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Ph.D. in Health Sciences

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In many health science areas, a significant shortage of professors and clinical scientific leaders exist to replace and fill much-needed positions now and in the future. To meet the shortfall of faculty and clinical research scientists, this Ph.D. degree focuses on specific areas of health sciences including kinesiology, social work, nursing, and communication sciences and disorders. The program prepares individuals for careers in research, academia and industry.

You’ll be admitted to a specific area of emphasis based on a declared department or unit affiliation. Each track will have a total of 18 hours of emphasis courses and a research seminar class each semester designed to develop the student’s research interest within that area of emphasis. A major advisor will be assigned to each student and will guide the types of emphasis courses based on the program of study. You will also select a research mentor, either at the beginning of the program or as soon as you identify your research interest area.

For more information about the Ph.D. in Health Sciences, visit the TCU graduate catalog.

All applicants must meet the general requirements for admission to the Graduate School. In addition to these general requirements, Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences requires the following for admission to the Ph.D. program:

  1.  A minimum 3.5 grade point average (GPA) on all prior graduate level course work is strongly preferred.
  2. A completed course in statistics (adequacy will be evaluated by the committee).
  3. A completed graduate level research course.
  4. A completed master’s degree or higher in a related field from a program accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting body.
  5. A completed thesis or comparable project from the master’s or higher prepared degree.
  6. Three letters of recommendation. Two of the three must be academic references with at least one of those from a previous graduate program faculty member or administrator
  7. A letter discussing research interest area(s) and professional goals.
  8. A current license to practice in related field of study in the U.S. if applicable to the discipline
  9. A curriculum vita or resume

Applicants who do not meet the 3.5 GPA requirement but have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on prior graduate-level coursework may be considered for provisional admission on an individual basis. Factors that will be considered in the admission decision are GPA on graduate-level coursework, research interest, scholarly activities, professional leadership and work history.

All materials must be submitted by Feb. 1, 11:59 p.m. CST, for admission consideration for the following fall semester.

Grade Requirements

A grade of B or better is required in all Ph.D. coursework.  A grade of F in any course will be grounds for dismissal from the program. A student who has earned a grade lower than B in two Ph.D. courses at the graduate level or who has earned a grade lower than B twice in the same graduate-level course will be removed from the program. For the purpose of removal, a grade of less than B is counted even if the course has been successfully repeated.

If a student is admitted to the doctoral program provisionally based on low GPA, he or she must complete the first eight semester credit hours of coursework with a grade of B or better in each course. A provisionally-admitted student will be dismissed from the program if a grade of B- or lower is made in any course during the probationary period.


Teaching Requirements

Teaching undergraduate courses is considered an important part of the graduate training program. Each student is required to participate in four semesters of teaching. In order to teach in years two and three of the Ph.D. program, each student must successfully meet the Pedagogy I and II class requirements and pass each of those courses before moving into the teaching phase.


Residency Requirements

Students are expected to complete a minimum of four consecutive regular semesters of full-time graduate study at TCU. Full-time study is defined as full-time commitment to the discipline as determined by the department. Doctoral students holding appointments as teaching fellows or research assistants are considered full-time students for purposes of the residency requirement, provided that the time beyond that required by their appointment is devoted fully to their graduate program. In order to graduate, students must be registered in at least one hour of dissertation during the semester in which they complete degree requirements and demonstrate enrollment in the semester prior to degree completion as well.


Written and Oral Comprehensive Examinations

After all courses are complete, each student must pass a written and oral comprehensive examination with an examination board of faculty. These examinations will be written with an oral examination follow-up and will be scheduled for the summer after completion of coursework. Ordinarily, the written and oral comprehensive exams should be completed within one academic semester (including summer) of completing coursework.


Candidacy Requirements

Upon successful completion of the written and oral comprehensive examinations, a student is accepted to Ph.D. candidacy. The maximum period allowable between matriculation and acceptance is three years. Once in candidacy, a student will have three years to complete the dissertation requirements successfully. This period may only be extended with the approval of the doctoral committee, program director and Harris College associate dean of research.


Dissertation Requirements

The dissertation is based on the successful completion of an original research project. Each student presents a Harris College seminar on the dissertation research and defends the dissertation in an oral examination before the student’s supervisory committee. Twelve credit hours are required for the dissertation.


Course Catalog


Program Leadership by Discipline

Emily Lund, Ph.D. — Program Director

Anthony DiLollo, Ph.D.Communication Sciences & Disorders

Peter Weyand, Ph.D.Kinesiology

Suzy Lockwood, Ph.D. — Nursing

Nada Elias-Lambert, Ph.D.Social Work