Doctorate in Public Health at Fulda University of Applied Sciences

The Public Health Doctoral Centre at Fulda University of Applied Sciences has been awarding the doctorate in Public Health (Dr. P.H.) since 2017. With the granting of the independent right to award a doctorate to a university of applied sciences, the state of Hesse has recognised Fulda University of Applied Sciences' special research strength in public health. A Doctorate in Public Health can be obtained at five universities in Germany (Bielefeld, Berlin, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Hannover) and now in Fulda. Internationally, a Doctorate in Public Health has a high reputation; for example, it is awarded at the School of Public Health at Berkeley University of California, at the School of Public Health at Harvard University and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) at the University of London.

Which topics should a doctorate in public health cover?

Public health is closely interrelated with the social, political and economic development of societies. The goal of public health is to maintain the health of the population and of particularly vulnerable population groups. This requires access to care that is needs-based, non-discriminatory and affordable. Public Health Nutrition, as a special field of public health, also focuses on population-related preventive and health-promoting approaches to solving nutrition-related problems.

Doctoral projects in Public Health at Fulda University of Applied Sciences must have a relevant connection to one of the topics:

  • Prevalence and spatial as well as social distribution of diseases in the population (socially determined inequality of health opportunities including nutritional poverty)

  • Investigation of factors influencing health and disease, in particular social and environmental factors, and the possibilities of influencing these factors through decisions in all policy areas (health in all policies)

  • Systematic planning, implementation and evaluation of political and lifestyle-related interventions to promote the health-related quality of life of the population

  • Need for preventive, curative, rehabilitative, nursing, obstetric and palliative care in the population

  • Effectiveness and the cost-benefit ratio of measures in health promotion and disease prevention as well as health care and nursing care measured by patient-relevant outcomes

  • Design, management and financing of health care systems that ensure a high quality of care

  • Non-discriminatory and affordable access to health care services in line with needs and preferences

  • Adequate participation of the population in the design of the health care system and in health-related decisions in all policy fields

  • Education and training of health professions, their cooperation structures and the interfaces in health-related care

  • Development of evidence-based and decision-relevant expertise as a basis for health-related intervention.


Which Master's degrees entitle students to be accepted as doctoral candidates in public health?

A doctorate in Public Health can be awarded to anyone who…

…has a Master's degree relevant to the subject (in the sense of health sciences) after a course of study with a total of 300 ECTS credit points and an overall result with at least the grade 2.0 or an ECTS rank of grade B;


…can present a degree from a German higher education institution which is deemed to be equivalent according to the regulations of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany and which is relevant to the subject,


…presents a degree from a study programme abroad comparable to the qualification according to first point above, which also entitles the holder to a doctorate in the country of the university degree and is classified as equivalent.

If the doctoral committee of the Public Health Doctoral Centre classifies an alternative equivalent degree or a foreign degree as not sufficiently equivalent, it may individually impose conditions for acceptance as a doctoral candidate (e.g. additional performance records).

Further important information can be found in the Public Health Doctoral Regulations (see Quicklinks). The head of the Public Health PhD Centre, Prof. Dr. Daphne Hahn, can advise you on this requirement. daphne.hahn(at)

What are the first steps for pursuing a doctorate in public health?

We advise you to first contact a research-oriented professor at the Public Health PhD Centre via e-mail, as only these professors are authorised to provide initial supervision for a Public Health PhD project. Please prepare a project description (maximum two pages) for this initial contact.

Professors with a strong research background at the Public Health Doctoral Centre at Fulda University of Applied Sciences who are eligible for supervision in Public Health are:

Prof. Dr. habil. Marc Birringer for Applied Biochemistry for Nutrition and the Environment
Prof. Dr. Helma Bleses for Nursing Sciences and Clinical Nursing
Prof. Dr. Kevin Dadaczynski for Health Communication and Patient Information
Prof. Dr. Claudia Eberle for Medicine with a focus on Internal Medicine and General Medicine
Prof. Dr. Adelheid Susanne Esslinger for Health Care Management
Prof. Dr. Stefan Greß for Health Services Research and Health Economics
Prof. Dr. Henny Annette Grewe for Medical Principles of Care
Prof. Dr. Daphne Hahn for Health Sciences and Empirical Social Research
Prof. Dr. habil. Christoph Klotter for Health Psychology - Nutritional Psychology - Psychotherapy
Prof. Dr. Simone Kreher for Sociology of Health
Prof. Dr. habil. Anja Kroke for Prevention Strategies in Nutrition, Nutritional Epidemiology
Prof. Dr. Susanne Kümpers for Qualitative Health Research - Social Inequality and Public Health Strategies
Prof. Dr. Jana Rückert-John for Sociology of Eating
Prof. Dr. habil. Thilo Schlott for Human Biology and Statistics
Prof. Dr. habil. Silke Trumpa for Health Didactics

In consultation with one of the above-mentioned professors, you will prepare a detailed exposé for the doctoral project. In the exposé, the proposed topic is explained in more detail in at least 15 to 25 pages of continuous text. This should contain the following content in particular: State of research, research objectives, contribution of the work in public health, classification in the current state of knowledge (degree of innovation), description of the methodological approach and selection of the intended methods as well as an outline of the expected results.

When the exposé is final, please submit it (in writing and via e-mail) together with the supervision agreement (see quicklinks), which is considered a written commitment by the supervisors, and the application for acceptance as a doctoral candidate (see quicklinks) bundled in one *pdf to the Head of the Public Health PhD Centre, Prof. Dr. Daphne Hahn Please note the deadlines for submitting the application for acceptance.

The prerequisite for acceptance as a doctoral candidate in the Public Health Doctoral Centre is the approval of the doctoral committee for the exposé of the planned doctoral project.

More Questions?

If you have any formal questions about the process of a doctorate in Public Health, please contact the Doctoral Coordination Office Department Fulda Transfer at Fulda University of Applied Sciences.
Your contact is Dr. Sebastian Mehl sebastian.mehl(at) +49 661 9640-1910.

If you have any questions about Public Health, please send an e-mail (to make an appointment) to the head of the Public Health PhD Centre.
Your contact is Prof. Dr. Daphne Hahn daphne.hahn(at)