ADDRESS WORLD SUSTAINABILITY PROBLEMS WITH A Ph.D. IN POPULATION, HEALTH AND PLACE
A Public Health Degree that Combines Geography and Sociology
In our innovative interdisciplinary doctoral program, you have the unique opportunity to train with world-class faculty from the USC Dornsife Department of Sociology, the Department of Preventive Medicine of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and the USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute for careers in research, teaching and applied work in sociology (population), preventive medicine (health), and the spatial sciences (place). This PhD program is ideal for scholars interested in the intersections of public health, urban and global health, social and cultural Geography, epidemiology and demography.
Read a sample of USC faculty research from our our interdisciplinary Population, Health, and Place PhD program: Learn about the "Spatial Turn in Health Research" in this Science article by Douglas B. Richardson, Nora D. Volkow, Mei-Po Kwan, Robert M. Kaplan, Michael F. Goodchild, and Robert T. Croyle. Doug Richardson, executive director of the American Association of Geographers, also advocates for "The New Imperative: Spatializing Health Research and Practice."
MEET SOME OF OUR FACULTY
MEET OUR DOCTORAL STUDENTS
Applications to start the Population, Health and Place Ph.D. program in 2021-2022 will open in August 2020. Applications must be complete by December 1, 2020.
An application information session for doctoral programs will be held in September 2020. View the 2018 information session. For more information, please email Ken Watson, Spatial Sciences Institute Academic Programs Director, or call him at (213) 740-8298.
- conducting research and creating policies and programs needed to promote human well-being and sustainability in the academic, public, private, and not-for-profit sectors;
- developing versatility with large data sets and varied modeling and computation approaches and applying them to population and health problems in meaningful and predictive contexts;
- becoming faculty in research universities; or
- working as researchers and policy officials in social- and health-related government agencies and NGOs.
The first and fifth year are funded by fellowships, with the second, third, and fourth years funded by research assistantships and/or teaching assistantships. The benefit of this approach is that you are relieved of research and/or teaching responsibilities in your first year to concentrate on your coursework and on developing your dissertation topic, and in your fifth and final year to concentrate on completing your dissertation for our doctoral programs.
After students complete the two core courses, SSCI 600: The Geography of Life and Death and SSCI 601ab: Population, Health and Place Research Practicum, students have a wide choice of courses from which they can satisfy the remainder of their course work. Choices include courses in preventive medicine, sociology, and spatial sciences, as well as other schools and departments throughout USC which offer graduate courses.
Students complete two research rotations as well as courses in biostatistics, demography, epidemiology, and spatial sciences, with additional course work required according to specialty area and/or dissertation topic.
The qualifying examination evaluates the student’s ability to conduct independent scholarship and research. The student is evaluated based on oral and written presentation of: (1) a written review paper or written exam, and (2) the dissertation proposal. The qualifying examination is planned, administered, and evaluated by the student’s guidance committee. It should be taken no later than during the spring semester in the second year of the program.
Many of the faculty with the Population, Health and Place doctoral programs have research interests and needs that would benefit from students working at the intersection of population science, public health, and the spatial sciences. One of the first goals for students admitted to the program will be to gather information so they can assess whether or not there are opportunities which match or align with their goals and aspirations.
We also anticipate that some students of the doctoral programs will propose their own topics and come with the goal that they will build support among one or more faculty to join them in their work while they pursue their doctoral programs, and we support such an approach.
- Construct and apply qualitative and quantitative approaches for mapping and modeling how genetics, the environment, and human behaviors influence human well-being.
- Construct and evaluate integrated applications that combine geospatial data and applications for processing that data.
- Apply appropriate and relevant spatial analysis techniques to address spatial health problems.
- Critically evaluate the types of models that will be required in the future to effectively manage land, water, air and biotic resources, assess environmental risks, and promote human health and well-being.
- Execute research, communicate and analyze research findings in social demography and the value of demographic perspectives for the analysis of population change and human well-being.
- Select, apply and evaluate statistical methods in clinical, public health, epidemiological, and experimental research.
- Produce a publishable-quality manuscript(s) on research findings that includes stating a problem and research question, identifying relevant literature, detailing a methodology, reporting results and reaching conclusions.
Consult the USC Schedule of Classes for course listings of all graduate programs in public health including our PhD in Population, Health, and Place.
Jennifer A. Ailshire, Assistant Professor of Gerontology and Spatial Sciences: social stratification; urban sociology; health & aging; neighborhood environment & health
Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, Professor of Preventive Medicine: cultural and lifestyle risk factors for cancer and tobacco control at the community level; gender and ethnic minority health; health promotion and disease prevention; community engagement
Tracy (Theresa) Bastain, Assistant Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine: air pollution exposures and respiratory outcomes; environmental health; prenatal exposures and outcomes; obesity
Timothy Biblarz, Associate Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies: family sociology; stratification & social mobility; gender & sexuality; demography; statistics
Carrie Breton, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine: epidemiologic methods; environmental health & epigenetics
Lynne Casper, Professor of Sociology: family sociology; family demography; work, family & health; gender, work, & family; family change & variation; social demography; quantitative methods
Yao-Yi Chiang, Associate Professor (Research) of Spatial Sciences: geospatial data integration; digital map processing; graphics recognition; pattern recognition; image processing
Myles G. Cockburn, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine and Spatial Sciences: health GIS; cancer epidemiology; environmental epidemiology; melanoma; prostate cancer
Michael R. Cousineau, Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine: health care reform; access to care; health services utilization and quality of care; cost control; public hospitals and other safety net providers; vulnerable populations, including the homeless and immigrant children
Juan De Lara, Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity: environmental justice and political ecology; race, power and data; Latinx geographies; social movements; urban political economy
Genevieve Dunton, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine: health behaviors; physical activity; stress; obesity; built environment; GPS; real-time data capture; cultural and lifestyle risk factors for cancer and tobacco control at the community level; gender and ethnic minority health; health promotion and disease prevention; community engagement
Laura Ferguson, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine: health system and health services; human rights and health outcomes; sub-Saharan Africa issues including HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and child health
Brian Finch, Professor (Research) of Sociology and Spatial Sciences: social demography; social epidemiology; social stratification & inequality; social statistics
Steven D. Fleming, Professor of the Practice of Spatial Sciences: GIS, human geography; remote sensing
Meredith Franklin, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine: spatial and environmental statistics; atmospheric science
W. James Gauderman, Professor of Preventive Medicine: biostatistics; cancer epidemiology; environmental & genetic epidemiology
Frank D. Gilliland, Professor of Preventive Medicine: respiratory health & cancer epidemiology; adverse respiratory effects of air pollution & tobacco smoke exposures; determinants of environmental & occupational lung disease & cancer
Sofia Gruskin, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Law: global health; health and human rights; HIV/AIDS; sexual and reproductive health; child and adolescent health; gender-based violence and health systems
Rima Habre, Assistant Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine: air pollution exposures and respiratory outcomes; use of mHealth technologies
Jill Johnston, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine: environmental health and justice in disadvantaged urban and rural neighborhoods; community engagement with exposure and epidemiology; industrial activities and assessing exposure pathways to pollutants
Jennifer Hook, Associate Professor of Sociology and Spatial Sciences: gender inequality; family demography; work-family; social policy; comparative sociology
Su Jin Lee, Lecturer of Spatial Sciences: GIS; remote sensing; human and environmental interaction; solar radiation modeling; terrain analysis; LULC changes
Lihua Liu, Associate Professor of Clinical Preventive Medicine: demography; medical sociology; cancer surveillance; spatial distribution
Laura C. Loyola, Lecturer of Spatial Sciences: GIS; human and evolutionary biology; anthropology; remote sensing
Rob S. McConnell, Professor of Preventive Medicine: health effects of environmental exposures, including cardiorespiratory, metabolic & neurological outcomes in children; air pollution
Joshua Millstein, Assistant Professor of Research Preventive Medicine: statistical methods for causal inference; permutation-based false discovery rates; methods for identifying genes involved in epistatic interactions
Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity: economic, environmental, & social conditions facing low-income urban communities; social movements; regional equity; social justice
Katsuhiko Oda, Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Spatial Sciences: spatial thinking; GIS education; GIS; walkability; spatial cognition
Ann Owens, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Spatial Sciences: spatial analysis; quantitative analysis; urban sociology; social stratification; social policy
Maryann Pentz, Professor of Preventive Medicine: community & policy approaches to tobacco, alcohol, & drug abuse prevention in youth; health promotion; disease prevention; cancer control
Darren M. Ruddell, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Spatial Sciences: geospatial technologies; climate & society; human-environment Interactions; geodesign; urban sustainability
Stephen G. Sanko, Assistant Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine and Spatial Sciences: emergency medicine; cardiovascular disease; emergency medicine services and dispatch
Josh Seim, Assistant Professor of Sociology: governance of poverty and suffering; medical sociology; sociology of punishment; urban sociology; sociology of labor; ethnography
Emily Smith-Greenaway, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Spatial Sciences: infant & child mortality; demography; African studies; health services
Jennifer Swift, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Spatial Sciences: web and mobile GIS; data modeling; geodesign
Jennifer Unger, Profesor of Preventive Medicine: health disparities; psychosocial and cultural predictors of adolescent health-risk and health-protective behaviors
Robert O. Vos, Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Spatial Sciences: industrial ecology; GIS assessment of carbon footprinting; environmental politics & policy
John P. Wilson, Professor of Sociology and Spatial Sciences: GIS; spatial analysis; environmental modeling; exposure assessment; geodesign
An-Min Wu, Lecturer of Spatial Sciences: soil science; geospatial technology; remote sensing; environmental GIS
SCHOLARSHIPS, FELLOWSHIPS, AND GRANTS
Phd in Population, Public Health and Place doctoral students are encouraged to apply for external funding and receive support to prepare competitive applications.
- American Association of Geographers
- American Association of University Women International Fellowship
- Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship
- Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad
- Haynes Lindley Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
- Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans
- Society of Women Geographers
- The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Dissertation Fellowships