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Health Behavior Health Promotion PhD Program

Offered On Campus in Tucson

The PhD in Health Behavior Health Promotion (HBHP) is offered by the Department of Health Promotion Sciences. The doctoral degree program in Health Behavior Health Promotion will have an emphasis on the biological, behavioral, and socio-cultural determinants of health and health behavior, as well as the interventions and policies aimed at improving community and population health.  The doctoral program offers a diverse and challenging curriculum addressing health behavior health promotion theory, knowledge and skills for working on health issues within the diverse communities of the Southwestern United States.

Outstanding course performance and strong evidence for research interest and aptitude in health behavior health promotion is required for all admitted students.  A bachelor's degree is required for entry into the PhD program.  However, applicants without a prior related master’s degree will complete a Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in route to their PhD in Health Behavior Health Promotion. The MSPH develops the student's ability to think critically, develop and execute research, while also providing depth in health behavior health promotion, epidemiology and biostatistics, essential skills of a future PhD student and health promotion health behavior scholar.

The MSPH is not a stand-alone degree; students interested in graduate studies in HBHP, who are uncertain of a research career focus, are encouraged to discuss applying for the Master of Public Health (MPH) with department faculty and MEZCOPH’s Office of Student Affairs. The MPH with a concentration in HBHP affords sound preparation for the PhD program while foremost being designed as a functional terminal degree for immediate workforce entry.

The doctoral program requires approximately four to five years for completion. The first two years of this time are usually devoted to coursework, the comprehensive doctoral examinations, and development of doctoral research.
The program is research oriented and centers on a major research project.

For Students Entering with a Master’s Degree:
The PhD curriculum will require a minimum of 63 credit hours (units).   Of this, 18 units are required from major courses; 3 units are required on US minority/health disparities; 3 units on health promotion research content electives;  12 units of other electives; 9 units (minimum) for the minor; and 18 units for the dissertation.   A maximum of 30 units from a prior degree may be applied towards an admitted student, pending review by the student’s advisory committee. The 63 unit curriculum is detailed below:

Curriculum 

Required Major Courses (18 units)

*Note: BIOS 576A or other introductory graduate statistics course is a prerequisite for BIOS 576B.  Another graduate statistics course beyond an introductory graduate statistics course and with a minimum coverage of multiple linear/GLM or logistic regression may be considered with approval of the student's Faculty Advisor and the Program Director.

Required US Minority/Health Disparities Course (minimum 3 units)

Required Health Promotion Emphasis Electives (minimum 3 units)***

**if not already used to fulfill the prior described requirements

***Another health promotion related graduate course may be substituted with approval of the student's Faculty Advisor

 §  Permanent courses addressing this content as assessed by the Program Director are acceptable substitutions.

Other Electives (minimum 12 units; approved by faculty advisor)

These electives may include independent studies with a research focus, public health graduate courses, or other graduate theory, content or methodology-related courses at the University, relevant to the doctoral area of study).

Minor (minimum 9 units)

Each PhD student must complete a minimum of 9 credit hours of course work in a minor area. The minor area of study specifies the number of required minor units.  This should consist of a coherent set of courses in an area (or in related areas) of health behavior health promotion, in consultation with the PhD students faculty advisor and/or Graduate Committee Chair. These courses may be from more than one program.

Dissertation - HPS 920 (minimum 18 units)

Total Minimum Credit Requirements:  63 units


Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) / PhD in Health Behavior Health Promotion

For students entering without a master’s degree:   The PhD curriculum will require a minimum of 72 credit hours (units), with 40 units required toward completing the Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH)/ PhD. The MSPH component requires 25 required major course credits;  3 units are required on US minority/health disparities; 6 units of other electives; and 6 units of thesis. Additional required units post completion of the MSPH include 5 additional major units; 9 units (minimum) for the minor, and 18 units for the dissertation. A maximum of 8 units from prior graduate coursework (6 units from a prior awarded degree) may be considered (pending review) to be applied towards the MSPH component.

Curriculum

Required Major Courses (25 units)

Required US Minority/Health Disparities Course (minimum 3 units)

Other Electives (minimum 6 units; approved by faculty advisor)

Required Master’s Thesis - HPS 910 (minimum 6 units)

Additional core requirements for the PhD post completion of the MSPH (32 units)

Required Courses (5 units)

** if not already used to fulfill the prior described requirements

§  Permanent courses addressing this content as assessed by the Program Director are acceptable substitutions.

Approved Minor (minimum 9 units)

Each PhD student must complete a minimum of 9 credit hours of course work in a minor area. The minor area of study specifies the number of required minor units. This should consist of a coherent set of courses in an area (or in related areas) of health behavior health promotion, in consultation with the student’s faculty advisor and/or Graduate Committee Chair. These courses may be from more than one program.

Dissertation  - HPS 920 (minimum 18 units)

MSPH/PhD in Health Behavior Health Promotion - Total Minimum Credit Requirements: 72 units


PhD Minor in Health Behavior Health Promotion (minimum 12 units):

The PhD minor in Health Behavior Health Promotion (HBHP) is designed for individuals from other University of Arizona doctoral degree programs who wish to obtain graduate training in Health Behavior Health Promotion and is administered by the Department of Health Promotion Sciences in the Zuckerman College of Public Health.  A total of 12 course units are required, as well as successful completion of written and oral questions during the PhD Comprehensive exam reflective to the home departments processes, and successful defense of the dissertation.  Consult the UA schedule of classes for further details and specific course requirements.

 

Application Deadlines

Fall Application Deadlines

Priority:  December 1
Secondary:  March 1

Students who apply by the priority deadline will be given the highest priority for admissions and consideration for scholarships and assistantships.

Admissions Criteria

Admissions Criteria

  • Bachelor's degree required for MSPH/PhD applicants
  • Master's degree in the area of health behavior health promotion or similar field required for PhD applicants
  • GPA of 3.2 or higher (3.6 is considered competitive)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • Statement of purpose and objectives
  • Research Statement
  • Writing Sample
  • Official GRE scores
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants
  • Relevant work/volunteer experience strengthens all applications
  • Detailed admissions criteria

How to Apply

Apply online through SOPHAS, the centralized application service for all of the accredited schools and programs of public health.

View more details on the steps to our application process.

Additional Information

Admissions Events > Join us for an upcoming admissions event.

Meet Our Students > Get to know our students.

International Students > Find admissions information specific to international students.

Milestones

Typical time to completion: 3-5 years (2-3 years for coursework, 1-2 years for dissertation work) for full-time students. 5-8 years for part-time students.

Average time to completion: 2.75

Program Steps to Completion (Full-time student timeline):

  • Attend mandatory new student orientation
  • Students are expected to serve as a Teaching Assistant at least once during their time in the program
  • First year is devoted to course work
  • Work with Faculty Advisor to develop a tentative Plan of Study
  • Each Spring, complete an Annual Progress Report with Faculty Advisor
  • Second year is devoted to course work and forming Comprehensive Exam Committee
  • Formalize Plan of Study by end of second year
  • Second/third year formalize Committee Chair and Comprehensive Exam Committee
  • Develop a Dissertation Research Proposal and gain Committee approval
  • If necessary, begin process for human subjects approval for dissertation
  • Complete written Comprehensive Exam (literature review)
  • Complete a draft of a Dissertation Research Proposal
  • Defend proposal at Oral Comprehensive Exam
  • Form and formalize Dissertation Committee
  • Third/fourth year, research, develop and write dissertation
  • Fourth/fifth year, successfully defend dissertation and finalize revisions

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