PhD Doctoral Milestones

The doctoral milestones are integral components of the PhD programs, and are required for successful completion of the degree. The milestones encompass areas related to a student's development of research, teaching, and professional skills. After completion of the curriculum and doctoral milestones, a COPH PhD graduate should be able to:

Scientific Knowledge and Theory

  • Critically evaluate and use scientific theories and frameworks relevant to public health.
  • Synthesize knowledge from a broad range of disciplines in public health.


  • Critically analyze research literature.
  • Develop testable hypotheses for independent research.
  • Design and carry out original research that contributes to the knowledge base in public health.
  • Demonstrate mastery of methods of data collection and analysis.
  • Apply a set of ethical standards in the conduct and dissemination of research.
  • Work as an effective research team member.
  • Prepare scholarly publications and deliver oral presentations.
  • Be cognizant of appropriate funding sources for research.
  • Develop grant writing skills.


  • Demonstrate ability to teach a university level course using current pedagogical techniques.
  • Demonstrate communication skills that facilitate learning by others in formal and informal settings.

 Development of Research Skills

Peer-Review Publications

Any publications (peer-reviewed manuscripts, white papers, technical reports, policy briefs, etc.)

Other Publications

Publications related to doctoral training or work with faculty mentor

Critical Review Experience

IRB/IACUC Submission reviews (as appropriate); Journal manuscript reviews with faculty

Conference Abstracts and Presentations

Submission of conference abstracts. Presentations: USF Health Research Day; FPHA or other regional conferences; National professional conferences (APHA, etc.), Other professional conferences – discipline specific

Grant Preparation and Award

  • Grant preparation experience (i.e. participation with faculty member on their grant submission; NIH R-series, HRSA, etc.)
  • Grant preparation for student funding (i.e. K- or F-award series, internal awards, dissertation funding awards, etc.)
  • Successful completion of small internal student research award
 Development of Teaching Skills

Graduate Teaching Assistants (TAs) at USF are hired by individual departments/schools and fulfill a variety of instructional roles, which include serving as an instructor of record, grader, and/or teaching assistant.

Teaching Assistant (TA)

  • TA Training: A one-day introduction to graduate student teaching at USF. This training is required of all TAs at USF-Tampa (Academic Affairs and USF Health)
  • Preparing for College Teaching (PCT) Course: An optional ten-week program that provides TAs with an experience that helps them prepare to become college instructors or professors.

Instructor of Record (IOR)

Additional teaching resources can be found on the Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE) website.

 Development of Professional Skills


Internal USF training sessions; External (national/state) training sessions; Webinars

Professional Products

Refined CV; Teaching Statement; Research Statement; Cover Letter; Job Talk

Participation in Professional Service

  • Participate in conference abstract and/or manuscript reviews
  • Serve on department/college committee
  • Participate or contribute to a community coalition/organization
  • Mentorship of students