Oct 22, 2021  
Graduate Catalog 2020-21 
    
Graduate Catalog 2020-21 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences


Nickola W. Nelson PhD., Director
2584 CHHS Building
Telephone: (269) 387-7990
Fax: (269) 387-8912

The Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences (IHS) is designed to prepare Health and Human Service professionals for careers in research, teaching, and leadership. Several national commissions, including the Pew Health Professions Commission and the National Commission on Allied Health, have challenged higher educational institutions to respond to fundamental changes in health and related systems by designing more flexible curricula, removing disciplinary boundaries, and increasing research.  The College of Health and Human Services has met this challenge by developing a three-strand curriculum - research, policy and service delivery, and pedagogy - all with a focus on interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving. In order to meet the needs of working professionals, the courses are delivered through a hybrid of e-learning modalities and intensive on-campus weekend and summer sessions. Students enter the program as a cohort once every two years (in even years) and can complete the didactic sequence in two years. Comprehensive examinations and dissertation research can be completed in an additional two to three years. 

Admission requirements

Students are admitted to the program as a cohort every two years, in even-numbered years, based on a competitive written application and face-to face interview process. Applicants to the program are expected to meet, as a minimum, the entrance requirements of the Graduate College and to document:

  1. Two years of professional experience in a field relevant to health and human services.
  2. Master’s degree with a minimum graduate grade point average of 3.25/4.00.
  3. Completion of the Graduate Record Examination.
  4. Completion of at least one graduate level course in statistical methods, with a minimum of a grade B within the past 10 years (can be completed after acceptance and prior to first enrollment).
  5. Computer competency in databases, word-processing, spreadsheets, and Internet use.

Application must be made through the WMU online graduate application system. This allows all students (domestic and international) to submit required information into one system. The PhD program in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences uses a competitive admissions process, based on information provided about the student’s academic and clinical background, and content and writing skills observed in their narrative statements. Letters of recommendation from three academic or professional sources also are required. Finalists participate in on-campus interviews. Approximately 12 applicants are invited to enroll with each cohort, including no more than three from any one discipline.

Program Requirements


Required courses are presented in sequential order, so that the didactic portion of the curriculum can be completed in two years. Students are required to:

1. Attend a week-long, on-campus Orientation session.


This session is in the Summer II session of the student’s year of admission, during which they are familiarized with program expectations and the University’s resources and complete their first course (IHS 6240).

2. Complete, with a 3.25 grade point average, a total of 64 semester hours of credit as follows:


Pre-dissertation Seminar (1 hour)


Dissertation Research (12 hours)


Total 64 hours**


**Note that this is the minimum number of hours to complete the program. Students are required to maintain residency by enrolling in at least one credit hour per session or semester after completing the required course sequence at the end of summer II session beginning their third year in the program. If they take longer to complete their comprehensive examinations or dissertation, they will take more than 64 hours to complete the degree.

3. Successfully complete a 4-part Comprehensive Examination.


Comprehensive examinations are performance-based and include the submission of (1) a research paper for publication, (2) policy analysis (with oral defense), (3) competitive grant proposal, and (4) teaching portfolio describing development and delivery of a university-level course.

4. Residency


Maintain residency after completing all required academic courses by registering for at least one credit hour of pre-dissertation seminar (IHS 6970) or, if eligible, dissertation (IHS 7300) every semester including both summer sessions until graduation, starting in fall semester at the beginning of the third year following admission to the program.

5. Successfully complete a doctoral dissertation


The dissertation entails completion, written documentation, and oral defense of a research project approved by the student’s dissertation committee. Students may elect to use the traditional five-chapter format or prepare three stand-alone journal articles with an introduction and conclusion chapter to constitute the five chapter dissertation.

Financial Assistance


The College of Health and Human Services offers financial support through half-time doctoral research associateships for a limited number of students during their academic coursework. Contact the program director for details.

Disciplinary Cognate (9 hours)


The student designs the cognate to meet his/her own learning objectives, with advisor input and approval by the Academic Affairs Committee. Cognate courses may be taken at other accredited graduate institutions.