School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Professional Doctorate

UNSW Future Health Leaders Program

Meet our future health leaders inspiring the next generation!

Hear the candidates discuss why they joined the program, about their studies, and the value of the program to their professional development and careers.


Applications for 2016 will open on 1 February 2016 and close on 31 March 2016.  Please refer to the How to Apply section below for further information.

Program Information for Future Health Leaders  - Read more about the program
FAQs for Employers
FAQs for Candidates



The UNSW Future Health Leaders Program is a work-place based 3-year professional doctorate for candidates identified by the workplace as future leaders. The focus of training will be: Health Management, Public Health, Health Leadership. The training is provided while candidates work full-time in their workplace, with a week of intensive workshops in August on campus each semester.


The SPHCM offers a unique Professional Doctorate in Applied Public Health (DrPH) which is designed to be delivered in partnership with a suitable health workplace. The DrPH as a qualification is aimed at strengthening practitioner based knowledge and practice with graduates able to generate and use evidence within the context of real-world challenges and priorities.

As a qualification it is in line with international trends demonstrating the advantages of a professional doctorate for practitioners and leaders in public health and health management as an alternative to a PhD. Graduates of the professional doctorate are recognised as advanced health professionals and practitioner researchers who can take on senior and leadership roles within public health and health service settings.

The program provides an advanced degree through intensive theoretical training workshops and workplace based projects involving support from UNSW academic and workplace supervisors. Candidates fulfil the requirements for the DrPH while working, through workplace experience, formal education seminars and workshops, and a thesis which reflects original research undertaken through professional practice. Candidates are supervised by SPHCM academic supervisors and workplace supervisors for the duration of their candidature.

The model offered at UNSW is an elite program with limited placements and requires partnership with a health workplace. The candidate must be nominated by the partnering workplace and must have a Masters in Public Health or equivalent qualification to be eligible. Candidates can be nominated by their health workplace as individuals or cohorts.

The DrPH is a work-based program, and our objective is to partner with health workplaces to produce highly competent multidisciplinary professionals in public health and health management for health workplaces in Australia and overseas (such as ministries of health, government and non-government health organisations and hospitals). If you are interested in a tailored program for your future health leaders to be trained while they work for you, UNSW can provide this for individuals or cohorts.

How to Apply

All candidates are required to submit the DrPH Application Form with their supporting documentation.

Please note: All applicants, whether domestic or international, who do not have an assessable qualification undertaken and assessed in English, must provide evidence that their English language ability meets the minimum requirements for admission. Please refer to the UNSW English Language Requirements website for further information.

The application form and supporting documentation must be emailed in one PDF file to by 5.00pm, 31 March 2016. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application Process Timeline (approximate dates only)     

1 February Applications Open
31 March Applications Close
Early April Shortlisting of Candidates
Mid to Late April Interviews of Candidates
Early May Candidates advised of outcome & how to apply to Graduate Research School
Mid-June Offer letters are sent to the DrPH students
Mid-July Enrolment finalised
25 July Start of Semester 2 2016
1-5 August Compulsory week of Workshops held for DrPH students in Sydney, UNSW

Please note this application process for the DrPH is only part of the application process. Once candidates are approved by the selection committee they will be given instructions on how to apply formally through Graduate Research School (GRS) at UNSW Australia.

Further information

The UNSW Future Health Leaders Program is advertised annually between February and March, for commencement in July (Semester 2) each year. Individuals who apply should discuss the program with their employer. Employers and candidates interested in the future health leaders program in public health or health management, please contact the Head of School or the Student Services Manager for further information. We are able to tailor our program to meet specific workplace needs.

To read about the 2015 workshop of Future Health Leaders, see the August issue of the Globe Newsletter.

Image - Wang, Jacobs, MacIntyre, Travaglia, Torvaldsen

Photo from L to R: Dr Michael Wang, UNSW President & Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Jacobs, Professor Raina MacIntyre, A/Professor Joanne Travaglia, Dr Siranda Torvaldsen