Academics Curriculum

The three-year, multidisciplinary curriculum for our Rural Health Sciences Ph.D. program requires 64 hours to complete, including 40 hours of traditional didactics/seminar, six hours of field-based practicum and at least 18 hours of dissertation. The curriculum draws from the fields of medicine, psychology, sociology, epidemiology, statistics, communication, management, economics and political science.

All Ph.D. students spend a summer semester immersed in a medically underserved rural Georgia community to design, implement and evaluate the impact of a novel health promotion initiative and will additionally complete their dissertation research within a rural Georgia community.

Program Competencies

Upon completing the Ph.D. in Rural Health Sciences, students will be able to:

  • Incorporate knowledge of rural culture, demography, sociology, health care systems and health equity into rural health efforts (Rural Culture and Systems)
  • Engage rural communities in collaborative efforts to improve health and well being at the individual, family, organizational, policy and systems levels (Community Collaboration)
  • Communicate health information effectively with a wide range of stakeholders at varying levels of health literacy (Health Communication and Health Literacy)
  • Utilize systems thinking to assess the needs and assets of a rural community, develop a corresponding plan of action, secure funding for the plan and implement the plan (Program Development)
  • Design, conduct and disseminate rigorous, multidisciplinary research designed to improve the health of rural communities (Research)
  • Manage organizations and programs focused on improving the health status of rural communities (Organizational Planning and Program Management)