The PhD program in Data Sciences for Global Health, jointly offered by BITS Pilani and the One Health Trust (OHT), offers training in global health issues and cutting-edge research methodology with rigorous fieldwork and data analysis. This program provides full-time, advanced education in global health plus expertise in qualitative and statistical/quantitative skills leading to an interdisciplinary degree. The BITS Pilani and OHT faculty have vast research experience in infectious disease dynamics, antimicrobial resistance, vaccines and immunization, environmental health, gender equity and livelihoods, health and development, health systems, and economics.
Students will spend part of their tenure in the program at the BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus and the other period housed at the Nimai Valley Center.
If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].
The students must complete six core courses covering three main subjects (24 credits) during the first year. Before the end of their second year, students will defend their thesis proposal and research plan. From their third year onwards, PhD candidates will present their work at seminars, conduct fieldwork, and communicate their research outcomes through research papers that will together form a PhD dissertation. Students must maintain a minimum grade of D and CGPA of 5.50 in all semesters. Each academic year will have two semesters.
The first year will involve course work in the following six core courses:
The coursework will help students build a strong theoretical foundation in global health and equip them with data skills. The first-year activities will take place on the BITS Pilani campus. A qualifying exam will be held at the end of the first year. Students will be promoted to the second year only if they pass at least two of their main subjects. The exam will include a written test and viva on the courses taught. BITS and OHT will jointly conduct the written exam and viva.
In the second year, students will draft a detailed research proposal to undertake thesis work and submit to their advisory committee for review. The students should take independent study/classes from faculty members from BITS-Pilani or OHT, in their research areas of interest (directed individual study), as they work on their research proposal and papers. A rotation method can be used to learn from various faculty members. Students are also encouraged to learn grant writing from their notional supervisor(s) and apply for research grants. At the end of each semester, students are expected to submit term papers, based on their research.
Students are strongly encouraged to find a potential advisor(s) during their second year. The main advisor will be from BITS Pilani and their co-advisor can be from OHT. Students will also choose a doctoral advisory committee (DAC) consisting of two members, from among the faculty members of BITS Pilani and OHT.
A candidacy/oral exam will be held at the end of the fourth semester. The exam will include an oral presentation on the research proposal developed in the second year. The proposal will be defended in the presence of a peer group and faculty of the concerned departments. Following the approval of the research proposal, students can then register for thesis units (maximum of 10 units per semester). A minimum of 40 thesis units should be completed to submit the thesis for examination.
After advancing to Ph.D. candidacy, students are expected to present their progress at least twice each semester to their supervisors and DAC. Additionally, they are expected to submit progress reports to their respective DAC members at least once per semester. Students are also encouraged to present their research in seminars or conferences organized by BITS, OHT, and elsewhere.
The application fee is around INR 2,600. This is subject to revisions, and you can verify fees at https://www.bitsadmission.com/phdmain.aspx
The application deadline is typically in May-June with the semester starting in late July or early August. Intake for this program is yearly.
We welcome applications from all professional, geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, with no age restriction. Meeting the minimum eligibility criteria does not guarantee admission into the program. For more information, please refer to the BITS PhD admissions prospectus.
Minimum eligibility criteria:
International students will be required to provide an appropriate grade conversion to the Indian grading system, which has to meet the eligibility listed above. This will be in addition to the document checklist for the application package detailed in the BITS PhD admissions prospectus.
Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed about their knowledge of global health, data sciences, and research interests. OHT will participate in the interviewing panel. Given the diverse backgrounds of applicants, applicants are expected to be proficient in their previous degree(s) and have an aptitude for the other domains in the program. No written exam will be offered, but grades from previous degrees (transcripts), statements of purpose (SOPs), and letters of recommendation (LORs) will be considered.
You can expect to receive a decision on your application within six to eight weeks of the close of the application window.
All admitted candidates will be required to do the standard coursework in the first two semesters. Students must complete six core courses covering three main subjects (24 credits) during the first year. Before the end of their second year, students will defend their thesis proposal and research plan. From their third year on, PhD candidates will present their work at seminars, conduct fieldwork, and communicate their research outcomes through research papers that will write a PhD dissertation. PhD candidates must submit a thesis within five years to successfully complete the degree. For more information, please refer to the BITS PhD admissions prospectus. Students may take a maximum of seven years to finish their PhD due to unforeseen circumstances, with appropriate approvals from their dissertation committee.
This PhD is offered only as an on-campus full-time program. Students may be able to take courses online, which are offered at the other BITS campuses, as part of their degree requirements.
You will need to file a formal request for a change of supervisor and pending approval from an internal committee at BITS, you can change your assigned supervisor.
You can find the addresses for each campus below:
BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus
Jawaharnagar, Shamirpet Mandal
BITS Pilani, Goa Campus
NH 17B, Bypass, Road
BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus
The following are the details of the fees in INR payable by all students admitted to the PhD Program in the academic year 2023-2024 at BITS- Pilani, Pilani Campus/ Goa Campus/ Hyderabad Campus.
|Fees (Figures in INR)||PhD Program at Pilani Campus||PhD Program at Goa Campus||PhD Program at Hyderabad Campus|
|Full Time||Full Time||Full Time|
|Students’ Aid Fund*||225/-||225/-||225/-|
|Ph.D. thesis examination fees#||15,000/-||15,000/-||15,000/-|
|Mess & Electricity Advance|
|Summer term (Payable at the beginning of each semester/term and adjustable at the end of the same)||5,000/-||5,000/-||5,000/-|
|Institute Caution Deposit*||3,000/-||3,000/-||3,000/-|
|Total Payable for Academic Year 2023-24||Rs 157,795/-||Rs 173,920/-||Rs 173,920/-|
* Payable at the time of admission; # Payable at the time of thesis submission
Full-time PhD students admitted into the PhD program are eligible to be considered for a fellowship of INR 34,000/- or INR 37,000/- per month as per intake qualifications. Consideration for a fellowship will be as per institute norms, details of which are available in the PhD brochure on the admission website. It will be obligatory on the part of every admitted full-time student to undertake eight hours (per week) of work as assigned to her/him by the institute.
All successfully admitted students will have financial support through one of the following sources:
All admitted students who do not have self-funded fellowships will receive a BITS Pilani Fellowship of INR 34,000/month during the first year, provided for up to five years from the date of admission. It can be enhanced to INR 37,000 per month from the second year on and to INR 40,000/42,000 per month in the third year, based on the student’s performance and output. The fellowship amount is usually aligned with the norms of the Government of India.
Yes, you will still be required to carry out teaching assistant (TA) duties every semester you are enrolled in the program.
On an average, approximately 8 hours a week.
Yes, OHT provides research opportunities to PhD students to earn additional income on top of their stipend.
Students will be expected to be at one of the BITS campuses in their first year. From the second year onwards, students are encouraged to spend time on one of the BITS campuses or OHT India campus, depending on their research area of interest. OHT will be able to provide housing on campus (expected completion: 2024/2025). Students are expected to cover their cost of stay/living at both institutions.
Yes, PhD students can live off-campus and commute with their own vehicles or any other available public modes of transportation.
There usually is no provision for such requests. However, temporary accommodations can be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
Yes, apart from the semester exams for the courses a candidate is taking, candidates are expected to pass two qualifier exams to maintain their candidacy as a PhD student. Students are expected to choose a primary and a secondary research area for their thesis and to write qualifier exams in these areas. The areas can be from two different departments. The candidate should consult the DRC (Departmental Research Committee) to know about the areas offered and the exam modalities. Every student has until the end of the second year to appear for and clear their qualifier exams. A maximum of two attempts are allowed to clear qualifier exams and both the areas must be cleared together.
Eligible students may apply for the PhD program in Data Sciences for Global Health, commencing in July 2023. Online application forms will be available at from December 2022 through an extended deadline of April 30, 2023. The number of students admitted will vary based on the availability of positions in the department, funding, and the merit of applicants.
Applications to the PhD program are invited from candidates with a master’s degree in any basic science or liberal arts discipline. We also accept applications from candidates with a bachelor’s degree in medical, dental, veterinary, pharmaceutical, or alternative health sciences and engineering. Applicants from other fields are also encouraged to apply.
The minimum eligibility requirements for admission are as follows:
Applicants should submit the following:
Statement of research purpose (maximum two pages), indicating the candidate’s academic background, broad research interests, career goals, and how a PhD in Data Sciences for Global Health from BITS Pilani–OHT will advance their career goals.
Two letters of recommendation
The shortlisted applicants will be interviewed about their knowledge of global health, data sciences, and research interests. OHT will participate in the interviewing panel. There will be no written exam, but grades from previous written exams will be considered.
If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].