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University of Pittsburgh    
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog 
  Jun 22, 2024
2023-2024 Graduate & Professional Studies Catalog

Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, PhD

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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. In recognition of graduate study beyond the master’s degree successfully completed elsewhere, 12 additional credits may be accepted at the time of admission to meet the minimum credit requirement. 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 (9 credits)
  5. Interventions (6 credits)
  6. Integration of public health research and practice (6-8 credits)
  7. Milestones (2-4 credits)
  8. Electives (1-6 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 72 credits will fulfill this requirement.  The program is designed to be completed in four years.

BCHS PhD Requirements


1-6 Credits

As recommended by academic advisor.

Total Credits: 72

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