May 27, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Doctor of Philosophy in Health Sciences

The college-wide Ph.D. program emphasizes an interprofessional orientation to research and practice as students work with graduate faculty members from across the college. The Ph.D. prepares students from a wide range of health and human sciences fields to function effectively as scholars and researchers within academic and practice settings. Doctoral students participate in shared learning across online seminars and research tools courses by making connections to health topics from the perspectives of multiple disciplines. Students complete an individualized program of study that is tailored to individual needs before taking the candidacy examination and conducting a dissertation under the supervision of a dissertation director(s). The residency requirement is fulfilled through limited face-to-face meetings for core program courses. Admission and course requirements are detailed under the program page.


A student seeking admission to the Ph.D. program must be admitted to the Graduate School, submit three letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Scores on the GRE are waived for applicants who have earned a graduate degree with a GPA of 3.50 or higher from an accredited institution.

Course requirements

Completion of this degree requires a minimum of 45 semester hours of graduate course work at NIU beyond the graduate credits earned toward the student’s master’s degree.

Individualized Program of Study (12)

All students are required to complete an individualized program of study related to their professional areas of interest. Proposed course work must be pre-approved by the student’s advisor. Additional course work may be required.

Additional Requirements

All students must complete a research ethics milestone prior to admission to the candidacy examination. Students fulfill the requirement by demonstrating competency with ethical decision-making in the context of designing and implementing research for scientific and clinical communities. The research ethics training and assessment are available online.

Candidacy Examination (1)

A student must receive approval from their graduate committee to take the candidacy examination. The candidacy examination is a written examination based on the core courses and the student’s individual program of study. Upon satisfactory completion of the candidacy examination the student is admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The examining committee may allow a student who fails a candidacy exam to repeat it after a period of time determined by the committee. A student who fails the candidacy examination a second time or is not granted permission for a second attempt will not be permitted to continue work toward the doctorate and admission to the doctoral program is terminated.

Doctoral Research and Dissertation (12)

Oral Defense of Dissertation

A final oral examination related to the dissertation is required and is conducted in accordance with the general requirements of the Graduate School.