral Project Defense Resources

Doctoral Project-Final Defense Documents-Guidelines

DrPH Doctoral Project Written Defense Rubric 

 Doctoral Project Final Submission

Students are required to submit all doctoral project deliverables electronically, emailed to the committee members, emailed to the Doctoral Affairs Office at cophdoctoral@health.usf.edu, and uploaded to the students documents folder in Box: This must be completed prior to graduation.

 Use of DrPH in Credentials and Publication

Students may only use the credential of “DrPH” after degree conferral is granted. It is inappropriate to use the credential until it is officially and formally granted.  


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