The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Social and Behavioral Health Sciences program provides a critical and theoretical basis for advanced research in the field. Students are integrated into the professional public health community through departmental conferences, colloquia, and other activities. While the primary emphasis is to prepare future faculty members for successful academic careers, many alumni are employed in government, industry, and consulting.
Supported by a faculty world-renowned for their public health research, the PhD program provides training and experiences that support interdisciplinary learning, promote critical and theory-based, problem-solving skills to address public health problems, and fosters the development of public health professional values and ethics. Students will learn to develop and evaluate social and behavioral public health programs, as well as apply social and behavioral science theories and methods to mitigating pressing public health problems. The program emphasizes understanding the needs of -- and effective methods of intervening with -- vulnerable and unique populations, particularly members of racial and ethnic minority groups, children, and the elderly. Many faculty members have active research programs that involve health education, particularly in community, hospital/clinic, and school settings, which provide opportunities for doctoral students to develop their research. View Curriculum.
All students in the program will complete common core course requirements, which include foundational courses in methods, epidemiology, biostatistics, history of public health, bioethics, and theory of health behavior. Students also will take specialized courses in their chosen concentration and engage in research and scholarly productivity with faculty members. Opportunities abound for students to work closely with faculty mentors on a wide-range of public health research and evaluation projects, including sponsored research projects in health promotion, disease prevention, and epidemiology.
In addition to in-depth, didactic training in public health concepts and methods, the Ph.D. program aims to foster the development of a public health professional identity and values in its trainees. Professional development exercises will be infused in didactic courses and available in other program-sponsored activities (e.g., journal clubs, conference attendance, departmental colloquia and brownbag presentations, professional development workshops).
Doctoral trainees also will be encouraged to take advantage of professional development opportunities offered in various public health centers and laboratories, the College, and University, including special workshops and seminars on teaching (through the Teaching and Learning Center), grant writing workshops, and methods seminars. Finally, students will learn by working closely with faculty on research and writing papers for publications.