Temple University

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Social and Behavioral Sciences (PhD)

The PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences is designed to develop leading public health scientists and academics. Students are trained to develop and implement social and behavioral science theory, research methods and evidence-based content expertise. The program focuses on public health problems associated with both the general population and vulnerable populations such as children, those with chronic physical and mental illness, and individuals living in poverty.

To learn more about the PhD in Social and Behavioral Sciences, visit temple.edu.

Admissions Information

To apply for this doctoral degree, you must have a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline. Most applicants also have a master’s degree in public health (MPH). For applicants who do not have an MPH, prerequisite course requirements include completion of graduate courses covering theories of 

  • health behaviors, 
  • biostatistics,
  • epidemiology, 
  • environmental health and health policy, and 
  • political and economic aspects of health. 

These theories are also the five core courses of the MPH curriculum.

Applicants without an MPH degree can consult with the Admissions Office to determine if their previous courses meet the prerequisites.

Required Application Components

The admissions committee takes a holistic view of all applicants to the program. An important consideration is the match in interests between a candidate and a Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences faculty member available to mentor a new student. We recommend that students contact the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences to discuss their areas of interest and opportunities for mentored research before applying to the program.

Application requirements include:

  1. Applications: Students must apply through the SOPHAS Centralized Application Service. The documents listed below will all be submitted through SOPHAS.
  2. Official transcripts: Submit transcripts from all the undergraduate and graduate institutions you’ve attended. Please mail all of your official transcripts to:
    • SOPHAS Transcript Processing Center
    • PO Box 9111
    • Watertown, MA 02471
  3. Recommendations: Three letters of recommendation from evaluators, preferably university of college faculty who can give insight into your academic abilities and speak to your capacity for doctoral-level research and study.
  4. Goals statement: In no more than 750 words, you should cover the following:
    • State your interest in this particular program in Social and Behavioral Health Sciences
    • Articulate your academic and research interests and achievements
    • Detail how your interests in social and behavioral health relate to your career goals and the work of faculty members associated with the PhD program. Emphasize linkages between your research interests and the emphases of the program and faculty wherever you can. See descriptions of faculty research interests.
  5. Writing sample: The writing sample should be no more than 10 pages unless it is a published work. The department prefers scholarly articles, technical reports or academic professional papers.
  6. GRE score: Your score should be at the 50th percentile or higher. Most admitted students have GRE scores much higher than the 50th percentile. Official scores should be sent directly to SOPHAS using code 0151.
  7. Current résumé or CV should be submitted.

Additional Requirements for International Students

  • TOEFL: For applicants whose native language is not English, the TOEFL is required with a minimum score of 79 on the iBT. These scores should be sent officially to SOPHAS using the SOPHAS-specific TOEFL code of: 5688.
  • A WES Evaluation (www.wes.org) is required for applicants who completed their degree outside of the United States. This can be requested and submitted through SOPHAS.

Application Deadlines

Fall Admission: Jan. 5