The Online Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership

From the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Effect Positive Change in Local and Global Health Care

If you’re ready to step into higher leadership roles in health care, consider the online Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership (DrPH) Program.  

The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health — ranked the No. 2 public school of public health in the United States1 — designed this online program to teach mid- to senior-level public health professionals how to develop their own leadership philosophy and use it to shape public health policy in a wide range of organizations around the world. 

The Gillings School is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health and the University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership at a Glance

49 credits (9 courses)

3 years to complete (part time)

1 practicum project in a relevant organization

1 dissertation (on a current or past public health issue)

Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership Curriculum

The online Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership curriculum teaches students how to conduct and capitalize on practice-based research. During the first two years, you will complete online coursework that focuses on three content areas: leadership, public health and research. 

In the spring or summer of your second year, you will be asked to present and defend your dissertation proposal. At the end of the second year summer, you will take your written comprehensive exams. You will concentrate on your dissertation research
in the third year.

Course Highlights

Core research and skills courses include:

  • Population Perspectives for Health Identify important population health problems, some of which may be appropriate as dissertation topics.
  • Essentials of Practice-Based Research Master fundamental quantitative and qualitative research skills, including formulating research questions, the pros and cons of different study designs, basic statistical techniques and sources of secondary data.
  • Fundamentals of Research Analysis — Consider alternative research methodologies and analytical techniques for different research questions. Focus more heavily on qualitative research, and prepare your formal dissertation proposal.
  • Health Policy Analysis and Advocacy for Leaders Learn the policy analysis and policy making process. Identify strategies you may consider in your dissertation.

Admissions: Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership

The Gillings School of Global Public Health values a diversified cohort that represents a variety of perspectives and experience. The admissions committee evaluates each applicant holistically. GRE scores are not required. Note that meeting the minimum requirements does not ensure admission. 

Admissions Requirements: 

  • A prior master’s or doctoral degree (not necessarily in public health)
  • GPA of at least 3.0 in prior graduate study
  • Full-time employment in the field
  • At least five years of post-graduate experience in the health field, with significant management or leadership responsibilities at the mid- to senior-level

Review a complete list of application requirements and deadlines for the Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership.

Deepen Your Knowledge With Key Leadership Skills

The online Executive Doctoral Program in Health leadership will prepare you for high-level leadership roles in health care, with 28 competencies related to management and government; data and analysis; policy and programs; and education and workplace development.

The Online Learning Experience

Students in this program study completely online. You will receive material (recorded videos, narrative case studies, datasets, readings, etc.) online each week, study these materials on your own time and complete tasks before the weekly, live sessions.  

You will, however, be expected to come to campus three times a year during the first two years, for a total of six on-campus visits during the program. One of the six on-site visits may be to an international site or to another location in the U.S. 

First-year students will attend classes on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time. Second-year students attend classes on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time. 

Additional Online Offerings From UNC-Chapel Hill

In addition to the Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership, UNC-Chapel Hill offers other online education options in health care.




Drive Meaningful Change in Global Public Health Practice

If you’re ready to invest in yourself and in the future of public health as an influential leader, apply to our online Executive Doctoral Program in Health Leadership (DrPH) today.  

Ready to get started?


1 Best Public Health Schools. (2023). U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved October 2023.arrow_upwardReturn to footnote reference