Frequently Asked Questions

Is there financial assistance for PhD students?

  • All PhD in Rural Health Sciences students in good standing receive tuition remission and a paid research assistantship.

Does the program follow a cohort model?

  • Yes, the PhD in Rural Health Sciences follows a cohort model, with annual cohorts beginning each Fall.  Students are not admitted off-cycle.

Can work experience substitute for the requirement of a Master’s or terminal degree?

  • Because of the rigor and accelerated pace of the PhD program, which allows for the attainment of a PhD in 3 years, students must possess a Master’s or terminal degree to gain entry into the program.

Does the program include comprehensive examinations (“comps”)?

  • Yes, comprehensive examinations will occur immediately following completion of academic coursework (e.g., Summer of Year 2) and will involve an examination of: 1) knowledge of rural culture and rural systems; 2) research design and interpretation skills; 3) collaborative project development skills; and 4) an oral assessment of a cumulative portfolio assembled throughout coursework.

What are the ways in which student learning is assessed?

  • Student learning outcomes are assessed through course-based assignments, experiential assessments, a cumulative portfolio, and comprehensive examinations.  In course-based assignments, attainment of student learning outcomes are assessed through a combination of written assignments (e.g., papers, grant proposals), products (e.g., infographics), and examinations.  During experiential courses (i.e., practicum), students are evaluated both by their on-site and faculty supervisors on their performance using a rubric-based performance assessment.  As the student progresses through the program and generates products (e.g., papers, infographics), they will assemble these into a portfolio that is assessed during the oral phase of the comprehensive examination process. 

On which campus is the PhD offered?

  • The PhD in Rural Health Sciences is offered at the Macon campus of Mercer University (main campus).

Where can I learn more about the program’s faculty?

  • Faculty in the PhD in Rural Health Sciences come primarily from the Department of Community Medicine.  Profiles of the Department’s faculty can be viewed here.