A Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) has been established to ensure that the Dr.PH-Epidemiology students completes the academic program within the acceptable time frame and with the expected quality of performance. This policy also ensures that the student financial aid requirements set forth by federal regulations have been met.  Student’s academic progress should be evaluated annually at the end of each academic year.


This policy applies to all Dr. PH in Epidemiology students enrolled at Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU).

General Requirements

A. Time Frame for Completion of the Academic Program

A student will be allowed a maximum time frame of three (3) years of enrollment beyond the standard of five (5) years required for the completion of the Program.

The total credits for completion of a degree include those graduate courses accredited on admission to the Program.

Time Frame for Completion of the Academic Program




Doctoral Program in Public Health in Epidemiology

5 years

8 years

Definition of Full Time

Students with an academic load of six credits or more per trimester will be considered a full time doctoral students. Student solely enrolled in the Doctoral Dissertation will also be considered a full-time student.

Definition of Part Time

Students with an academic load of less than six credits per trimester will be considered a part time doctoral student.

B.Completion of the Dr.PH Requirements

1. Course Requirement:

Students must complete all courses within the established time frame. The Program requires a minimum of 61 credits.

2. Performance Requirement:

a. A student must complete each academic year with a minimum grade point average of 3.00. Any student failing to meet 3.00 point GPA standard of performance or failing any course will be placed on probation and referred to the PHSU Student Promotion Committee.

b. A minimum grade of B may be obtained in required and selective courses.

c. A minimum grade of C could be obtained in elective courses.

3. Qualifying Examination Requirement:

A Qualifying Examination (Comprehensive Exams) must be taken upon completion of the second academic year. If the student fails to approve the Qualifying Examination, the student must enroll in independent study courses during the next trimester. Independent courses are offered to give the students the opportunity to achieve the competences in the areas failed in the Qualifying Examination. Independent courses should be approved entirely during the next trimester. A maximum of 6 credits will be allowed to be taken as independent studies. Any student failing to meet this standard performance will be referred to the Student Promotion Committee.

4. Doctoral Dissertation Requirement:

A Doctoral Dissertation according to the established guidelines with a research proposal defense and Oral Dissertation Defense is required to obtain the Degree of Doctor in Public Health with specialty in epidemiology.

Grade Requirement

In order to graduate, the student must complete all requirements and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 GPA in scale of 4.00 point. Satisfactory Academic Progress is required for financial aid eligibility and will be reviewed on a yearly basis, at the end of each academic year.

  1. One “F” or one “NP” in any of the courses, or a cumulative GPA less than 3.00 in the academic year is not allowed. A grade of “F” in any course will be referred to the Student Promotion Committee, to be considered for dismissal from the academic program.
  2. The student may have a maximum of two elective courses with C in record.
  3. A student repeating a course or with a GPA less than 3.00 will be considered in academic probation.
  4. If the student fails to obtain a grade of B or more in a repeated course, he/she will be referred to the Students Promotion Committee for a consideration of dismissal from the academic program.
  5. Courses with “F” grade will remain on record after they are successfully repeated, but only the new grade (s) will be used to compute the grade point average.
  6. Grades of “P” (Pass) or “NP” (No Pass) are applicable to the qualifying examination. Grades of “IP” (In Progress), “P” (Pass) or “NP” (No Pass) are applicable to the research proposal defense and dissertation.
  7. When the research/dissertation activity requires more than one trimester for its completion, the student will receive a grade of “In Progress” (IP) for each trimester and until the research/dissertation is completed.
  8. A grade of “I” (Incomplete) will only be allowed under very special circumstances as determined by the faculty member teaching that particular course. The student must remove the “I” (Incomplete) by the end of the following trimester or an administrative “F” will replace it.
  9. Graduate courses not offered at PHSU could be taken at other institution only with permission and approval of the Dr. PH Coordinator, Associate Dean for Public Health and the Dean for Health Sciences.
  10. If the student obtained a reversed dismissal, he/she won’t be in satisfactory academic progress and is considered both on academic and financial aid probation.

Professional Behavior Requirement

The students should conduct themselves in accordance with the norms for professional conduct set forth by the Ponce Health Science University at all times.

Commitment to Public Health Philosophy

It is expected that every student be committed to the betterment of our fellow human beings as exposed by the philosophy that governs the Public Health Profession.

Academic Probation and Financial Aid Eligibility

Any student failing to meet the grade requirement might be place on academic probation for one trimester, but will be eligible for financial aid. Students that fail to comply with grade requirements after the prescribed probation time will be referred to the Student Promotion Committee for dismissal from the program.

Appeal Process for Academic and Financial Aid Probation

Students notified that the Public Health Students Promotion Committee (SPC) decided to dismiss them from the Dr.PH Program, or that he/she must repeat failed courses during the next academic year, will have the right to appeal the decision within seven working days after receiving the notification.

The appeal or due process presented below must be followed.

The student will appeal in writing to the Public Health Students Promotion Committee (SPC). The letter should include all relevant documentation to support the request. The Committee will evaluate the reasons and evidence submitted to determine if they would change their initial decision. The SPC has 48 hours to submit its decision to the Associate Dean for Public Health, who will notify the decision to the student.

If the SPC sustains the adverse decision, the student has the right to appeal to the Dean of Health Sciences. The appeal must be submitted in writing within seven working days after receiving the last notification. The Dean of Health Sciences will evaluate the appeal and the student’s academic record. The Dean can appoint a three-member Ad-Hoc Committee to re-evaluate all evidence. Rejection of the appeal by the Dean is final.

If an Ad-Hoc Committee is appointed, they will notify the student in writing the date and time set to appealing meeting. The Ad-Hoc Committee has forty-eight (48) hours to submit a recommendation to the Dean of Health Sciences. The Dean of Health Sciences will consider the Ad-Hoc Committee recommendation and make the final decision within forty-eight (48) hours.

Any decision will be reported to the student in writing. The decision made by the Dean of Health Sciences is final.

The same process described above will be followed in the case that the adverse decision made by the Committee is for non-academic reasons, such as unacceptable professional behavior. The Associate Dean for Health Sciences or the VP for Student Affairs will refer the case to the SPC. If the recommendation of the SPC is to dismiss the student, the appeal process described above may be activated.

In the event that an adverse decision is made due to non-academic reasons and the Dean of Health Sciences sustains the decision after the appealing process, the student may appeal to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs and then to the President.

Reinstatement of Financial Aid

Financial Aid eligibility is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress. It is the student’s responsibility to request reinstatement of financial aid.


The President, the Dean for Academic Affairs and the Dean for Student Affairs, the Registrar and the Financial Aid Director will receive all pertinent data to ensure proper enforcement of the policies set forth.

Created and Revise by V. Green & M. Roubert August 5, 2016

Start typing and press Enter to search

Report Your Situation​

Let us know how you feel, if you have travel or been exposed with people with symptoms.

    Select Program

    Academic Year #

    Thank you for inquiring into
     Ponce Health Sciences University 
    for your education

    We are working on providing you with an improved and updated application experience. You will soon receive information about the launch of our new application portal for the 2023-24 academic year

    For MD Secondary Application click HERE