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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Frequently Asked QuestionsLiving in Chapel Hill
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What is it like to live in Chapel Hill (including the cost of living)?
The Chapel Hill area is a wonderful place to live. Try one of these links for more information:
How can I learn about affordable housing?
Try one of these links for housing information:
How can I get around Chapel Hill?
The bus system in Chapel Hill and Carrboro is convenient and free. For its schedule, as well as the schedule for the Triangle Transit Authority (e.g., bus to the airport), please check the following web site:
Why should I establish North Carolina residency and how do I do that?
If it is appropriate to do so, establish North Carolina residency as soon as possible. Becoming a North Carolina citizen will significantly reduce your cost of tuition. To do so, you will need to:
How do I obtain a North Carolina driver's license and license plates?
Go to the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles website for more information.
What is parking like at UNC?
Parking near the School of Public Health is very limited. However, there are multiple free parking lots that offer regular bus service. In addition, the bus system operates with no fares. See the UNC Department of Public Safety.
What is it like for international students to live in Chapel Hill?
Students are required to check in at the University's International Student and Scholar Services before classes begin. The Center provides resources and support for international students and their families.
In addition, the University Writing Center offers ESL services, including Writing Groups specifically for non-native speakers of English.
A Writing Group consists of 4-9 writers who are working on a similar tasks. You
will meet for a hour every week or two weeks with an English as a Second Language Specialist group
leader from the Writing Center. Undergraduate, graduate, and exchange students and postdoctoral scholars are
Most students write a traditional doctoral dissertation. However, students have the option of writing the dissertation in the form of three papers. The three-paper dissertation option has the benefit of directing the student's effort towards the ultimate goal of publishing. However, this option generally requires more effort than a traditional dissertation. Students are encouraged to discuss this option with their dissertation advisor.
What datasets exist on campus that might be good to consider using for my dissertation?
How long does it take for most students to complete their PhD?
The curriculum has been structured for students to finish their PhDs in 4 years. The first two years involve coursework, at which point they take their comprehensive examinations. After passing their comprehensive examinations, students devote concentrated time to their dissertation research.
Do students publish from their dissertations?
While students choosing the three-paper option will, by definition, submit three papers to journals, most students publish 2-3 papers from their dissertation research.
What types of positions do graduates take?
The positions vary depending on students' interests, background and degree. Recent graduates have taken positions as faculty in Schools of Public Health and Medicine; post-doctoral Fellows; researchers in non-University settings (e.g., Centers for Disease Control, American Cancer Society), and administrators in state organizations. See a list of students and their employers.
How do I become engaged in research?
Your advisor will be an important source of information about research opportunities. HPM has strong affiliations that benefit students in their courses, dissertations, funding, and research experience. At UNC, we have close ties with researchers in various Departments within the Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, and Business.
In addition, several research centers also provide important resources for graduate students, including funding, office space, computing facilities, seminars, data, and grant writing support. These research centers include the Sheps Center for Health Services Research, Carolina Population Center, Institute on Aging, Lineberger Cancer Center, Odum Institute for Research in Social Sciences, and the The Center for Global Initiatives. In addition, the close proximity of both Duke University and the Research Triangle provides additional opportunities for students to participate in research. The Research at Carolina website is an excellent resource for information about these centers, as well as many other aspects of research. More detailed information about the research environment can be found in our Guidelines and Procedures manual.back to top
What does the Department require in terms of teaching?
To fulfill the teaching requirement, students must register for HPM 871 -- Seminar in Teaching Health Policy and Management -- for credit and be a paid teaching assistant for at least one course some time before graduation.
Are there additional opportunities for teaching?
Yes. Students who are interested in additional experience may be a teaching assistant more than once (either for the same course or for different courses). Some PhD students may become Teaching Fellows, that is, graduate students who have primary responsibility (including grading) for a freestanding course or a section of a multi-section course. Becoming a Teaching Fellow is optional for interested and qualified doctoral students. Permission of the student's advisor is required.
Is there an opportunity for field training for the internship requirement?
While neither field training nor internships are required, we strongly encourage students to participate in shadowing. Because many PhD students have little exposure to venues relevant to their research, we have established the opportunity for students to have a formal shadowing experience with a preceptor (e.g., clinician, policy analyst, senior manager). Benefits of shadowing to the students include: (1) gaining an appreciation of a venue relevant to the dissertation (and subsequent research); (2) formulating a research question with greater policy and/or management relevance; (3) learning to work with preceptors from different disciplines; and (4) establishing a relationship with a preceptor who may serve on the dissertation committee. More information about this activity can be found in our Guidelines and Procedures manual.
What should I do if I get a tuition bill when I know I am being covered as a research or teaching assistant position that is supposed to cover tuition?
Sign the back of the form pledging you have support and send it in immediately. Failure to submit the form to the Cashier's Office by the deadline will result in cancellation of your registration.
Do I have to pay student fees?
Yes. All students must pay student fees. Under extremely limited circumstances, some students may qualify for fee waivers. The schedule of student fees is available from the University Finance Division. Students may qualify for additional financial aid and/or assistance in paying these fees through the University's Office of Scholarships and Student Aid.
What funding is provided by the Department?
Doctoral students receive funding from a variety of sources, including research assistantships, teaching assistantships, Graduate School Fellowships, pre-Doctoral dissertation grants from UNC research centers and federal government agencies, international awards, and Triangle companies and organizations. HPM typically grants PhD students full financial support (including stipend, tuition, and health insurance) for at least the first two years of study through department research and teaching assistantships. Additional sources of support include federal traineeships, and Graduate School awards. Financial support from the Department is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress and sufficient funds.
How are students funded after their first 2 years?
Most students work with faculty on externally-funded research projects for experience and financial support. Our students also have been extremely successful in winning dissertation funding from the federal government and UNC research centers.
Is there support for students' dissertations?
Most students work with faculty on externally-funded research projects for experience and financial support. Our students have also been extremely successful in competing for dissertation funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and for pre-doctoral dissertation awards from a number of sources, including:
The Graduate School has a number of opportunities, including dissertation completion awards.
What other funding sources are available?
All students should contact the University's Office of Scholarships and Student Aid for additional information about financial aid. Many students, within specific residency and citizenship restrictions, may qualify for student loans. When no other support (e.g., departmental assistantships) is available, they may also qualify for small grants. Detailed information about application procedures and qualifications are available on the Student Aid website.
How should I register for courses?
Incoming first-year students will automatically be registered for required HPM courses for their first semester. However, they should register for electives on line through the MyUNC Portal (see the Registration Guide for instructions). Students should discuss their choice of electives and prerequisites with their advisors before registering. After their first semester, students are expected to register themselves for their courses.
Can I take courses at Duke University and North Carolina State University?
Yes. PhD students may enroll in courses at Duke University or North Carolina State University without incurring extra tuition. In practice, while students take courses at Duke, they rarely do so at North Carolina State. To facilitate taking courses at Duke, the Robertson Scholars Program provides express free bus service between the UNC and Duke campuses during the fall and spring semesters. The express bus has allowed students, researchers, faculty and staff to take advantage of the resources at both universities.
I am an economics or financial management minor and notice I need to take ECON 700 before the Fall semester begins. How do I register for that?
ECON 700 is a required course for students who minor in either economics or financial management. However, it begins in early August. HPM Registrars will automatically register first-year students for this course. Second-year students who wish to take this course must register for it themselves via the MyUNC Portal (see the Registration Guide for instructions).
HPAA 994 is the course that designates supervised dissertation research. PhD students who have completed their comprehensive examinations should enroll for 3 credit hours in HPM 994. Enrolling in 3 hours of HPM 994 meets the criterion for consideration as a full-time student. Students should remain continuously enrolled in HPM 994 until they complete their PhD; credit received in HPM 994 does not count towards the 41 required for graduation. PhD students should register for their advisor's section of HPM 994.
What are prerequisite courses for?
The Department's three prerequisite courses are HPM 470 -- Statistical Methods for Health Policy and Management; HPM 564 -- Health Care in the United States: Adminstrative and Policy Issues; and EPID 600 -- Principles of Epidemiology. Although these courses (or their equivalents) are often taken by students prior to admission, students can take them during the first two years (i.e., prior to taking their comprehensive examinations.) Equivalence should be determined by the PhD Program Director, in consultation with the student's advisor and the faculty member teaching the course. Please note: credit hours in the prerequisite courses will not count towards the required 41 hours.
Does being on Sakai for a course mean that I am registered for that course?
No. Generally, only registered students will be on Sakai. However, to receive credit, you must register for courses using normal procedures.
Don't see an answer to your question here? Contact:
Lynnette Jones, Registrar
Jackie Siler, Assistant Registrar
Content for this page provided by the Department of Health Policy and Management. Please contact the webmaster with any questions or comments.
|Last updated October 17, 2013|