Graduates of the Doctor of Philosophy program in community and behavioral health will be able to:

  • demonstrate extensive knowledge of and contribute to social and behavioral science theories related to public health;
  • identify knowledge gaps, synthesize relevant information, and formulate focused research questions to address these gaps;
  • critically evaluate social and behavioral science research design, methodology, and analysis related to public health;
  • contribute to public health knowledge by designing and implementing research that incorporates knowledge of pertinent cultural, social, behavioral, and biological factors using quantitative and qualitative methods;
  • demonstrate professional skills that include scientific writing, oral communication, grant writing, interdisciplinary collaboration, teaching, and service;
  • communicate research findings effectively to various audiences such as researchers, policy makers, and community; and
  • demonstrate extensive knowledge in designing and implementing community-based interventions and research.

The Ph.D. program in community and behavioral health requires at least 75 s.h. of graduate credit, including approved credit earned from a master's degree.

Students must successfully complete a qualifying exam, a comprehensive exam, and a dissertation. The research topic must be approved by a student's dissertation committee.

During the first semester, students work with their academic advisor to develop a plan of study that satisfies their interests and professional goals as well as the program's requirements. Students are required to attend departmental seminars and to complete all courses required for the degree.

College of Public Health Core

Students must complete the following (12 s.h.).

CBH:4105Introduction to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention3
CBH:7100Community and Behavioral Health Doctoral Seminar1
BIOS:4120Introduction to Biostatistics3
CPH:6100Essentials of Public Health2
EPID:4400Epidemiology I: Principles3

Behavioral and Social Sciences Core

Students must complete the following (21 s.h.).

CBH:5220Health Behavior and Health Education3
CBH:5235Community-Based Participatory Research3
CBH:5420Communicating with the Community3
CBH:6205Designing and Implementing Interventions3
CBH:6210Health Communication3
CBH:6220Health Communication Campaigns3
CBH:6230Health Equity, Disparities, and Social Justice3

Research Methods Core

Students must complete 15 s.h. from the following.

CBH:5305Evaluation: Approaches and Applications3
CBH:5310Qualitative Research for Public Health3
CBH:6115Ethnographic Field Methods3
CBH:6335Research Methods in Community and Behavioral Health3
BIOS:5120Regression Modeling and ANOVA in the Health Sciences3
BIOS:6110Applied Categorical Data Analysis3
PSQF:6249Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Models3
PSQF:6252Introduction to Multivariate Statistical Methods3
SOC:5160Research Design and Methods3
SOC:6170Introduction to Sociological Data Analysis3
SOC:6180Linear Models in Sociological Research3
SOC:7170Advanced Statistical Modeling of Data3
SOC:7180Structural Equation Modeling3

Content Area Electives

Students must complete 15 s.h. of elective course work in consultation with their advisor. The following is a list of suggested course work; however, other courses may be approved with consent of the advisor. 

CBH:4140Feminist Activism and Global Health3
CBH:5230Public Health Issues in Overweight Management3
CBH:5435Substance Abuse Prevention and Early Intervention3
CBH:5440Prevention and Early Intervention of Mental Health Disorders3
CBH:6405Global Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health3
CBH:6410Special Topicsarr.
CBH:6415Independent Study in Community and Behavioral Healtharr.
EPLS:6209Survey Research and Design3
EPLS:6370Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis3
GEOG:4150Health and Environment: GIS Applications3
HMP:5005Introduction to Healthcare Organization and Policy3
HMP:7940Primary Data and Mixed Methods3
HMP:7950Design Issues in Health Service Research3
HMP:7960Analytic Issues in Health Services Research I3
HMP:7965Analytic Issues in Health Services Research II3
PSY:6560Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination3


Students must complete 12 s.h. in the following.

CBH:7505CBH Thesis/Dissertation12

Ph.D. applicants must apply through the Schools of Public Health Application Service (SOPHAS). Applications must include academic transcripts, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test scores, three letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and a writing sample. For detailed application information, visit How to Apply to Community and Behavioral Health on the Department of Community and Behavioral Health website.

The community and behavioral health admission committee considers several factors when evaluating applications for admission, including scores on the GRE, grade-point averages, letters of recommendation, intent and motivation for graduate study, and research interests. Students with deficiencies in one area may be admitted if all other components of their application are very strong.

Applicants must have a graduate g.p.a. of at least 3.40 and have earned a graduate degree from an accredited college or university in a related public health, social science, or clinical health field. Applicants who do not hold a graduate degree should apply to a master's program prior to application for the Ph.D. program. Preference is given to applicants with Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test verbal scores of at least 154, quantitative scores of at least 150, and analytical writing scores of at least 4.0 (GRE scores must be less than five years old). Ph.D. program applicants also must submit their master's thesis, or if no thesis is available, a sample of their scholarly writing.

Applicants whose first language is not English and who do not hold a baccalaureate or more advanced degree from an accredited institution in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada (excluding French Quebec), English-speaking Africa, Australia, or New Zealand must score at least 100 (internet-based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who score 81-99 (internet-based) are required to take English fluency courses if they are admitted. Applicants who score below 81 are not considered for admission.

Applicants must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate College; see the Manual of Rules and Regulations of the Graduate College.

Students begin the program in the fall. The application deadline is January 15.

Several forms of financial support are available, including scholarships and awards, student loans, and graduate assistantships.

Graduate assistantships provide a stipend and entitle students to the resident rate of tuition and reduced health insurance costs. Research assistantships are competitive and are awarded according to department need and student merit.

Scholarships and fellowships are available through federal agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, and from private foundations.

The program prepares individuals for academic, research, and policy-making work in the social and behavioral health sciences. This academic specialty offers many career opportunities in academic and research institutions.