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Ph.D Programme 




Pakistan’s health indicators and its national as well as international commitments to achieve various goals and targets has not been very promising, over the decades.  Though the Government expenditure on health part of the total government expenditure has been very low, but there has been a growing attention to the field of public health and realization of the necessity to produce and involve public health professionals since 90’s. Thus over the last two decades the public health has grown as a preferred choice of career in Pakistan; they are contributing mainly in improving the health services delivery in both government and non-government (for and not-for-profit) sectors. However there is a need to have public health professionals who can generate evidences in improving health systems, act as advocates and champions for addressing the 21st century challenges confronting Pakistan and the leaders in producing critical mass of expertise for further training, managing health services systems and producing state-of-art research.

Currently, there are number of institutions offering various certificate courses as well as Masers degree in Public Health and related disciplines. However, there is hardly any established program for offering doctoral studies in public health in Pakistan. Nonetheless, there is a strong perceived demand from the public health graduates and professionals within the country for such a program, mainly because of the escalating cost of higher studies abroad. Health Services Academy (HSA) has been one of the eminent and leading institutions in the country providing quality education in public health under the auspices of Federal Government of Pakistan, Pakistan Medical & Dental Council and the Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. Its standards of education and student led research have been recognized nationally as well as internationally. HSA has strong public health faculty in a variety of Departments and entities that can support the launching of a doctoral program in public health.

The doctoral level of training imparted in public health will develop a critical mass of experts who will be able to address the current as well as future health-related challenges by conducting quality research, strengthening the health systems, bringing policy level changes and taking leadership roles for furthering public health training in the country and the region.

Program Goal & Objectives

The main goal of this PhD program is to develop superior level of skilled human resource demonstrating an excellence in research, service and academic leadership for improving the health systems in Pakistan

The objectives of the PhD in Public health program will be to

  • develop experts with research and analytical skills for application public health approaches in the country and region;
  • produce quality and credible evidence in public health research;
  • Strengthen leadership for academic, research and service sectors of public health;
  • Contribute towards developing critical mass of public health professionals to take up decision making positions in government and non government sectors to improve the health system of the country

The Program Structure

  • The PhD program require a full time course work of at least two semesters spread over 18 credit hours over one year followed by a research work leading to submission and defense of thesis and if successful, the award of PhD degree.
  • Courses (mandatory and electives) will be based on advanced levels in the selected topic/s and will provide an in-depth student-faculty interaction.
  • Learning resources will include libraries (HSA, HECetc), computer lab, and learning resource centers of QAU. Furthermore, field based work or placements could be based on pilot studies to be conducted during the first two years of program to ultimately develop a formal thesis protocol/synopsis.
  • The research work and award of degree will be supervised by a Principal Thesis Supervisor (must have demonstrated research capability through publications, especially being principal author of at least five research papers published in peer reviewed journals) and Co-Supervisors from related areas of expertise. Upon admission to program a Supervisor will be assigned to the enrolled student who will help the student to select the course curriculum and committee members during the year one of admission. The HSA-PhD Steering Committee will oversee the proper implementation of the program and monitor the progress in postgraduate courses, the research project and preparation of thesis.

Admission to MPhil/PhD


  • MPhil/MS in any Public health discipline from a PMDC/HEC recognized university.
  • College or a university teacher or staff of a research organization holding MA/MSc in relevant subjects of Public Health, with proven research ability demonstrated (preferably at least 2 peer reviewed research publications in HEC recognized/Medline Indexed journals) may also be considered for admission to PhD


Admission criteria and procedures

  • Selection will be based on Qualification/academic record, Entry test, and Interviews. The assigned weightings would be: Test 30%; Interviews 40%; and previous academic record 30%.
  • PhD Selection Committee at HSA after recommending will send the final list to QAU for final approval of admissions to PhD.

Program execution- credits, duration*

  • Program will be conducted as per HEC/QAU rules & regulations.
  • For PhD, at least 18 credit hours of full-time course work followed by a comprehensive examination and open defense of PhD dissertation would be essential for the award of Degree.
  • Supervisor selection criteria will be as per HEC/QAU rules & regulations.

*Higher Education Commission Minimum Criteria for MPhil/PhD


PhD level courses

Core courses

  • Advanced Health Systems Research (4 credits)
  • Public Health Ethics (3 credits)
  • Public Health Leadership and Systems Thinking (3 credits)

Elective Courses

  • Performance and Quality Management in Hospitals (3 credits)
  • Health Sector reforms (4 credits)
  • Applied Econometrics (3 credits)
  • Comparative Health Systems and Policy Analysis (2 credits)
  • Strategic planning in health sector of developing countries (4 credits)
  • Applications in Monitoring & Evaluation (3 credits)
  • Applied Nutrition in Public Health (2 credits)
  • Advanced Epidemiology (4 credits)
  • International Health (4 credits)

Transfer of credits will be permissible from reputable national/international universities at the discretion of PhD committee of HSA, in the light of existing HEC/QAU rules and regulations.


Assessment & Promotion

  • A continuous assessment will be conducted during the course work by the level of participation in various discussion forums, seminar presentations, and submission of assignments and on performance in the end of the course of assessment.
  • The promotion to 2nd and subsequent years will be based on comprehensive exam at end of 2 semesters (after one year) andon continuous assessment during the research process till finalization of the PhD thesis for final defense; these are as per QAU rules and regulations.


Degree assessment and evaluation

  • The PhD degree will be awarded by Quaid-e-Azam University fulfilling the following criteria:
  • Completion and successful performance in the full-time course work including both core courses (10 credit hours) and elective courses (8credit hours);
  • Evaluation the doctoral thesis by 3 eminent foreign examiners from scientifically advanced countries, approved by QAU and HEC.
  • Viva voce examination by 2 national experts, approved by QAU and HEC.
  • One research paper accepted/published in HEC recognized/Medline Indexed journal.


Degree recognition

PhD Public Health  programme is recognized by the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council.


Fee Structure

Will be updated soon.



Applications should be sent to HSA on the prescribed application forms downloadable from the website www.hsa.edu.pk or obtained from the Registrar’s office at HSA, ChakShahzad campus, Islamabad.