Doctor of Philosophy in Social and Behavioral Sciences (Ph.D.)

Doctor of Philosophy in Social and Behavioral Sciences (Ph.D.)


icon for program descriptionProgram Description

The Social and Behavioral Sciences doctoral program is based on the principle that health and health behaviors are influenced by multiple psychological, behavioral, social and cultural factors. This program is designed for master's prepared students who seek advanced training in social and behavioral science theories and methods. Due to the complex challenges of population health and healthcare delivery, the need for public health scholars with expertise in social and behavioral sciences continues to grow in academia, research, and practice. This CEPH-accredited interdisciplinary doctoral program is intended to be completed in three to four years. Students work closely with faculty mentors in research areas such as smoking, substance abuse, nutrition, physical activity, obesity, cancer, HIV/AIDS, STDs, and neighborhood environment. As a metropolitan research university, we are especially committed to health equity and social justice issues in urban communities. There are several competitive assistantships available with full tuition waiver and a $18,000 annual stipend.

icon for admission requirementsAdmission Requirements

  • A Master’s degree is required for admission with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose (750-1000 words)
  • CV/Resume
  • International students:
  • GRE recommended but not required

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February 1

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Click for Curriculum in PDF Format

Social and Behavioral Sciences Core

  • PUBH 8130 Social Determinants of Health
  • PUBH 8132 Health Program Evaluation
  • PUBH 8340 Behavioral Intervention Development
  • PUBH 8161 Health Behavioral Theories

Research Methods Core

Quantitative Methods Course – Select one

  • PUBH 8604 Research Methods in Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • PSYC 8301 Research and Design Methods

Quantitative Elective Courses – Select two

  • PUBH 8141 Epidemiologic Survey Methods
  • PUBH 8172 Epidemiology in Public Health II
  • PUBH 8174 Epidemiology in Public Health III
  • PUBH 8450 Randomized Clinical Trials

Qualitative Courses – Select one

  • PUBH 8347 Qualitative Methods in Health Research
  • PUBH 8334 Community Based Participatory Research Methods

Biostatistics Core

  • PUBH 8152 Biostatistical Methods II
  • Additional Biostatics Courses – Select one
    • PUBH 8104 Large Data Sets in Public Health Research
    • PSYC 8302 Advanced Statistics in Psychology
    • PSYC 8304 Measurement Theory and Psychometrics
    • PSYC 8305 Quantitative Methods of Review in Research
    • PUBH 8306 Linear Structural Modeling
    • PUBH 8308 Applied Multivariate Statistics
    • PUBH 8310 Mixed Model Regression Analysis
    • PUBH 8311 Applied Categorical Data Analysis

Doctoral Seminar Core

  • PUBH 8901 Prof Development for PUBH Doctoral Students

Other Requirements

  • 12 hours of electives
  • PUBH 9000 Dissertation (9 credits)

icon for competenciesCompetencies

  • Review, synthesize, and evaluate Identify individual, organizational, community, and societal influences on health, health behaviors, disease, illness, injury and disability.
  • Utilize social and behavioral science theories to advance public health research and application
  • Conduct and disseminate rigorous and innovative social and behavioral science research relevant to public health.
  • Develop, implement, and evaluate behavioral and structural interventions to promote health and health equity, prevent disease and injury, alleviate disability, and improve the quality of life.
  • Analyze and critically apply professional and ethical standards of public health.

icon for applicationHow to Apply

Graduate students must maintain a minimum of a 3.0 GPA (“B”). Grades of “D” and “F” will not apply toward any graduate degree, but will be computed in the GPA. No more than 7 hours of “C-,” “C” or “C+” will be applied towards meeting degree requirements.

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For frequently asked questions about the this program, please visit our Doctoral Degrees FAQ.

Shirl Sharpe, MS
Academic Services Coordinator II
(901) 678.1710

Satish Kedia, PhD
SBS PhD Program Coordinator

Briana McNeil 
Coordinator, Recruitment and Admissions 
(901) 678-3740