Overview

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 campus and the other period housed at the Nimai Valley Center.

Applicant Brochure (2022–2023)

If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

Registration for the next cohort starting in January 2025 will open in August 2024!

Program Curriculum and Requirements

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.

First Year (first and second semester)

The first year will involve coursework in the following six core courses:

  • Global Health I and II
  • Data Sciences (including Research Methodologies) I and II
  • Health Economics and Policy I and II

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.

Second Year (third and fourth semester)

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.

Third Year through finishing the PhD program (fifth semester and beyond)

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.

  • Field Work: Students are required to undertake field visits at OHT’s Nimai Valley Center. They may conduct quantitative or qualitative data collection corresponding to their research interests.
  • Dissertation Defense: The student will prepare their thesis in consultation with their team of supervisors and present/defend to their DAC. They will be required to write three research papers, which will form their dissertation, and publish in peer-reviewed journals to graduate.

 

FIND OUT MORE

  1. Is there a fee to apply for this program?

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

  1. What is the application deadline?

The application deadline is typically in May-June with the semester starting in late July or early August. Intake for this program is yearly.

  1. Am I eligible to apply for this program?

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:

  • ME/MTech/MPharm/MBA/MPhil/MSc/BE/BPharm or an equivalent degree: minimum of 60 percent aggregate
  • MA: minimum of 55 percent aggregate
  • MBBS/BDS/BVSc/MD/MDS/MVSc/BAMS/BHMS/BUMS/allied: minimum of 55 percent aggregate.

 

  1. My previous degree is from outside of India. What documents will I need to submit for registration if I am accepted?

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.

  1. Does the application process include an interview?

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.

  1. What is the expected time within which I can expect to receive a decision on my application?

You can expect to receive a decision on your application within six to eight weeks of the close of the application window.

  1. What is the expected length of the program?

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.

  1. Is this an on-campus full-time program or a hybrid program?

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.

  1. Is it possible to change your supervisor after being assigned one at the time of offer of acceptance?

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.

  1. What are the locations of the BITS Pilani campuses that offer courses applicable to this program?

You can find the addresses for each campus below:

BITS Pilani, Hyderabad Campus

Jawaharnagar, Shamirpet Mandal
Medchal-Malkajgiri District
Hyderabad 500078
Telangana

Google Maps

BITS Pilani, Goa Campus

NH 17B, Bypass, Road
Zuarinagar, Sancoale
Goa 403726

Google Maps

BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus

Vidya Vihar
Pilani
Rajasthan 333031

Google Maps

  1. What is the fee structure for this program?

The following are the details of the fees in INR payable by all students admitted to the PhD Program in the academic year 2022-2023 at BITS- Pilani.

The fee structure for the academic year 2025-2026 will be updated in due course.

Fees                                     (Figures in INR)PhD Program at Pilani CampusPhD Program at Goa CampusPhD Program at Hyderabad Campus
Full Time Full TimeFull Time
Admission Fees*10,000/-10,000/-10,000/-
Semester/Term Fees
First Semester24,500/-24,500/-24,500/-
Second Semester24,500/-24,500/-24,500/-
Summer term8,570/-8,570/-8,570/-
Students’ Aid Fund*225/-225/-225/-
Hostel fees
 First Semester18,800/-25,250/-25,250/-
Second Semester18,800/-25,250/-25,250/-
Summer term9,400/-12,625/-12,625/-
Ph.D. thesis examination fees#15,000/-15,000/-15,000/-
Mess & Electricity Advance
 First Semester10,000/-10,000/-10,000/-
Second Semester10,000/-10,000/-10,000/-
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 2023-24Rs 157,795/-Rs 173,920/-Rs 173,920/-

 

* Payable at the time of admission; # Payable at the time of thesis submission

 

Financial Assistance:

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.

  1. What are the potential sources of financial assistance given to PhD students?

All successfully admitted students will have financial support through one of the following sources:

  • Self-funded fellowships such as UGC/CSIR NET JRF, DBT JRF/SRF, ICMR JRF/SRF, DST Inspire
  • A BITS Pilani Fellowship, which will include working as a teaching assistant (TA). The stipend/scholarship is in lieu of the TA duties.

 

  1. What is the expected stipend?

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.

  1. If I have a self-funded fellowship such as JRF/SRF, will I still be expected to have teaching duties on the BITS campus?

Yes, you will still be required to carry out teaching assistant (TA) duties every semester you are enrolled in the program.

  1. As part of being a teaching assistant (TA), how many hours of classes am I expected to assist in a week?

On an average, approximately 8 hours a week.

  1. Does OHT provide research assistantships (RA) to complement the stipend?

Yes, OHT provides research opportunities to PhD students to earn additional income on top of their stipend.

  1. Does BITS or OHT provide on-campus accommodation?

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.

  1. Can PhD students live off-campus and attend classes?

Yes, PhD students can live off-campus and commute with their own vehicles or any other available public modes of transportation.

  1. Is there any accommodation for TAs assisting classes remotely?

There usually is no provision for such requests. However, temporary accommodations can be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Are there any qualifier exams to confirm one’s candidature as a PhD student? Are multiple attempts of the exam allowed?

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.

 

 

 

 

How to Apply

Eligible students may apply for the PhD program in Data Sciences for Global Health, from August 2023 – January 2025. Online application forms will be available from December 2023 to August 2024. The number of students admitted will vary based on the availability of positions in the department, funding, and the merit of applicants.

APPLY NOW

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:

  • ME / MTech / MPharm / MBA / MPhil: minimum of 60% aggregate
  • MSc / BE / BPharm or an equivalent degree: minimum of 60% aggregate
  • MA: minimum of 55% aggregate
  • MBBS / BDS / BVSc / MD / MDS / MVSc / BAMS / BHMS / BUMS / allied

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].