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Degree Division
Clinical Public Health Division

The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) at the University of Toronto is pleased to announce the implementation of a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program – the first ever offered by a Canadian university. The program is aligned with the School’s Academic Plan 2019-2024 and will serve to bolster and strengthen public health and health systems capacity in Canada, and potentially, across the globe. It is especially relevant and timely, as we continue to face increasingly complex and challenging health and health system problems.

While our other doctoral programs are research-intensive, the DrPH focuses on accelerating the use of research evidence to inform practice and policy. As such, the DrPH program offers practice-based training and applied research skills. Students will develop and advance important key leadership, management, and public health practice competencies.

DLSPH is exceptionally well suited to deliver a DrPH program, given our outstanding Faculty with expertise in such areas as health system and public health leadership, evidence appraisal and public health, knowledge translation and implementation, public health policy and ethics, Indigenous health, and global health.

“Toronto Public Health and DLSPH have a long history of support and collaboration in the field of public health practice and research. The addition of this new program that will help to shape future leaders of public health, is an opportunity to enhance this collaborative partnership and demonstrate the importance of public health, both within Toronto and more broadly.” – Dr. Eileen De Villa, Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health

The first cohort of the DrPH program is expected to begin in September 2021 (applications open mid-October 2020). Stay tuned for open houses, information sessions, and an outline of the application process and timelines in the near future. For more information, please review the additional program descriptions and FAQ provided below. Inquiries can be sent to: drph.dlsph@utoronto.ca

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More information will be available during the
DLSPH Virtual Open House on October 17, 2020.

Eligibility and Program Features

We welcome mid-career professionals with relevant Masters-level training (such as a Master of Public Health, Master of Health Sciences, Master of Health Administration, etc.) plus a minimum of 5 years of work experience to apply. The program is designed for working professionals, with online learning components integrated throughout.

  • Length: 4 years (full year), Full-Time
  • Course Work: 6.5 FCE (5.5 FCE core courses and 1.0 FCE elective courses)
  • Field Work: 16-week Applied Research Project (supervised by DLSPH status or adjunct faculty)
  • Assessment: Comprehensive Written Exam and Thesis Dissertation Defense
  • Thesis Dissertation: Applied Practice-Based Research

Note: Coursework will include a range of topics from the following competency areas, guided by the Council on Education for Public Health DrPH Competencies:

  • Data & Analysis
  • Leadership, Management & Governance
  • Policy & Programs
  • Education & Workforce Development

Students may choose to explore other course topics and interests through elective courses.

Application Requirements and Timelines

Applications open October 14, 2020. The application deadline is November 27, 2020 for entry into the program for Fall 2021.

Application requirements generally includes:

Please review our DLSPH Application Instructions for more detailed information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I pursue a PhD or DrPH?

The DrPH is designed for students seeking advanced practice-based training in public health. This could include, but not limited to, interest in pursuing senior leadership roles in relevant government or non-governmental organizations or the private sector.

Can I enroll in the DrPH part-time?

Students are required to maintain Full-time status (i.e. all students must be enrolled in at least 1 course (half or full-credit) or practicum, to maintain their registration in a session, as defined by the School of Graduate Studies).

Students are required to pay the full-time fees, regardless of how many activities in which they are enrolled.

Can I continue working during my DrPH training?

Students can continue to work throughout the program while ensuring to prioritize their DrPH program studies. There will be several sessions, classes, and workshops that you will need to prioritize.

Note: Students must use their discretion to either continue working (and the number of hours possible) or stop working. There are no mandatory requirements for either during the program.

What are the tuition costs?

Tuition is expected to fluctuate from year to year. We anticipate the tuition to be between $25-30,000 CAD (per year) for domestic students and $50-55,000 CAD (per year) for international students. Please check/monitor UofT’s fees website for final tuition costs; this will include additional incidental and administrative fees.

Note: Students enrolled in professional programs at the University of Toronto are commonly supported by their employers (see SGS website for details on “Professional Programs“). As such, we recommend reaching out to your employer(s) in advance to discern the level of support available for subsidizing your tuition costs. Where possible, scholarship and award opportunities will be made available. These can be further discussed upon program acceptance.

Do I need to move to Toronto/Canada to be in this program?

For the first term of classes, you will be required to be available for in-person sessions. You will also need to be in Toronto for two-week intensive sessions at the start and middle of each year of your training; the dates for this will be communicated in advance.

Beyond these requirements, you do not need to be in Toronto for the remainder of the program, contingent on your elective course and applied project placement selections.

Will COVID-19 impact the DrPH program delivery for the inaugural cohort in Fall 2021?

While it’s unclear whether the School will be back to full operations on campus in September 2021, the program does include a combination of online and on-campus course offerings. We will continue to keep prospective students informed as to the decisions the university makes in response to COVID-19, and how this will impact the delivery format for program requirements.

What are the types of applied thesis projects that can be explored in the DrPH program?

There are no specific applied research topics. However, the research topic must address a policy, practice or system problem and therefore must be applied and be of public health and/or health system relevance.

Is there a list of eligible Faculty for the DrPH thesis supervision?

The thesis supervisor must have a primary or cross-appointment in Public Health Sciences (the DLSPH graduate unit administering this program).

Please review the listed Faculty on our School’s website and the IHPME Faculty page for this information. Committee members may include Faculty with other appointments at the University of Toronto.

Can courses previously completed at another institution be accepted for transfer credit?

Courses completed previously may be accepted for transfer credit only when they have not already been counted towards a completed academic program. There are details on the Transfer Credit request form.

Are there opportunities to specialize within the DrPH program?

At present, there are no concentrations or streams within the DrPH. However, DrPH students may consider exploring the DLSPH Collaborative Specializations (offered school-wide). Note: You may apply to the specializations after you have been officially accepted into the DrPH program.

Application-Specific Questions

Can I apply to both the PhD and DrPH program at DLSPH in a given application cycle?

Applicants can apply to multiple DLSPH doctoral programs in a given application cycle.

Can I apply if I have a Masters, but not in public health?

Applicants with both relevant Masters training (e.g. Masters in Health Sciences, Masters in Business Administration) combined with working experience will be considered.

When is the DrPH application due?

The deadline is November 27, 2020 for entry in Fall 2021. Please visit the Application Process page for more information.

Do I need to submit GRE or GMAT scores?

The DrPH application does not require these scores.

Do I need to upload/submit my reference letters?

You do not directly upload letters of reference. Your referees will receive a system-generated email to the email address you provided in your application. You must enter an institutional email address for your references into the online application; a free email address (gmail, yahoo, hotmail) will not be accepted.

Please review the Application Instructions for more information.

Do I have to find/list a thesis supervisor in my application?

You can start thinking about potential supervisors and mention this in your Letter of Intent, but this is not a requirement for the application.

Can I apply to Canadian graduate scholarships (e.g. CGS, Vanier)?

The federal granting agencies do not specify what type of doctoral degree applicants must be pursuing as long as there is significant original and autonomous research (e.g. thesis) being performed at the doctoral level. If you meet all of the eligibility criteria, then you are eligible to apply.

International Applicants

Do I need to apply for a Study Permit?

International students admitted to a degree program must obtain a Study Permit to enter Canada.  Based on the situation for Fall 2020, newly admitted students who begin their studies from abroad, do not require a Study Permit until they are able to enter Canada, but are still be able to activate their UTORid to gain access to university systems, including ACORN and Quercus.  They are able to register (pay fees), and enrol and participate in (online) courses without a Study Permit.  International students with a valid Study Permit may also be able to work in Canada.  See the Centre of International Experience for more information: https://studentlife.utoronto.ca/task/getting-a-work-permit/

Do I need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa?

International students should refer to the Centre of International Experience for more information on visas: https://studentlife.utoronto.ca/task/temporary-resident-visa/

Note: We encourage international applicants to also review FAQs/updates provided by the university: https://www.viceprovoststudents.utoronto.ca/covid-19/#International