Is your dissertation the only thing standing between you and your doctorate? Transfer your doctoral coursework, complete your research, and earn your doctorate through our online PhD completion program.

Our PhD dissertation completion program is designed specifically for returning doctoral degree candidates who have completed all coursework for a PhD, except the prospectus and dissertation process, at an accredited university.

With our PhD completion program, you’ll:

  • Receive step-by-step guidance from a faculty mentor who will advise you during the research process and keep you on track through continuous feedback.
  • Attend two intensive in-person writing workshops designed to prepare you for successful completion of your dissertation.
  • Obtain support with your research and scholarly writing through our Center for Research Quality, Writing Center, online library, and other doctoral support programs.
  • Complete your dissertation online while you balance current work and family commitments.

You’ll also have the opportunity to progress through the dissertation completion process with a cohort of students. Attend the residencies with your cohort and enjoy greater opportunities for peer support, networking, and collaboration.

Admission Requirements

Your coursework from another institution must fit within these time frames:

  • No more than 5 years since you were last enrolled in a doctoral program
  • Only coursework completed in the last 10 years is eligible for transfer of credit
  • You must have completed all doctoral coursework at the prior institution, with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • You must not have been academically dismissed from your prior institution.
  • You must complete a phone or video interview with Walden
  • GRE or GMAT scores (no minimum score or time limit)

You’ll also need to submit the following documents:

  • A Walden application form
  • Transcripts showing your completed coursework in the program of study from your previous doctoral program
  • A written statement on your intent to complete doctoral programs (i.e., role of degree in your career path) and your planned focus for your dissertation
  • One letter of reference (academic or professional)
  • Scholarly work sample (optional)

Program guidelines, processes, and procedures:

  • Milestones and time to completion: Students will complete a learning agreement contract with their faculty mentor. This contract will include the specific milestones and gateways that must be followed for the students to be successful in completing the dissertation process. Students will be allotted up to 3 years to complete the dissertation, but will be encouraged to complete the dissertation within 1 to 2 years. Students who cannot complete the dissertation within 3 years will be academically dismissed from the program.
  • Faculty mentor and dissertation committee: Each student’s dissertation will be guided by a dissertation committee consisting of the faculty mentor as chair, a faculty member, and a University Research Reviewer (URR). Program leadership appoints all committee members.
  • Prospectus: Students will develop a prospectus that provides the framework for the topic, problem, research questions, literature review, research method/design, data collection, and analysis procedures. Once the prospectus is approved by the faculty mentor, committee, and program director, the student—with guidance from the faculty mentor—will develop a draft proposal that outlines the problem, literature, and methodology. APA format templates for both the prospectus and dissertation are available.
  • Oral presentation: Once the proposal has been approved by the mentor, there will be a telephone oral presentation for committee review and evaluation. After the proposal has been approved, the student may proceed to the IRB process.
  • Completion/final review: After the IRB application has been approved, the student may begin data collection and develop the final chapters (presentation of the data; and summary, conclusions, and recommendations). This will be followed by a final telephone oral presentation. All documents must be in APA style and meet university form and style requirements. If problems arise, at the discretion of the faculty mentor, the student will engage an APA editor at the student's expense. Once the dissertation meets all of the requirements, it will be forwarded to Walden’s chief academic officer (CAO) for final review/approval.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates who complete their dissertation through this program will be prepared to:

  1. Utilize critical-thinking and assessment skills in order to analyze barriers, assess needs, and advance the knowledge and practice of public health.
  2. Evaluate and apply population-based theories and strategies used in the prevention of disease and disability.
  3. Lead and inform professional communication, marketing, and public relations on key issues in public health.
  4. Apply fiscal and organizational tenets to public health program leadership.
  5. Demonstrate advanced competency in health informatics and surveillance techniques used in public health programs.
  6. Apply public health research to promote positive social change concerning the health of diverse populations.

Career Impact

Dramatic changes in our nation’s healthcare delivery system, coupled with a national emphasis on disease prevention and healthy living, are prompting a growing demand for highly qualified public health scholars, researchers, and leaders.

Whether you’re interested in conducting research, raising public awareness of health issues, managing healthcare organizations, or contributing to policy development, the public health field offers an exciting array of career possibilities.

Career options include:*

  • Health department director
  • Health officer
  • Public health information officer
  • Biostatistician
  • Epidemiologist
  • Health policy advisor
  • Public health researcher
  • Faculty/professor
  • Post-doctoral fellow
  • Global health professional/consultant
  • Public health consultant
  • Public health policy advisor

Top Public Health Employers

The field of public health touches numerous sectors, from government agencies to business organizations to charities. Some of the major public health employers in America today include:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Academia
  • Managed care organizations
  • State and local public health departments
  • Hospitals and medical facilities
  • Nonprofits
  • Corporate sector

Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. employs approximately 100,000 health educators, community health workers, and epidemiologists in traditional public health settings. The first two categories are each projected to grow 21% by the year 2022.†

*Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

†Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014–2015 Edition, Health Educators and Community Health Workers, on the Internet at (viewed online March 11, 2015). National long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.


Anita Alston-Ellis

Anita Alston Ellis

PhD in Public Health Graduate / PMP Certificate Student
I chose Walden University because I was highly impressed with its versatile curriculum and its emphasis on academic integrity, research, and social change.
Walden’s social change mission was very inspiring and guided me throughout my study.
The most rewarding aspect of pursuing my degree at Walden University is that I am in control of my future.
Edward Irobi MPH Graduate / PhD in Public Health Student
Edward Irobi
Raymond Chimezie PhD in Public Health Graduate
Ray Chimezie
Tira Wallace MPH Student
Tira Wallace

3-Year Maximum Timeframe
Dissertation Completion students have 3 years to complete their doctoral degree requirements. See the policy in the Walden University Student Handbook. Students may petition to extend the 3-year maximum timeframe, but an extension is not guaranteed.

Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, or health issues; leaves of absence; or other personal circumstances.

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Questions about our PhD in Public Health - Completion Program?
Questions about our PhD in Public Health - Completion Program?
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