Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
University of Pittsburgh    
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Apr 20, 2024
2021-2022 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, PhD

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Program prepares students to conduct research in the social and behavioral sciences areas of public health in a variety of settings as well as teach in academic settings. The PhD curriculum is formed by a social-ecological perspective regarding the determinants of health and opportunities for intervention. Within this overarching framework, the curriculum also emphasizes theory-driven research, addressing health issues across the developmental life span of populations, examining variation across socio-demographic categories such as gender, age, and sociocultural status as it affects health and health disparities. The curriculum addresses the following areas: individual behavior, population health, research design and methods, statistical analysis; behavioral interventions; and the integration of public health research and practice.

The minimum credit requirement for the PhD program is 72 credits of completed course work and independent research. Twenty-four credits may be awarded for a previously earned master’s degree. Twelve (transfer or advance standing) credits may be allowed for graduate work taken after earning the master’s degree. All students must complete a common core of courses in the following categories:

  1. Theories of behavior and community (6 credits)
  2. Research design and methods (11 credits)
  3. Elective theory and methods (3 credits)
  4. Statistical analysis (12 credits)
  5. Interventions (6 credits)
  6. Integration of public health research and practice (3-8 credits)
  7. Milestones (0-4 credits)

PhD students will typically earn 3 credits preparing for their comprehensive exam and a minimum of 1 dissertation credit must be earned.  All PhD students must be enrolled as a full-time student at least 1 semester during their program. Registration for FTDR (i.e. Full-time Dissertation Research) after completion of 48 credits of coursework will fulfill this requirement.  The program is designed to be completed in 2 years full-time coursework in addition to 2 years for completion of dissertation research.

BCHS PhD Requirements

Integration of Public Health Research and Practice (3-8 credits)


Additional Requirements

Both DrPH and PhD students take a preliminary (qualifying) examination at the end of the first year of full-time course work and a comprehensive examination when the student has completed all of the required course work. Following successful completion of the dissertation overview, the student is admitted into candidacy and begins dissertation study under the direction of a dissertation committee. The dissertation and oral defense of the dissertation must be completed within five years of the comprehensive examination. See General Requirements for Doctoral Degrees for further information.

Return to Academic Programs Return to: Academic Programs

Catalog Navigation