SCHEV Approves New PhD in Public Health with Concentrations in Epidemiology and Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mason’s College of Health and Human Services offers Virginia’s first doctoral degree in public health.

The College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) announced August 25 that a new PhD in Public Health degree program with concentrations in Epidemiology and Social and Behavioral Sciences has been approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).  The College will enroll the inaugural cohort of doctoral students in Spring 2021. 

Following a successful external site review held on June 17, 2020, SCHEV granted approval for the new PhD in Public Health degree, a program that will prepare career-ready graduates for academic and research careers in public health.  The external reviewers praised the new degree program, particularly the quality of the College’s faculty and their commitment to research mentoring; the curriculum’s interdisciplinary focus on the social determinants of health; and the hands-on approach for ensuring student success.  The reviewers also noted the existing infrastructure and resources to support the degree program at Mason and within the College, including the Peterson Family Health Sciences Hall and the Population Health Center.  

“I’m delighted with SCHEV’s decision and remain appreciative of their guidance during this process.  Our College is well-positioned to deliver an innovative public health curriculum that will prepare our doctoral-level graduates for academic and research careers so that they have both the knowledge and skillset to deliver health and ensure its equity for all,” said Dr. Germaine Louis, professor and dean of the College. “The COVID-19 pandemic is one example of the need for public health research and evidenced-based practice, but our mission goes further to understand other exposures that affect health and the design of interventions to minimize risky behaviors or to improve disease.  We have the winning combination of expert faculty and motivated students who learn in a transdisciplinary environment.  Our majority-minority student body positions us to understand health from the shared lens of many.”

SCHEV’s approval of the PhD program represents a significant milestone in the College’s overarching goal to become an accredited College of Public Health.  The PhD in Public Health will be offered as a terminal degree in the continuum of current CEPH-accredited degrees, including Bachelor of Science in Community Health and Master of Public Health degrees.

“This is an exciting development that affirms Mason’s commitment to develop comprehensive academic public health at our university and in the Commonwealth.  Particularly important as we confront the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is noteworthy that the College of Health and Human Services is poised to provide our students with a curriculum that promotes their success and develops the range of public health research skills and leadership abilities that employers seek locally and globally,” said Dr. Mark Ginsberg, interim provost and executive vice president at Mason.

Please visit our web site for more information regarding the new PhD program, including program details, how to request more information, and how to apply.

About the College of Health and Human Services

George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services prepares students to become leaders and shape the public's health through academic excellence, research of consequence, community outreach, and interprofessional clinical practice. George Mason is the fastest-growing Research I institution in the country. The College enrolls 2,260 undergraduate and 1,645 graduate students in its nationally-recognized offerings, including: 5 undergraduate degrees, 13 graduate degrees, and 7 certificate programs. For more information, visit