Graduate Academic Programs
Doctoral Degree Program (PhD)
Health Behavior Major
The Ph.D. in Health Behavior (ranked #1 in the nation among non-schools of public health and #5 including all schools of public health) prepares graduates to conduct scholarly inquiry in a broad spectrum of areas emphasizing health promotion and prevention of health problems. Research and creative activities include both basic and applied work in program planning and development; evaluation of the program effectiveness; and examination of lifestyle and health behavior in relation to nutrition, exercise, stress, alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse, individual development and family health, communicable disease, human sexuality, and related areas.
Course requirements for this degree are prescribed by an advisory committee for each individual student. Degree requirements include:
- A minimum of 90 credits beyond the bachelor’s degree are required.
- A minimum 3.0 GPA is required for graduation.
- A minimum grade of C is required in each course used to satisfy the requirements of the course prescription.
The following courses or their equivalents must be completed, either as prerequisites, or as required courses by all Ph.D. students in the School of Public Health - Bloomington.
- SPH-E 651 Epidemiology (3 cr.) This course may be counted toward the 90 credits for the degree as a course in the major, minor, or electives, as described below.
- SPH-Q 501 Introduction to Statistics in Public Health (3 cr.) This course or its equivalent may not be counted toward the 90 credits for the degree.
- SPH-X 505 Principles and Foundations of Public Health (3 cr.) This course may be counted toward the 90 credits for the degree as a course in the major, minor, or electives, as described below. Students who have previously completed an MPH degree from an accredited school of public health or accredited public health program are exempt from this requirement. Students who are completing requirements for an MPH degree concurrent with the doctoral degree are also exempt.
- SPH-X 590 Introduction to Research in Health, Kinesiology and Recreation (3 cr.) This course may be counted toward the 90 credits for the degree as a course in the major, minor, or electives, upon approval of the committee.
The 90 required credits are arranged as follows on a Ph.D. student's course prescription:
- Research Skills (9 credits minimum). A minimum of 9 credits of coursework providing required skills to conduct research, such as advanced courses in biostatistics. These credits count toward the 90 credits for the degree. Courses counted in this area required a minimum grade of B.
- Major Area of Study (30 credits minimum). A minimum of 30 credits in the major area of study. These courses must be taken within the School of Public Health. Courses transferred from previous graduate work outside the School of Public Health, if within the major area of study, can be used to fulfill the major areas of study requirement, contingent upon the committee’s approval.
- Minor Area of Study (9 credits minimum). A minimum of 9 credits of coursework in a designated area outside the department in which the major is being pursued.
- Electives (0 to 28 credits). Elective credits may range between 0 and 28. An optional second minor may be included in the elective credit hours.
- Dissertation (20 – 30 credits)
Students have the opportunity to develop skills by participating in research activities independently or in collaboration with faculty members and other graduate students. Through funded associate instructor (AI) appointments, most doctoral students also acquire essential skills and experience in teaching various health topics in different settings. Students are strongly encouraged to publish research results in professional journals and via presentations at national conferences. A limited number of fellowships and scholarships are available to the best qualified students.
Most graduates pursue careers in higher education as professors and researchers while some complete postdoctoral fellowships or pursue research or executive careers in governmental agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and voluntary health agencies.