College of Public Health Guidebooks

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DrPH Qualifying Examination

Per USF Graduate Catalog: As soon as the substantial majority of the coursework is completed, the student must pass a written qualifying examination covering the subject matter in the major and related fields. This examination may be supplemented by an oral examination. Students must be enrolled for a minimum of two (2) hours of graduate credit in their discipline at the time they take the qualifying examination. If the exam is taken between semesters, students must be enrolled for a minimum of two (2) hours of graduate credit in the semester before or following the exam.

 

 Description of the DrPH Qualifying Exam

2014-2016 Catalogs

When all required coursework is satisfactorily completed (including tools of research and prerequisites), the student must pass a written comprehensive qualifying examination covering the subject matter in the major and related fields. Exam questions will be generated by the DrPH Admissions and Advisory Committee. The exam will be administered and evaluated by the student’s DrPH Dissertation Committee. Results of the written exam will be communicated in writing to the student within 15 working days of the examination. If all or part of the exam is failed, the student will have one more opportunity to retake the exam. After successful completion of the qualifying exam and appropriate paperwork is submitted to and approved by the Office of Graduate Studies, the student is admitted to candidacy and may register for dissertation hours in the semester following Office of Graduate Studies approval. 

2017 Catalog-Present

When the majority of the student's coursework is satisfactorily completed, the student must pass a qualifying examination. The student is required to submit a written Doctoral Project Plan describing the proposed doctoral project, followed by an oral examination that relates the content, approach, and deliverables of the project to the DrPH curriculum domains in the student's concentration. The examination will be administered and evaluated by the student’s doctoral project committee. The student must enroll in at least two credits in the semester the exam is completed.

Please note that a DrPH student should not submit the "Admission to Candidacy" form to USF–it is not required in the 2017 program. Once the qualifying exam is approved, the student must submit the DrPH Qualifying Exam Completion Form to the College (see process below).

 Qualifying Exam Process and Evaluation

Once the majority of the student's coursework is satisfactorily completed, the student will first complete the Qualifying Examination Application to ensure they are eligible to move forward. In order to qualify to take the exam, students must:

  • Attain an overall and degree program GPA of 3.00 at USF at the of the exam
  • Not have any "I" or "M" grades (this includes "IF" and "MF" grades)
  • Be enrolled in a minimum of (2) credit hours during the semester in which the exam is taken.

Once the Qualifying Exam is completed successfully, students must complete the Qualifying Exam Completion form and submit to cophdoctoral@health.usf.edu.

Written Part of the Qualifying Exam

The qualifying exam will consist of a written Doctoral Project Plan that describes the proposed doctoral project, followed by an oral examination that relates the content, approach, and deliverables of the project to the DrPH competencies in the student's concentration. The examination will be administered and evaluated by the student's doctoral project committee.

The student should begin working with their Major Professor early in the program to develop ideas for their doctoral project.  The student should then work with the Major Professor and other committee members as needed on completing the Doctoral Project Plan prior to submission for evaluation. The written Doctoral Project Plan must follow the guidelines described here and will be evaluated based on the Doctoral Project Plan Rubric found here.

Once approved by the Major Professor, the student will notify the committee members of intention to be examined on the Doctoral Project Plan and will schedule the oral examination with the committee members at a mutually agreeable time. The oral examination can take place via electronic means of communication if the student is unable to be physically present at the Tampa campus. The student must submit the final draft of the written Doctoral Project Plan to the committee members a minimum of two weeks prior to the scheduled oral examination.

Oral Part of the Qualifying Exam

On the day of the oral part of the Qualifying Exam, students present their written Doctoral Project Plan:

  • The Chair of the Doctoral Committee will introduce the student.
  • Student will conduct the oral presentation of the proposed Doctoral Project (not to exceed 35 minutes)
  • First round of questions by committee members.
  • Second round of questions by committee members.
  • Final round of questions by committee if desired.

Following the qualifying exam, the committee members convene to make the final determination of the appropriateness of the doctoral project being proposed and to deliberate recommendations for changes.  The rubric for the oral exam can be found here.

When a student passes the Qualifying Exam his/her committee may still require modifications to the Doctoral Project Plan at a later date. The committee must approve changes to the Doctoral Project if the student initiates them.

  • The oral examination will consist of questions and clarification on the content, approach, and deliverables of the proposal, as well as questions on how the proposal demonstrates synthesis of competencies across the domains in the student's concentration. Typical questions for the concentration in Advanced Practice Leadership in Public Health could include:
  • How does the proposed project engage the community? Explain how your content, approach, and deliverables are grounded in your knowledge of community engagement.
  • How does the proposed project develop the leadership skills or management goals of yourself or others connected to your project? Explain how your content, approach, and deliverables are grounded in your knowledge of the development of leadership skills, and how organizations and systems are managed.
  • How does the proposed project provide for the communication and education needed for transforming public health practice? Explain how your content, approach, and deliverables are grounded in your knowledge of communication and education in public health practice.
  • How are the approach, procedures, and deliverables of your project evidence-based? Explain how your content, approach, and deliverables are grounded in research evidence and methodology, and/or in evidence-based program or policy evaluation or program delivery methods.

 

 Qualifying Examination Forms

DrPH Qualifying Exam Application

In order to take the qualifying exam, you must first complete the DrPH Qualifying Exam Completion Form and submit to cophdoctoral@health.usf.edu to ensure that you are eligible to move forward

DrPH Qualifying Exam Completion Form

Once you have satisfactorily completed your qualifying exam, you must submit your Qualifying Exam Completion form to cophdoctoral@health.usf.edu.

 


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